Sutton Stracke knows what the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills viewers think of her.
"Can I be a little snobby? Yes. But is that my whole personality? No," the newest RHOBH star tells ET. "It takes a minute. I think in the very beginning especially, I really did rely on -- I was nervous -- and I relied on a lot of old, debutante skills to kind of get me through. And I think, yeah, I don't like a lot of what I saw of myself [on the show so far], either. But I know who I am and that's not, like, all there is. I think that's just, like, a defense mechanism in a way, maybe."
"I liken myself to, like, a nervous cat at first," she says. "I was just, I was already just ready for something to happen to me and it didn't happen. And then we were fine. And then everything’s great."
Sutton came in hot, offering up her unfiltered opinions of her new friends right out of the gate, critiquing their couture, or rather, lack thereof and their personalities; sometimes, it's behind their backs, in a confessional interview. Other times, it's straight to their faces, like when Sutton told Teddi Mellencamp that her first impression of the accountability coach was that she was boring.
"I didn't know that this was a 'thing' about Teddi," Sutton admits of Teddi being touchy when it comes to being labeled "boring." It’s a term tossed around by some fans of the franchise on social media, which led Teddi to claim in an interview with ET that she believes Sutton researched the RHOBH cast before getting to know them and made assumptions about them all based solely on social media.
"I heard that and, Teddi, I love you, but I have three children," Sutton spouts back, "and I don't have time to do that. And I'm opening a store. No. That is the furthest from the truth. And actually it was rather a little bit offensive to me. I'm just telling you the truth."
"No, I didn't research," she declares. "I am only just now beginning to understand this whole Twitter game. Like, I just don't know. I lived in a bubble for 17 years. Come on!"
That bubble is in Bel Air, the ritzy neighborhood that neighbors the show’s titular city. When Sutton's casting was first announced, fans anticipated she’d be a diamond holder, aka a main cast member; but, when the trailer dropped, she was simply a “friend of,” meaning her home life wouldn’t be shown on TV. That’s reportedly by design of Sutton's ex-husband, who supposedly didn’t sign off on the couple’s minor children appearing on the show.
"Well, look, I got a lot of diamonds," Sutton jokes about not getting to hold one in the show's intro (though she did film her own title cards, which are now on the cutting room floor). "But, you can always get one more. There's never enough diamonds. I think no woman would refuse a diamond."
Sutton is hopeful her first season on the show goes well enough to warrant a diamond spot in season 11, saying it would help to round up her persona on the show. Still, she fully supports the network’s decision to "downgrade" her, in a sense, for the time being.
"I was hoping that I was going to be able to show all the different aspects of my life, because I think when you look at all the girls, they show all of the facets of their lives and there's a big portion of my life that's missing, which is my home life and my family,” she shares. “I think that's when you get to see the softer side of someone."
"I'm not always, like, so militant and mean," she adds. "Well, actually, that's not true. At home, that might be the worst place to see me be militant and mean."
Despite her polarizing presence so far, Sutton says she has no regrets about how she’s coming across on TV, though she does feel bad for making Teddi cry. She's taking each episode as a learning lesson of sorts -- she's even changed her stance on never getting Botox or fillers after seeing herself onscreen! She's also paying attention to how the fans are responding to her; yes, she’s aware of the comparisons to former "friend of" Dana Wilkey (lovingly known by some viewers as "Pam") from season 2.
"Honestly, I did not remember her from the show," Sutton, a casual viewer of RHOBH before joining the cast, admits. "What I heard was that maybe she wasn't super liked. So, I don't know. Maybe that's me now. But I don't give price tags and all that kind of stuff."
Dana became infamous for repeatedly bragging about dropping $25,000 on a single pair of sunglasses; Sutton prefers to not talk about money. Sutton's connection to the group, Lisa Rinna, however, seems to love talking about money. Well, at least Sutton’s money, gushing over how rich Sutton is in almost every episode.
