Nicole Martin Talks The Real Housewives Of Miami, Her Career, And More - Exclusive Interview

"The Real Housewives." Just those three words are indicative of wealth, drama, and high ratings. From Beverly Hills to New York, the Real Housewives have been bringing audiences jaw-dropping entertainment for years and have made stars of the fabulous women shown on screen. Of course, fans were disappointed when "The Real Housewives of Miami" left Bravo in 2013 after three seasons. After all, the goings-on of stars like Lea Black, Adriana de Moura, and Lisa Hochstein were as juicy as those of the stars of other "Real Housewives" series. Luckily, its cancellation didn't last. "The Real Housewives of Miami" is back and available on the NBC streaming platform, Peacock. While there will be some familiar faces, the revived franchise hit will include a number of fresh talent, including newcomer Nicole Martin.

Martin is a force to be reckoned with. An accomplished anesthesiologist, Martin is joining Season 4 of "The Real Housewives of Miami," and we seriously cannot wait. In an exclusive one-on-one interview with The List, Martin dished about the process of joining the show, the realities of filming, and the little tastes of drama that she could let us in on.

How did Nicole Martin make the jump to reality TV?

Thank you so much for making the time. I do really appreciate it, and I know that this is a really new and exciting time for you. It's your first season; the show's moving to Peacock. So what's it been like for you thus far, to experience a number of different firsts throughout this whole process?

This is completely new to me. I'm used to being in the operating room, taking care of patients and patients that are asleep, so I'm definitely not used to dealing with so many different personalities and dealing with press and interviews. It's been really exciting and a lot of fun.

Good, and I know that this is all, as you mentioned, coming from an anesthesiologist [with] a medical background. You're now on reality TV. So how did this whole process come about? How did it start and how did that process unfold for you to come onto the cast, essentially?

So yes, definitely a big change. When you're going to medical school and you're studying, everything is so structured. You don't even get to pick the classes you want to take. There's all these prerequisites and you're just going down this path, not deviating, and before you know it, eight years have gone by and you really haven't done anything out of the box. And so now, I'm at a point in my life where my career is established and I wanted to do something fun, different, take a personal challenge to think outside of the box and do something that was completely new.

Definitely. Was there an audition process, or how did your ... I don't want to use the word "recruitment," but how did that all unfold for you? Because it's such a huge jump from your career and now coming to television.

Certainly. So I have a very good friend who is in the TV world. She's a celebrity therapist. Think of her as like the Wendy Rhoades of "Billions." She has a lot of high-profile clients. She does a lot of TV interviews. And someone approached her, asking if she wanted to be on the show, and she was like, "Listen, it's not for me. I have a lot of very private conversations and private clients that I don't think would appreciate that, but I think that I have the perfect person for you." And so, she brought the idea to my attention, I started speaking to a couple people, and then the ball just kept rolling, and before I knew it, here I am.

Starring on The Real Housewives of Miami helped her come to terms with her past

What did you first think when [your good friend] came to you with this proposal? Did it just come out of left field? Were you excited, nervous? What was that like?

At first, I was like, "You're crazy. This is not for me," but then she made a lot of really interesting points. She pointed out, "You've had a really unique upbringing, you've overcome so many challenges, and it's something that's really inspiring to young people. And there aren't a lot of very glamorous young women that children can look up to nowadays. It's a lot of influencers and people on social media and everything always looks really glamorous, but your story is challenging. And if you have the courage to share that with people, you can really inspire women to overcome anything."

Definitely. And I know that a portion of the time that you've spent in front of the camera had to do with your relationship with your father and reevaluating that for your son. So what was that process like, of making that decision to reconnect [as one of] those more gritty challenges that you just mentioned?

It certainly was difficult. We're talking about years of repressed feelings and emotions that I'd never really dealt with before. And being on the show put this pressure on me to deal with the elephant that was sitting in the room for so many years, and so I'm very thankful for the opportunity that forced me to address these kind of repressed issues that have been sitting around for years, that I probably would've never dealt with, had it not been for the show and my son.

I mean, situations can so easily put us in circumstances where we're having to consider some things that we may have felt like we had put to bed years prior. And did you find it therapeutic in a way?

Certainly, and the cast was incredibly supportive. A few of the other girls had similar home situations, and it was nice to have a group of women to share this process with and have their support and encouragement.

Definitely. And I know that you can't really share the current status of things, but are you personally happy that you made that decision to either extend an olive branch or to just approach some of these more difficult past [demons] that you hadn't dealt with?

Certainly. You don't realize how those things that you repressed weigh on you, and so to put that out there and get it off your chest is very liberating. And even if the results aren't exactly what you were hoping they would be, at least you dealt with them, and maybe not today but maybe tomorrow or maybe next season, things will get better.

