The last year has been a rollercoaster for The Real Housewives of Potomac OG, Robyn Dixon. After years of being in flux after a divorce and getting re-engaged to Juan Dixon, the longtime couple finally tied the knot in an intimate ceremony.
Clips from the Dixons’ video footage made the season 7 finale. Fan reactions were mixed, but Robyn is happy she did so privately and without guests outside her sons and parents. But her marital bliss would be shortlived when she’d have to explain that Juan had inappropriate interactions with another woman during their engagement.
What exactly happened is blurry. The woman claims she and Juan were in the dating phase, and they spent time together at a hotel after communicating via Instagram DM for months. Juan told Robyn a different story, claiming he paid for the woman’s hotel room out of kindness when she, a Canadian, lost her wallet on her visit to D.C. to meet another athlete. Whatever the truth is, Robyn didn’t feel it was too bad and moved forward with their wedding. And the upcoming eighth season has her co-stars holding her to the fire for not making the scandal part of her storyline last season.
Additionally, her friendship with Candiace Dillard Bassett is seemingly on the rocks. Dillard Bassett felt betrayed by Robyn for not being forthcoming with her marital tea, as rumors about her husband, Chris Bassett, were used as bait. Dillard Bassett believes Robyn hid her truth and focused on her husband to prevent her marital business from being at the forefront. In her chat with Blavity’s Shadow and Act Unscripted, Robyn discussed the Candiace fallout and doubled down on her reasoning for not revealing the Juan drama sooner.
Another central area of contention that has plagued the show the past few seasons is colorism. No RHOP fan will forget the divide the Dillard Bassett and Monique Samuels’ fight caused, with Samuels being iced out immediately. But after Mia Thornton drenched Wendy Osefo last season with a libation, Robyn recorded the aftermath, and fans accused her of taunting Wendy. While Robyn stated at the reunion that there was unseen footage that showcased her telling Wendy not to fight to protect her standing as a professor at Johns Hopkins University, the optics still painted Robyn out in the not the best light.
Robyn admits she doesn’t understand the colorism discourse, despite many viral thinkpieces showcasing how the lighter-skinned Black women on the show are treated publicly and sometimes even within their friendship circle.
Either way, as Robyn revealed in the below interview with us, if there’s one thing fans can count on from her, it’s never to be swayed by public opinion.
Season 8 looks to be a potentially tough one for you. So obviously, season 7 of The Real Housewives of Potomac ended with your long-awaited marriage to Juan. And that was followed by allegations of his inappropriate behavior with other women. Last season also centered on rumors about Candiace’s husband, and many viewers felt as if your observations about Chris came off a little hypocritical once everything was revealed about Juan going into season 8. How are you reacting to that, and how does that affect your relationship with Candace this season?
Robyn Dixon: I never criticized Chris for anything. I don’t really quite know where the hypocrisy would have come in. To this day, I believe that Chris didn’t have any bad intentions with all that occurred. So, I’m not quite sure how anyone could feel that way. I don’t even know how the two correlate. Maybe you can help me with that.
There was a comment you made during the reunion where you said his being in the room with Gizelle could have been perceived as inappropriate. And some viewers felt as if it was hypocritical knowing the situation with Juan that, with the woman, that was inappropriate as well.
RD: I was speaking from a standpoint from anyone, I think. And maybe [there’s a] maturity level [for certain viewers]…where they don’t understand where I can say I don’t think Chris has bad intentions, but I can also say I can see where a woman, a single woman, and a married man being in a hotel room with the door closed can be perceived as problematic.
You’re saying two things can be true at one time.
RD: Exactly. So, yes, I can see where that can be problematic for whoever it is in the position. But I can also say that I don’t think that Chris had bad intentions, and I never changed my point of view on Chris’ intentions. I don’t think he had any bad intentions. But do I think overall, in the grand scheme of things, do I think that someone can feel uncomfortable or people can perceive things to be inappropriate?
And then, with one woman in the hotel [with Juan] and the optics of it, that’s inappropriate; I can say it’s not OK for Juan’s name to be on a woman’s hotel receipt. But I can also say I don’t think Chris had bad intentions. And I can also say I can see where someone might be uncomfortable being in a room with their host in a hotel room with the door closed with a married man like I do. I’ve never judged.
