Ask Dr Jen Armstrong how she met the women of “The Real Housewives of Orange County”, the reality show she’ll be joining this season, and she needs some clarification: personal or professional?
“I have known Braunwyn for quite a long time; our children went to kindergarten together, ”she says of Braunwyn Windham Burke, which left the series ahead of season 16, which airs on Bravo on Wednesday, December 1.
“But I was just in contact with so many women through my practice, cosmetic medicine,” Armstrong says of the medical field also known as cosmetic dermatology. “I make women pretty for a living.
“So I think that’s how it all happened, like I’ve treated a lot of housewives. Many of the cast, current and past, have been my patients. “
Note that before medical privacy advocates came in to strike, Armstrong didn’t give out any names, although she didn’t really need one, given that Returning housewives Emily Simpson and Gina Kirschenheiter show up in his office during the first episode.
Armstrong later clarifies in the appeal that she only takes credit for housewives with good results from cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers.
“I’m going to go back and say I’ve treated a lot of natural and beautiful housewives,” she says. “Not the over-filled Muppet Chat housewives.”
Uh, Muppets cat?
“I just made that up,” says Armstrong. “I had to accurately describe this charge in Orange County. I was like, ‘What are they like?’ They kind of look like a cross between a Cat and a Muppet.
Armstrong, 44, does not hesitate to talk about her motivation to join the series: she likes to be on television and she is comfortable in it.
“I’m not really afraid of being in front of people, so the TV was exciting,” she says. “I’m always in front of a camera for a program or for marketing.
“And I especially liked the fact that this season there was a reboot coming up,” she said, noting that three of the cast from last season had not been invited back and that two longtime members left after the previous season.
“I’m pretty clear about who I am as a person,” says Armstrong. “I’m like, ‘I’m not going to be the person to strip me down on a stripper pole. So if that’s what you want, don’t choose me.
“I think I’m pretty entertaining.”
But even more than the sheer pleasure of joining the first in the “Real Housewives” franchise, Armstrong is clear on his other motive.
“I like the fact that it’s a great platform,” she says. “We can talk about the latest in medicine, we can talk about new treatments, we can help other people.”
And, coincidentally, she has a new treatment that she’s more than happy to talk about, some sort of new magnetic brain treatment that she’s ruled out all other Southern California contenders for, Armstrong says.
“I’m also launching a new area of my practice, ‘Brain, Beauty, Body,’ from top to bottom,” she says, the idea being that ‘you see it in their face’ if a patient has mental difficulties.
“If one of my patients is anxious and can’t sleep through the night, it doesn’t matter how much Botox I put on because of the stress,” says Armstrong.
Armstrong, who grew up in Laguna Beach, has three children – 9-year-old twins and an 8-year-old as well – with husband Ryne.
“As a family, we weighed both sides, the good and the bad,” she said when joining the show. “I thought it boiled down to calculated risk. Basically a bet on yourself, right? So it’s like you’re taking a risk for yourself, and I have nothing in particular to hide.
Meeting the other housewives was easy, she says.
“Remember, I’m with women all day,” says Armstrong. “Women at their best, women at their worst. I am definitely a girl. I really had a great time meeting everyone.
As for the experience as it unfolded over the weeks and months of recording, there were occasional bumps, she admits. Her husband “is a straight man who is not super excited to be on a reality show on Bravo,” she notes. “He’s also an introvert, so that doesn’t help. But he did his best to introduce himself.
The hardest part, Armstrong says, was learning to relax and enjoy your time with the other women and their shadows on the production team.
“Looking back, towards the end of the season, I was obviously a lot more relaxed in front of the camera,” she says. “I wish I was like that all the time.
“But you have to remember that I was the only actor working full time,” says Armstrong. “So my responsibilities to provide for my family have not gone away.
“I think, in retrospect, I probably should have prepared myself better. “