This is what she wants viewers to take away from the new season

With all of that and having shared your story that we'll see unfold on screen, what are you really hoping that viewers will take from watching you go through those motions?

So not everything is sparkles and rainbows. People have challenges, and just because you don't see it on social media doesn't mean they don't exist. And I think that's a problem with today's youth, right? They think everything's supposed to be perfect, and it's okay when they're not perfect, and it's okay to have challenges. It's how you react to those challenges that really defines you. And you have the power, right? To rise above whatever those challenges are and to face them head on and overcome them.

Social media is such a curated glimpse into people's lives, so I definitely —

It is just a snip.

 — know what you mean. It's such a snippet and it's the highlight. It's the highlight reel, as people say, so it's certainly not the most authentic light that people can present, especially when you can control the narrative of what it is that you put out there. And I know that you said that your fellow castmates were really supportive of you going through this process, but what was it like being welcomed into the ranks? Was there a little bit of drama in true Housewife tradition? Was everyone really welcoming? What was that process like?

Well, like in any group of friends, right, there's ups, there's downs. There's fun times, but there's certainly a lot of drama. A lot of these women have been friends for years. The last time the show aired, it was eight years ago, so some of these ladies have been friends for almost a decade. And here we are, a couple new faces, trying to find their place in the group, and that's met with some smiles and some other faces. You'll have to stay tuned to see how these relationships progress.

As you said, some of these women have been friends for so long, both onscreen and off as well, so I'd imagine that there might be a little bit of disruption of not necessarily friendships, but of the status quo, maybe.

Yes, the group dynamic definitely gets shaken up a bit by the newbies.

That's always exciting to see unfold, especially in this kind of television setting, so I'm excited to watch it.

Nicole Martin shares what filming Real Housewives was like

I'd love to know a little bit about more of your behind-the-scenes process. So, what did a day on set look like for you?

So it totally varied depending on what we were doing that day, but I never knew what this was going to be like. I thought it was going to be like someone with a camcorder just following me around. It's such a bigger production than I imagined. I remember the first time they filmed in my home, it was a camera crew and a lighting crew and audio, and it was a 10-person crew to get the house ready. And it's a little unnerving at first, right? Having a camera in your face and you're ... It's a little bit hard to be natural, but honestly, as time goes on, you really forget that the cameras are even there.

I was going to ask did you find yourself being like, "Oh my God, I'm being followed by a camera," when you were first starting?

For sure. At first, I was very aware of the cameras, which is a little awkward, especially since I've never done anything like this. But as time went on, you really forgot that they were even there. And sometimes, after a night out with the girls, I was like, "Oh my God, did that really happen? And did they catch that on camera?"

Oh no. COVID-19 has pretty much impacted everything, but how did it impact your filming experience?

So the crew and the cast were very careful at all times. We had strict COVID protocols that everybody followed, and obviously, as a physician, safety and healthcare is most important to me. I never felt that we were in danger or that there was any issues at any point in time, so I do think all the precautions and safety measures were taken the entire time of filming.

I was going to ask, because that's such an interesting crossover for you now. [You have] worked in the medical field, but now also [you have] production experience ... So that's an interesting position for you to exist in.

I feel like I was getting COVID tested every other day, just for safety measures. And everyone in my house, if it was the nanny and my husband were on the scene, everybody was getting tested very often, so I always felt safe. I never felt like we were doing anything that was putting anyone in danger.

Her partner was surprised by how Real Housewives filmed

Are there any behind-the-scenes stories or funny moments that happened off camera that you can share with us?

So it's funny. My partner, Anthony, I remember his first day filming. He was at work and he was coming in after work and he knew they were filming for the first day, but he also didn't realize how big of a production this was. So he says a story about how he pulls into the driveway and some man is like, "Stop," and he's like, "This is my house. Why are you telling me to stop?" We're like, "Get out the car. We need to mic you," and so he gets mic'd and then they're calling on the walkie talkie, "Mr. Lopez is outside. He's about to enter," so that they can be ready for him. And he was like, "Whoa, what is happening? I just thought someone was going to be with a camcorder in the house." But he always says that story, and it's true. The first time, it's a little overwhelming to have —

Overwhelming, yeah.

Yeah, for sure. But again, we got used to it and by the end, it was just having a cup of coffee with the crew.

That's so funny. And how did your son adjust to all of it?

Oh my gosh. He loves it. He's going to be the star of the show.

Oh my God. And how old's your son, if you don't mind me asking?

He's 2 and a half. He's going to be 3 in February, but he's like 3 going on 20. He's really talkative and really social, so he enjoyed it. And the camera crew, everybody was really nice. They would show him the lights and the microphones, and he had a great time.