So, as I mentioned, you and Candiace had a really close relationship since she joined the cast in season 3. But it seems like things are a little bit rocky in season 8. What can you tell us about where you guys stand now and how that journey plays out throughout the season that we’ll see?
RD: I don’t really want to give up a whole lot because you have to watch the season, but I can just say a lot of the things that when once the young lady [came forward about Juan], I addressed it. And then Candiace’s response to that on Twitter and in media interviews and on Watch What Happens Live, I mean, she was just going for it. That really changed our relationship, big time. So, I don’t want to really give up too much about how we navigate that during the season; I think everyone should just tune in to watch. But her response and her inserting herself, her calling Andy Cohen and just inserting herself into my business that had nothing to do with her really, really, really, really changed our friendship.
Now, you mentioned in your Watch What Happens Live interview that one of the reasons why you decided to keep what was going on in your relationship with Juan in private is because it wasn’t happening in real-time during filming. Were you afraid that keeping that hidden would have impacted your standing on the show? Was that ever a concern for you?
RD: No. What do you mean?
Once everything came out about what happened with Juan, and once when you revealed it in the off-season, were you afraid that that would impact your standing in season 8, such as being asked back for the show or anything like that? As a reality show, you’re expected to share your lives — good, bad, indifferent, during the season, out of season, etc.
RD: Well, no, because honestly, no one reveals everything that’s going on in their life that’s not relevant at that time. And so, when I’m addressing the woman who was speaking in the present day at that time, I have a podcast where we talk about everything. We talk about hot topics and what’s going on. And so, I’m not going to exclude myself from talking about myself when my business is in the street. So that’s what we do. We talk about what’s going on. I simply was addressing what the woman was saying, but nowhere in my mind, what I think and I don’t know, maybe there was some misunderstanding on the timeline. Nowhere in my mind did I think, ‘Oh, I’m going to be in trouble because I didn’t reveal something that had absolutely nothing to do with the previous season or wasn’t relevant… wasn’t an issue of something we dealt with when we were not filming.’ We resolved it when we were not filming. We filmed four months later. It’s not an issue. And so why would I come to the table four months later and say, ‘Hey, I got to tell you something that went on four months ago about my life?’ That’s not really how reality shows are supposed to work when we’re filming. You’re talking about what’s going on in your life at that time. If I were to say, ‘Oh, well, let me dig up something from four months ago…’ then I’m making up a storyline, then I’m digging for something to make an issue that doesn’t exist.
I was quite taken aback by the response from people saying that I was hiding my lie or lying or not being truthful. There was nothing to hide. There was nothing to not be truthful about. So, I think their issue is the fact that I used my podcast to address it. But as I said, that’s what we do. We talk about current events and what’s going on currently in the pop culture world. And at that time, that young lady was running her mouth. So, no, I never thought that it would have been an issue for anyone.
A lot of people, whenever you think about Robyn, you think about Gizelle. You guys are also synonymous with being on the show from season 1, being coined the Green-Eyed Bandits and being best friends. And you guys have had a really deep loyalty to one another. You make it a point to confront your cast members or discuss issues or questions about their personal lives. Still, you guys have taken your friendship seriously and handled your matters on a more private level. This season, it seems as if that has changed. How did you deal with Gizelle having more of an outspoken or public opinion throughout the season about what was happening with you and Juan?
RD: I understand we’re filming a TV show that whatever is going on in our lives is on the table to discuss. And so whether it’s coming from Gizelle or from Karen, I’m not going to react and say, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re talking about this. I can’t believe you’re saying this. Oh, why would you say this in front of the camera?’ So I’m absolutely OK with that if these were issues that were going on at the time, which they were, for anyone to address it. And so whether it’s my best friend or someone that I’m not quite close with, I’m fine with that.
Last season, a lot was happening outside of things with Chris, Candiace and Juan. There was a discussion and an attempt to dive deeply into how colorism plays a part in different scenarios on the show. Do you grasp your viewers’ observations about how colorism plays a part, or are you impartial?