"I don’t have to talk about numbers, because Lisa does," Sutton quips. "Why else am I gonna have Lisa Rinna as a friend?"
"I don't care that she says it, she can say whatever she wants," she adds. "She's Lisa."
Sutton previously told ET she had been approached to join the show years ago, but turned the opportunity down. When it came back around, though, she said yes, heeding Lisa's warning that the show isn’t for everyone. Garcelle Beauvais, another longtime friend of Lisa’s, also joined the lineup for season 10, and in March, Garcelle told ET she found that Lisa operated a little differently with the Housewives than the woman she knows outside the show.
"You know what I think is? I think Lisa's exactly the same, it's just accelerated," Sutton suggests. "She's the same person. We're all the same people. Just probably accelerated. That's all. And I don't know any of these girls, besides Lisa, before doing the show, so I don't know. Maybe Garcelle is way more chill, or she's way more fun. I don't know. I just think we are all, like -- it's just, like, amped up a bit."
As Lisa remarks in the premiere, the cast signs up to show their real lives, and it's not always easy. That statement is pointed at Denise Richards, who stopped filming with the group in December after a series of incidents, all teased in the final few minutes of the season premiere. One headline-making incident -- an alleged affair with ex-Housewife Brandi Glanville, which Denise vehemently denies -- is a much anticipated story point for viewers, but Sutton won’t share how close they might be to seeing it.
"Why are you asking me this? I don't know. I don't even have a diamond? What are you doing?" she says with a chuckle. "The thing about the Denise thing is, there are so many different little earthquakes that are happening, I guess, before the big one and, so, I think it's just… it's always building and there's other conflicts that happen. There's a lot more to this whole season than just, you know, Denise and Brandi."
Sutton says she's actually a big fan of both Denise and Brandi, even though the two appear to be at severe odds now. And as for those "earthquakes" she teased, Sutton promises the whole group is involved in the mysterious, non-Brandi related drama with Denise.
"Look, you put eight women together, eight really kind of narcissistic, strong women together, we're gonna have some things," she says. "That's just, like, the nature of the game. So, the Denise thing, it's one bit of it. There's more."
As for how things shake out with Denise, Sutton says she'll be tuning in like a fan; she says she doesn’t have all the facts when it comes to what went down, and she’s reserving making a final judgment until she does. She was, however, there for the now-iconic “Bravo, Bravo, f**king Bravo” moment, in which Denise attempts to make footage unusable by breaking the fourth wall while in scene.
"I was just confused," Sutton admits. "I'm like, is this, like, a safe word I didn't understand? I didn't get it. … I just kept going, eating my salad."
While filming her first season of reality TV had an admitted learning curve, Sutton says she wouldn't trade it for anything.
"I just came out of the whole experience with new friends," she notes. "When you meet a group of girls, you never know if you're going to connect with all of them, but I really liked all of them and still do, and it's a great group of ladies. And regardless of all of the events, I think we all want each other to succeed in life. I really, truly believe that, and to have a group of women that want you to succeed in what you're doing is, it's a good thing."
Yes, Sutton even has love for Teddi after their tiff.
"It's like a recurring pattern with the girls on the show: we get into little things and then we resolve them," Sutton says. "At the end of the day, we really are all super great girls. We're smart and funny and talented. … [Sometimes] you have to say, 'I'm so sorry I said that. I didn't mean it like that. But I understand why you're upset. Let's move on.' That's real. That's real life."
Looking at the group as a whole, Sutton says she connected most with Kyle Richards and Erika Jayne, but struggled to get close with Dorit Kemsley, which came as quite a surprise to the southern belle with a flair for fashion.
"I thought that was the person that I was gonna have the most in common with, but we just didn't get that bond," she admits. "We didn't have a lot of time, one on one, so that was the challenge, was Dorit."
Sutton hopes viewers stick with her journey and get to know (and maybe even love) her more as the episodes air; just know, she’ll continue to incessantly ask where the place cards are at dinner.
"I'm always looking for a place card," she says. "Where do I f**king sit?"
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.