That's such a fun age as well because they're just into everything.

Oh, their curiosity is at peak level, so he loved every moment of it. Honestly, of all the titles I wear, being a mom is the one I've enjoyed the most.

How does Nicole balance her personal and professional lives?

I was going to ask what that has been like for you because I really wanted to talk about the show, but I'm also just very interested in your career and how that came about. I guess, tied to the show a little bit, what has it been like balancing your career, the show, being a mom? How do you do it all?

So the good thing about being a doctor and being on call is that you learn to survive on very little sleep. Being on call, your beeper goes off and then you fall back asleep maybe for an hour, and then ... So I function on minimal sleep. If I get four hours, I'm good to go. So I wake up really early, I get my workout done so that it doesn't impact my day, [and] I'll go to work. And then I usually would film in the later afternoons because I had to work during the day and then I would come back home [and] put my son to sleep. It was tight and it was exhausting, but we made it work.

Oh my gosh, that's wild. I can't even imagine. I'm at a point where I have to write everything down and I have sticky notes everywhere of like, make sure that you do this and make sure that you go get your nails done and make sure that you go feed yourself. And I can't even imagine taking care of two other people, plus a job, plus being in front of the camera. That's wild.

I mean, I'm the same way. I'm very old school. I have a paper agenda. I write everything down. I can't get into the iPhone's technology thing. I need to see it on paper, and everything is written, color-coordinated, tabbed. There's a whole system to my madness, but it works.

Our brains work the same way because I have to be able to see it [on] the calendar. I like to cross things off. I'm totally in the same boat.

And I was very lucky. My glam squad is a very good friend of mine, so she would come over to my house and my son's known her ... So we would do things together and he would play with the brushes, so I would get glammed and do mommy and baby time all at the same [time].

Nicole Martin says the medical field is 'evolving'

We've touched on your career a little bit, but I'd love to talk to you about being an anesthesiologist specifically, especially as a woman. I was doing a little bit of digging into this a while back because I have a background in gender studies, and I know that [in] the medical field, but also [with] anesthesiologists specifically, there's such a male-to-female split ratio of how many women get to be in this profession and get to really put themselves in that setting. So I'd love to talk to you about what it's been like for you ... in this career field and just what drove you to keep going in such a male-dominated area.

So I certainly think that the world and the field of medicine is evolving, and gone are the days where it was rare to see a female in this role. At my job, there's actually three female anesthesiologists and one male. I do think that the world is changing and women are stepping out of their comfort zones and are working more outside of the home. And I've been very blessed to not have to deal with a lot of discriminatory issues, and I think it's partly because times are changing in a positive way.

Definitely. That's such a great position for you to be in as a role model for your son as well. You are a professional working mom with so many different elements of your life going on that ... Is that gratifying in a way to be able to be that kind of example for him?

Certainly. You want what's best for your child, and you want to be the best example and the best role model for them. And my mom is my hero. She's incredibly strong and kind and she's overcome so many things, and she's motivated me to be the woman that I am today. And I can only strive to do the same for my son and to be half as good of a mom as she is.

Oh, that's really sweet. I love that as well because I'm sure that getting to see such a multifaceted person on camera will ... I'm sure it will certainly inspire a lot of women as well.

That's my hope. That's my hope. And part of the reason why I did this was to inspire women to feel comfortable, to overcome whatever challenges they're given, and to just strive for whatever they want to be.

What reality TV show does she love watching?

At The List, we typically ask people, especially in the reality scene, just a couple of really fast snippet questions at the end. So firstly, I would love to know what your favorite reality TV show of the year is.

I love "Selling Sunset." I have days where I am obsessed with "Selling Sunset." It is my guilty pleasure, and Christine Quinn's style is just so fabulous. I mean, only she can pull off that little purse chair, little ... I mean.

Right? I know. I was watching it yesterday and the purse chair just killed me, and she's fabulous. That's so funny. And then the second rapid question we ask is who your favorite celebrity couple of the year has been, if you've got one.

Hold on, I'm going to have to think about that one. I'm really loving Kourtney [Kardashian] and Travis [Barker]. I think that they're soulmates and they're both really comfortable in their own skin now, and I love how public they are with their affection and how they've integrated their families. I'm here for all of it.

Love it. And then the last one that we ask, and you kind of answered it a little bit, but what your favorite celebrity look of the year has been.

So given that we're going to be relaunching "The Real Housewives of Miami," I think I'm going to have to give you a Housewife favorite. I love Dorit [Kemsley]'s style. To me, she's just so fabulous, so classy, and she just kills it with her looks.

"The Real Housewives of Miami" drops on NBC streaming service Peacock on December 16, 2021.