RD: No, I don’t. I don’t understand. I really don’t know why I’ve been accused of being a colorist or why the show is accused of having colorism. And my castmates on the show even said out of their mouths that no one on the show is colorist. I really don’t know what the argument is or what the issue is. It’s not a comfortable conversation for me, I’ll be honest, because being called a colorist is not comfortable, and it’s not something that I am. And having that pushed on me was not comfortable. But I think when you hear Candiace say, ‘No, no one on this show is a colorist,’ I don’t know why that’s being pushed on us. I really don’t understand the broad issue with this show and colorism. I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, on Twitter, reading whatever deep dives on stuff like that. So I don’t understand. I don’t know. All I know is how we interact with one another. We’re all professionals. We all interact as we would, regardless of anyone’s complexion. And that’s all that I can say from my point of view.
One of the incidents that triggered that colorism conversation was how Wendy was treated after the fight or area of contention was handled versus how Monique and Candace’s fight was handled. And a lot of people felt that because Mia was of a lighter complexion, she was given a pass. Now that some time has passed and you’ve been able to watch the season and hear everything that had to have been said about their situation, do you feel you would have done anything differently in how you responded to the Wendy situation versus the Monique and Candiace situation?
RD: No, and I don’t know what anyone’s complexion has to do with anything. I don’t think someone throwing a drink equates to someone grabbing someone by their hair and punching them multiple times and saying, ‘I’m going to kill her,’ and running around a barn. That doesn’t equate to me. And it’s crazy — I’ve seen it over and over, and you see it over and over again — women arguing and somebody throws a drink on other shows, but it’s not as controversial. So I don’t know why it was so controversial with that show. I just saw it on Love & Marriage: Huntsville. I saw clips and a woman throws a drink. I don’t equate what Monique did to Candiace with Mia throwing a drink at Wendy. And also, there’s stuff I’m not really supposed to say, but we have a lot more context. A lot more things are said. Not just sitting down at their dinner but throughout the whole day. So I’m not going to change and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had done things differently,’ because I don’t believe throwing a drink is that serious. And so, I see that people were emotionally invested in that situation, but I’m not going to say that I would do anything differently because the scenario is the same for me.
Watching your journey on the show has been interesting because when we met you, you were open and honest about your past financial struggles and living very differently from your castmates. It’s nice to see you flourish now with you guys buying your home and starting different businesses. What is the status of your businesses now? I know that you tried a lot on the show in terms of flipping homes. You had your hat line, and there were talks of retailers looking to partner with you at one point. Has there been any movement on that? And what else are you working on business-wise?
RD: Yes, I’m not really involved in real estate investing at this time. However, my hat line, Embellished, is doing well. I do personally need to invest a little bit more energy into it, but it is still running and is still doing well. It kind of runs itself a little bit. I decided not to go the retailer route just because they take so much of your money. And it just for me was a scary process. So I kind of enjoy just running it, doing the e-commerce side, and running it comfortably out of my warehouse. And then I am also now venturing into franchising.
So I will be opening very soon, probably by the springtime, a skincare studio franchise. So I’m always looking for multiple streams of business that will provide longevity. Because we’re on the show, we don’t know how long we’re on the show, and we need to be smart to come up with businesses that don’t depend on the show to promote it. So, for me, that’s why getting into franchising is very important. So that’s that’s where I’m going now. But I still have Embellished. It’s still doing well. I do need to put a little bit more effort into it.
And overall, how would you describe season 8 for you, and what do you hope viewers take from your storyline?
RD: Of course, all the attention was on me going in. And, like I said, I’m not the type to shy from conversations. I’m not going to become a victim and say, ‘We’re not going to talk about this or don’t talk about my husband.’ And so I just look ahead. I address everything head-on. And so, fortunately, that does not get dragged out throughout the season. So, season 8 is interesting.
There are new dynamics within the group. So it’ll be interesting to see how the group moves with one another, and it’ll be interesting just to see we have a new housewife that we, or most of us, enjoy getting to know. So it’ll be interesting. It’ll be a good, exciting season, in my opinion. Not as toxic as our last season, which is a great thing. We don’t always need to be having some crazy divisive incident that has the fans all angry and upset and has the cast divided. It’s a long season, but it’s a blessing. I think the fans will enjoy it.