'RHOC' Newcomer Katie Ginella Reveals First Impressions of Her Fellow Housewives (Exclusive)

'The Real Housewives of Orange County' Season 18 premieres Thursday, July 11.

Katie Ginella is bringing the juice to The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 18. The former golf reporter joins the Bravo world as the newest Real Housewife – and she's giving PopCulture.com the inside scoop on her casting and first impressions of her fellow cast members ahead of the Thursday, July 11 premiere

Ginella has been a friend of Sutton Stracke for years now, and it was The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star who introduced her to RHOC's Gina Kirschenheiter when she, her husband, and her four children moved to Orange County from San Diego

"I reached out to Gina and we met for coffee and we spent five hours together just talking," Ginella told PopCulture. "She's just a ball of fun. That's how we got to know each other and became fast friends."

The Real Housewives of Orange County – Season 18
(Photo: Bravo/Sami Drasin)

When it came to joining the world of Real Housewives, Ginella explained, "It was exciting for me. I had just started this business, which would be a really cool marketing opportunity, and also [it was] just really exciting to ... be the first Asian on [RHOC], which there's never been one. There's never been a Korean Housewife across the franchises, so that was really exciting to me, and it seemed like something new and fun to experience."

First Impressions

Meeting her fellow Housewives Tamra Judge, Shannon Storms Beador, Heather Dubrow, Gina Kirschenheiter, Emily Simpson and Jennifer Pedranti was another major milestone. 

The Real Housewives of Orange County – Season 18
(Photo: Bravo/Sami Drasin)

"Shannon was great," Ginella told PopCulture of her first impression of the longtime cast member. "I first met her ... and after we wrapped, she had one of the producers come get me and said, 'It was so great to meet you. Here's my number. Text me if you need anything.' She was a sweetheart. Just very warm and welcome." 

Judge was a "ball of fun and energy" from the start, Ginella continued, while Simpson was "a little bit more quiet, but always very kind." She recalled, "[Simpson] was very welcoming and she was [jokingly] like, 'You sure about this?' I'm like, 'Yes.' She was great." Ginella "immediately clicked" with Pedranti from the start after the newcomer shared the story of her own adoption, as Pedranti is the mother of an adopted son, but her first impression of Dubrow was a little less positive.

Ginella revealed that her first impression of her eventual castmate actually occurred before filming began. "We attended the same party at Sutton's house for Christmas, so that wasn't a very good first impression," she hinted. "But a good first impression I had with her [was] at the party when I officially met her for the season, and she was lovely at the party."

As teased in the Season 18 trailer, things eventually go south for Ginella and Dubrow, which sparked when Ginella found out "some information that I thought was very fun and lighthearted" that Dubrow "did not agree it was very fun and lighthearted." Ginella hinted, "That becomes a very big focal and tension point for the two of us throughout the entire season."

What to Expect in Season 18

Despite the eventual tensions that form in the group, Ginella told PopCulture she wanted to join the cast this season with "respect" for the history between the women – especially when it comes to "friend of" Alexis Bellino, who appeared on the series from Seasons 5-8.

"I think coming into any group of women, no matter if it's on Orange County Housewives or just in
general, is daunting," she said. "You're walking into a group of women that have known each other for six years-plus. ... You kind of walk on eggshells a little bit like, 'I respect you guys, you've been friends for a long
time, but here I am and I would love to be a part of your group of friends.'"

She continued, "It was daunting, but anything that's challenging always turns out to be so rewarding."

The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 18 premieres Thursday, July 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.