Season 2 of Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard is back; there’s tons of drama to unpack. As one of Bravo’s most successful reality shows in recent years, cast member Shanice Henderson learned fast about quick fame and the ramifications of reality television. But she says it’s all worth it. 

The series follows a group of friends as they vacation in the historical Oak Bluffs area of Martha’s Vineyard, one of the most picturesque destinations in New England. But even yachts and the beach don’t stop tempers from flaring. 

In a recent interview with Blavity’s Shadow and Act Unscripted, Henderson teased some of the drama that will shake up the core friendship group indefinitely and talked about life since her reality television debut. She also spoke about all of the Black Excellence we’re seeing in Martha’s Vineyard for the first time on reality TV.

Congratulations on Season 2 of Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard. The first season received an amazing reception from viewers. What about your first-season experience that made you return?

Shanice Henderson: Just being with my friends. The girls in the group are actually my really, really close friends. So I was like, ‘Why not? Why not do another summer in Martha’s Vineyard?’ And it’s just a lot easier to be around them. And I missed it. I don’t get to see them all the time because I live in Florida, and they live in New York. So it’s just a good time to get together for a couple of weeks.

Did you anticipate the reaction of the rest of the house when it was proposed that Phil may join as a guest of you in Bria?

SH: I was surprised. I was excited because Phil is a great guy. But I had to respect the other housemates on their call.

Do you think the situations between what happened with Mariah and Phil are the same?

SH: Yes, I do. I just feel like Mariah — they both did something in the house, and they got kicked out of the house for a reason. So it’s the same.

Who do you feel you got close to during the season you didn’t expect?

SH: I would say Noelle. Even though I just met her in the house, we connected. I don’t know what it is, but we are actually super close now. We talk almost every day.

What can you tease about the rest of the season, especially when showcasing some of the relationships between you and your housemates? Will that change? Will that stay the same? What can you tell us about some things that may surprise viewers?

SH: There’s a lot more drama. It gets messy, especially with Summer and Jordan. Our friendships are not as strong as what they were when we first started the season. We’re still working on some things right now, but it’s going to get messy, that’s for sure. And then I also have a little argument about Alex, so that will be brought up.

Bravo has been diverse in casting for its reality shows, but this is the first time we see people of color like this exposed hanging out and living on Martha’s Vineyard. What do you have to say about that representation? 

SH: I think it’s a great representation because even before I went to Martha’s Vineyard, I was always told it was the Black Hamptons. So just being a part of that and then showing that on TV, people always hit me up, and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I never knew about Martha’s Vineyard. I want to go like because the show really like focuses on that.’ And I feel like it’s like a good time. I think it’s a great way to just show the diverse side of Martha’s Vineyard. As I said, I had no idea that it was called the Black Hamptons until I just started going not that long ago.

Now, reality TV can be a great platform. How are you looking to use your platform with Martha’s Vineyard? How will you avoid some of the pitfalls we may see from other reality stars?

SH: I did see some of the pitfalls already by losing my job before the season. So that kind of sucks. I’m trying to get into more fitness influencing. I am actually studying now to be a fitness instructor. If we get more seasons and everything, I plan on expanding that and hopefully coming out with an energy drink and just doing something like more fitness-wise. It’s one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to.

How did you react to losing your job? Did you think that it was fair? And what did you take and learn from that in terms of how you show up on television and what you want to do moving forward? 

SH: I lost my job because they thought I was filming at the same time as I was working, which wasn’t true. I was actually in Martha’s Vineyard on the weekends, and then I’d go back and work during the week. So that’s the reason why I got fired, and they just wouldn’t let me explain anything. They didn’t let me talk at all. I probably said one word the whole conversation, and then my manager’s like, ‘You’re fired’ and hung up the phone. 

I have a job now where they work with me. I tell them I’m going to New York to do some filming, and they understand, and I just work from home. But that just taught me to find a job that’s flexible. Hopefully, I can get this influencing thing going, and get a fitness deal out of it, and I can focus on this full-time.  


Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard airs Sundays on Bravo.