Sai De Silva on ‘Real Housewives’ and Her New Podcast

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Allie Provist

Even though she stars on The Real Housewives of New York City, Sai De Silva does not consider herself your traditional housewife: She’s also a content creator and a mother of two who has recently ventured into the world of podcasting. De Silva discusses the ever-evolving dynamics of female friendships on Harder Than We Thought, her podcast co-hosted with her best friend Angela Rogers, which premiered shortly after the new RHONY reboot on Bravo. “I always thought that I would have the same friends forever, but life doesn’t really work like that, and the older you get, it does get hard to allocate time towards everyone,” De Silva says. “Especially when you’re married, and you have kids, all of a sudden, you’re a wife, and now on top of that, I have all of my friends who want to hang out.”

She may be a chronic overpacker (“I pack for my moods … I’m here to serve,” she recently told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live), and she pulled an Irish good-bye after one of her co-stars didn’t have enough food at an event, but the Los Angeles–born and New York–raised content creator aligns herself with everything the latter city represents: grit, style, and a no-bullshit attitude. “When you’re honest, what can people say?” she asks. “Because if you’re lying, and you get caught, then what?”

Your podcast is called Harder Than We Thought. What’s something you’ve done that turned out to be harder than you thought?

Influencing — let’s use it as a verb. I started a blog in 2014. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know that you can make money from it. It literally was just a creative outlet for me and a way for me to share outfits. From there, I learned how to code, and I learned photography. Years later, I turned into a small business, and I have to negotiate my own deals. And, lo and behold, now I have payroll. I used to pay people on Cash App and Venmo and PayPal. But now, you got to pay your taxes. You have to put everybody on payroll, and everyone over 26 wants insurance. There were a lot of things that went into this that I was like, “This is way harder than I thought it was going to be,” but I figured it out.

How do you choose what topics you discuss on your show?

It has to be things that my co-host and I are passionate about, and things that my community wants to listen to. Life in your late 30s and 40s. Interracial dating. What does that look like for you? How do you handle those things? Dating in your 40s. Your friends are married, and they have kids, but you’re kind of stagnant in your personal life. Having a career switch later on in life and what starting all over looks like. In-vitro infertility journeys.

What’s your No. 1 rule for a successful dinner party?

Have drinks. I mean, you got to have drinks. Most people like to drink, and if they don’t like to drink, at least have mocktails. You need to accommodate everyone.

You were a bartender for eight years. What’s your No. 1 rule for crafting the perfect cocktail?

You know what, I was not really into making all the flair drinks. Like, I’m gonna give you a dirty martini or margarita — these are what you’re gonna get. So, just ask everybody what they like to drink.

What’s your go-to drink?

Dirty martini with three olives.

Is there such a thing as too much posting on social media?

I don’t think so. If you’re posting 20 times a day, it gets a little obnoxious, yes. But within reason. If you’re posting four times a day, it’s not that big of a deal. There’s so much content out there. People tend to consume content a little bit differently than in the past.

What are some of your tried-and-true rules for posing in photos?

No hands on the hip with the cheesing. Those are very baby-boomer poses. You know what I have to get out of doing? This is a very millennial thing, it’s a [throws a peace sign and puckers lips] kissy face and a peace sign, and it is a very millennial “Hey, we started the internet, guys, just so you know” kind of pose.

Do you have a fashion rule you never break?

Hmmm … I always break rules. But I don’t mix labels that are loud. I don’t really mix labels if they are logos. If they’re in the tag and no one can see it, it’s perfectly fine. But if you’re wearing F’s all over your body and then a Balenciaga bag, it’s a little fashion faux pas.

On the other side of things, what’s one trend you’ll never subscribe to?

Let’s get rid of the butt-cleavage jeans from the past. I don’t know if you remember Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton doing these butt-cleavage, Frankie B. low-rise jeans. Let’s never bring that back. Plumber’s crack is not cute. We should never, ever have that ever again.

Would you send an Edible Arrangement? 

No.

Why not?

It’s not my thing. I think they’re so passé. [Laughs] I remember getting them years ago, but I tend to always get the ones that are rotten fruit on the inside, and they’ve just kind of turned me off. I’d rather you just give me flowers.

What’s your No. 1 rule for splitting the bill with friends?

Don’t calculate anything. Do not bring out your calculator and calculate what you had on the menu. We’re gonna split it even-steven, or don’t come to dinner. There’s nothing worse to me than someone being like, “No, I had one glass of wine, and I only ordered a side of string beans.” Do not do that. Let’s just split it even.

What if I don’t drink at all and everybody else ordered a bunch of drinks. Does that change anything?

I guess? I guess it does, but … I don’t really care. You’re coming out for the ambience. [Laughs] Pay for the ambience.

What’s your No. 1 rule while walking on the streets in New York City? 

Don’t be on your phone … I’m guilty. [Laughs.]

I know you have a no-shoes policy at home, but I feel like that’s a pretty standard rule. So what’s the most controversial rule you have in your house?

Don’t sit on my bed in your day clothes. I’m not into that at all. Don’t come in my bedroom and sit on my bed in your day clothes. You’ve been on the train, you’ve been in Ubers, it’s really nasty.

What’s your No. 1 rule for raising a child?

Open communication. They’re human beings too. They have opinions. They have feelings. Communicate very openly and calmly.

What’s your best rule for engaging with people at parties?

Sometimes that’s tough. Ask someone else about themselves instead of you only talking about yourself.

Do you have any go-to small talk questions?

“Where are you from?” I can always tell if someone wasn’t raised in New York City. I don’t ask people what they do for a living. I don’t think that’s really my business unless you want to tell me that. For some reason, people love to say, “So, what do you do for a living?” I find it to be so bizarre … What neighborhood do you live in? Are you a Brooklyn person? Are you a city person? And if you don’t live in Brooklyn, have you been to Brooklyn? Small chatty questions like that.

What’s your No. 1 rule for dealing with drama?

I don’t subscribe to it.

Let’s say there’s no way of getting out of it. How do you handle it?

It might lead to me cursing somebody out, so I try my best not to subscribe to it. Because then I end up getting upset about it, and I will go off on someone.

How do you leave parties?
Irish good-bye. I typically — not always — try to say bye to everyone before I leave.

You pulled an Irish good-bye in a recent episode. 
It was a very packed house. I didn’t think that anyone would notice me leaving, so I left.

What would be on your cheese board?

Drunken Goat; love that cheese. It’s delicious. We need walnuts. We need honey. We need some sort of jam. Strawberries, apples, dried apricots. I love dried apricots and cheese and some wine. Always a good vibe. We need some sort of delicious crackers, preferably with a little sea salt on top, so you get a little bit of salty, sweet, all the above. And that’s about it. Maybe some large green pitted olives. Make sure there’s no pits in there. I don’t want anybody to complain about that.

Any other etiquette tips you want to share?

Let’s normalize bringing toilet paper to people’s houses. [Laughs.] If you have a preference, it’s okay. Bring your little plys in your bag, it’s totally fine.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.