In her sophomore season of Real Housewives of Potomac, Dr. Wendy Osefo exposed viewers to new facets of her character that were previously overshadowed by a tougher, more buttoned-up, and seemingly protective layer of her persona in the previous season. The evolved Wendy, also known as "Zen Wen" is noticeably more liberated, relatable, vulnerable, and more willing to go against the grain. The season began with the Johns Hopkins University professor unveiling her new breast implants and Brazilian butt lift—gifts that she awarded herself after birthing and breastfeeding three children. The move garnered more criticism and cynicism than praise from the show's resident mean girls, Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon. In addition to speculating that the procedure stemmed from erroneous reports of infidelity surrounding Osefo's marriage, Dixon also made oblique references, implying that her co-star's new body and wardrobe had somehow robbed her of substance.
"It's a level misogyny," Osefo tells EBONY. "I never knew that grown women would care what another woman wears on her body or what she does with her body." From her vantage point, the Nigerian-American reality star says that the actions of Dixon and Bryant play into a larger societal theme of categorizing women in an effort to place them into monolithic boxes. "It was ridiculous and it took women back 100 years," she goes on.
The season wasn't all bad, though. As the relationship between Osefo, Dixon, and Bryant unraveled, a new one was formed with the academic's former antagonist, Karen Huger. At the start of the season, the pair sat down to work through their differences after seemingly falling out over nothing last year. "It's not like we met and said, 'Oh, we're going to be friends.' We met with the intention of putting our issues to the side because we're grown women and we decided to see where our relationship goes. It was very organic. We're on a journey," the political commentator explains. "From that conversation, we really grew. We said, 'Okay, we are going to meet each other where we are and we're going to go from there.'"
Through their friendship, a mentor-mentee relationship was also formed as Osefo ventured into the entrepreneurship arena by way of her newly launched Onyi Home Essentials. While nothing more than a brainchild of Osefo when it was first introduced to viewers, the brand has since witnessed a successful launch, selling out its inventory in under 72 hours.
"As business owners, we all go through that uncertainty phase," the mother of three says of her entrepreneurial journey that played out this season. "It was really a humbling experience to watch it all back and see how much I have grown as an entrepreneur. I came into this open and was willing to learn. If nothing else, that's what I hope that people take away. It's never too early to try something."
This spring, the reality television star will invite RHOP fans to join her on a different journey by way of her memoir, Tears of My Mother: The Legacy of My Nigerian Upbringing. Published by Simon & Schuster and inspired by Osefo's ties to her own mother, the narrative will analyze the parent-child relationships
"I explore the dynamics between children and their parents, particularly between me and my mother. People often see where you are but they don't see where you come from. This book really explores the journey of how Wendy became Wendy," she explains of the text, which is slated for release in May 2022. "But also, the experiences of a first-generation immigrant and how a lot of what we do is driven by our parents' desires for our lives. You come to a point as an adult where you ask yourself, 'When do I stop living for my family and start living for myself?' I'm at that crossroads, especially now that I am a mom of three kids. I ask myself, 'What from my childhood do I want to pass on to my kids and what from my childhood was really toxic and impacted me in a negative way and I don't want to share that with my children?'
To shop Onyi Home Essentials, visit onyihomeessentials.com.