- Summer House -This Is Danielle Olivera’s Season (Even If She Doesn’t Think So)
Lindsay Hubbard won’t stop texting Danielle Olivera about her Summer House Season 6 reunion look. “She’s literally blowing me up right this second,” Danielle says. We’re in the middle of discussing the fan criticism that Danielle has faced during her five seasons on the Bravo show, which, coincidentally, has to do with Lindsay. Because on one end of the spectrum, Danielle has been referred to as the best friend everyone wishes they had. The other end is a little less fun. “People think I’m a minion or a pawn… I’m not a minion. I’m just a ride or die,” she says.
Lindsay and Danielle didn’t know each other very well before Danielle joined the show in Season 2. (Danielle came in as Carl Radke’s ex, but now Lindsay is dating Carl, and Danielle and Lindsay are best friends. Got it?) It was Lindsay who made the first move into taking the friendship into real-life, so to speak, by inviting Danielle over to her apartment to watch the new episodes and do what the Summer House cast does best — drink. “We started watching every single episode together,” Danielle says. “It was hard to watch myself on TV for the first time, and she was the person that was there to make it feel normal in the most insane sense.”
After that, they were inseparable. “We truly enjoy hanging out with each other… [Our friendship] doesn’t start and stop over the summer, it’s a year long thing.”
But let’s bring it back to the beginning. Before there was the Season 6 love triangle between Paige DeSorbo, a Pillow King, and an Italian Stallion, there was the Season 2 love triangle made up of Danielle, her ex and co-star Carl, and former co-star Lauren Wirkus. Danielle was, unfortunately, the unwelcome third party in the ongoing rollercoaster fling between the latter two.
“In the beginning of Summer House, I was a very one-sided character. You only saw this triangle that I didn’t know about with Carl and Lauren. And then you see me getting drunk and not giving a shit about who I’m making out with.” It led to a rather awful introduction for both fans and Danielle, who swiftly deleted Twitter after being hit by a negative fan response. (“People now say I’m ‘normal,’ but before I was ‘boring’ … I think some of the most successful people are boring.”)
But there’s been a shift over the last two seasons. Danielle is no longer the girl running to make the LIRR just to get to Southampton Social before the second round of espresso martinis. She’s entered into a new stratosphere of Bravolebrity that includes being made into a meme, starting your own business, and — for the elite — getting an Instagram follow from Rihanna.
“I felt bad, because I wasn’t even following her,” Danielle laughs.
It’s a pretty iconic thing to say for someone who has been regarded as just the “best friend” on Summer House. Sure, Danielle is an intrepidly loyal friend, but just “the best friend,” she is not. This season of the show has allowed Danielle to step into the spotlight and win over fans. But just because the fans (and Rihanna) love you, doesn’t mean you’re going to have a great season.
To the average eye, Danielle is having just that — a great season. She’s got a boyfriend we all love to love (Robert Sieber, a chef who can pull off both long and short hair); she’s quit a job that made her miserable; and she was placed in the first seat next to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. Great, right?
However, “I was scared of this season coming out,” Danielle says. She and Robert, despite what we saw as a loving and supportive couple, were fighting a lot — “It was not cute.” She was in the early stages of building her fashion app (more on that later). And she got into it with “literally everyone in that house.”
“Normally, I’m not at the center of many chaotic moments, but I found myself getting a little bit too involved.” For better or worse, Danielle says some of these moments were cut from the episodes. The reason she got so drunk at the pool party, then passed out in a chair, was because she had spent the morning apologizing to her castmates (something that wasn’t shown) and was ready to blow off some steam. Danielle doesn’t share what those “chaotic moments” left on the cutting room floor were about, but says everything worked itself out.
"And then,” she says, between those not-shown fights and “the Ciara [Miller] stuff … I was just like, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be a terrible season for me, I can tell.’”
But before “The Ciara Stuff” was the “Confronting Amanda Batula About The Kyle Cooke Stuff.”
Danielle says one of the hardest things she’s faced as a friend on the show was, when grabbing a Loverboy from a cooler, Kyle confided in her that he and Amanda had little in common. Fans at home saw a portion of what went down, but Danielle says there was a foundation that gave her actions, which some fans criticized as messy, a little more perspective.
Here’s what happened earlier that day, that we didn’t see: “Kyle, Amanda, and Carl had a Loverboy event, and the rest of us went to brunch,” she recalls.
“At brunch, Ciara and Paige told the rest of us about the drinking contract for their wedding” – Danielle’s talking, of course, about the infamous pre-wedding contract that required Kyle to reimburse Amanda’s parents for wedding costs should he not “control his drinking” — which was news to Danielle.
“I had never heard that before,” she says, “so that, combined with what Kyle was saying [to me] in that moment [by the cooler], it was a perfect storm of information and I was just like, ‘Wait, they’re getting married soon. I need to do something about this.’”
Some fans said that Kyle was just venting to her, and she shouldn’t have told the girls, but, from Danielle’s point of view, the Kyle and Amanda stuff had all come to a head that day, and she felt she had to say something.
In hindsight, she now wonders if she should have talked directly to Amanda, instead of going to Paige and Ciara, admitting “I didn’t know what the right thing to do was, I didn’t have Lindsay there … and I love Carl, but Carl is in business with both of them and has to be Switzerland.”
Then “The Ciara Stuff” happened. For those who haven’t watched the Season 6 trailer 17 times (weird), “The Ciara Stuff” refers to when both Ciara and Danielle throw wine glasses at each other during a particularly intense moment at the dinner table. Danielle was riding for Lindsay, whom she felt was slighted by Ciara. Ciara had called Lindsay a “sucker ass bitch;” Lindsay, for her part, had withheld information about her connection with Austen Kroll, whom Ciara had a fling with during Winter House.
Danielle has since explained that she was trying to come from a good place and was hoping to encourage a productive conversation between Lindsay and Ciara, but instead, Danielle and Ciara ended up getting physical. “At the end of the day, all I care about is how we acted and it was gross,” Danielle says.
“A lot of people really like Ciara, and a lot of people really like me … And I just wish there was a better outcome to it. I don't speak to Ciara, we're not in a good place. That also gives me a lot more anxiety because I've never had a moment like that in the house,” she reflects.
Their fight happened in August of 2021, and here in March, 2022, their issues remain unresolved.
“What's the point of doing the show about friends if you're not going to continue to be friends, right? This is the first time where I don't know where we're going to go from here.”
But Danielle and Lindsay? They’re still going strong. As Danielle told In The Know in February, that sometimes involves telling Lindsay she’s not 100% correct in certain moments.
"Danielle is the type of friend who will tell me when I’m wrong," Lindsay tells The Dipp over email. “I respect the shit out of her when she does this because ultimately we can grow, learn, and be better in life. I have always surrounded myself with strong, motivated, hard-working, fun, interesting, and inspiring females as my core female-friend group — not the 'yes friends.'"
Beyond the fights, blackouts, and late-night Uber rides, there are these “better in life” moments we've seen in recent seasons that go beyond cans of Loverboy and Etsy costume orders made of nightmares.
Earlier this season, Lindsay went to a fertility doctor to learn more about her eggs as she inched closer to her 35th birthday, and she brought Danielle. Lindsay introduced Danielle to the physician as her “support system in life,” and together, the two learned that despite Lindsay turning 35, Lindsay’s eggs were supposedly that of a 28 year old. It resulted in Danielle throwing her arms up in the air, celebrating her friend’s youthful fertility (even though, according to Yale Medicine, the hormone levels Lindsay had tested don’t hold any predictive value for fertility).
“Those are the moments that everyone should be seeing,” Danielle says. “Because as crazy as some things are, there’s an equal amount of really wholesome moments that I wouldn’t take back in a million years … Being able to play that back in the future when we eventually have kids — you can't beat that.”
It’s important to Danielle to ground herself, especially when the cameras aren’t up. When she’s not filming in Sag Harbor with the cast, or decompressing at a waterfront restaurant in Quogue with Lindsay on the Sunday ride back to the city, she spends a portion of her summer in another sharehouse during the week. It is filled with a group of supportive friends — often in the background of all those weekend parties — who want to know what is happening on the show as much as any other fan does. “They’re not jealous, they’re not haters, they’re just like, ‘That’s your thing, but tell us everything.’”
And that’s Danielle, the best friend you want to hang out and gossip with. During our Zoom call, she jokes about Lindsay and Carl being the First Couple of Bravo, wishes Kyle and Amanda well but doesn’t see their business/personal relationship as a goal for herself, and says she found the gaslighting by Summer House’s visiting Bravo men “hard to watch.”
And in case you’re wondering, she’s not always drinking Loverboy (“Mya and I really tear into the tequila”); Lindsay cooks the best “perfectly crispy” bacon; Amanda is the go-to guacamole maker; and Danielle’s hangover cure is “drinking more.” (A “very cold Corona light,” for curious minds.)
Besides a hangover, Summer House has awarded Danielle with a new opportunity. She’s launching an app that when she describes it, sounds like the 2022 version of Cher’s closet program in Clueless. “I think I am good at dressing myself, because I know my own personal style. I know what looks good on me. I know what fits my body,” she says. “I want my app to be able to take all of that and suggest [clothing items] for [users] … Whether it’s something they already own and is already in their closet, or filling in the gaps."
“Her work ethic is admirable, and her focus on being a successful woman in technology has been inspiring to watch first-hand,” Lindsay says. “She has always had to work harder than her colleagues to prove herself in a male-dominated field.”
The Summer House Season 6 reunion is upon us. Lindsay and Danielle will undoubtedly sit side-by-side on a velvet couch somewhere in New York City, defending their actions this past summer, Thelma and Louise style — but with a happier ending. Danielle will inevitably go to bat for Lindsay, something Lindsay acknowledges makes Danielle “the middle man,” but wouldn’t need to happen if her co-stars spoke directly to her, versus going behind her back. ("'Tis life, right?" Lindsay says.)
And at the end of the day, the two will be right back where they started: drinking wine, having fun, and supporting each other. “We have a very mutual friendship,” Lindsay notes. “I just get more heat during the summertime during filming. Ha!”
The only question now from fans and Lindsay herself is, what will they wear? Luckily, there’s an app for that.
Images: Danielle Olivera/Instagram