Kung Minkoff marks the first-ever Asian American cast member to join the franchise. Her addition to the show comes as Bravo has been increasing efforts to diversify its casts across its programming.
Kung Minkoff will join Kyle Richards, Erika Girardi, Lisa Rinna, Garcelle Beauvais and Dorit Kemsley in Season 11, which will no longer feature former cast members Teddi Mellencamp and Denise Richards, who departed after the most recent season.
Kung Minkoff is an entrepreneur who founded Real Coco, a company specializing in coconut products. While not all “Housewives” cast members across the franchises are married, Kung Minkoff’s husband, Rob Minkoff, is filmmaker, who directed the original “Lion King” in 1994, the “Stuart Little” films and Eddie Murphy’s “Haunted Mansion.” The couple has been married for 13 years and shares two children. (Families of the “Housewives” are typically seen on the show, as storylines center around their personal and professional lives.)
Beauvais was added to the show last season, becoming the first-ever Black cast member to appear on the “Beverly Hills” series. With Kung Minkoff’s addition, the show will feature the most diverse cast in its 11-year history.
And next season on “The Real Housewives of New York City,” journalist and attorney Eboni K. Williams will be the first Black star to join that installment, which is entering Season 13. At the time of her casting, Williams said, “NYC is filled with successful and dynamic Black women. I’m excited to join this legendary franchise as the first Black housewife.”
Since 2008, Bravo has been airing the predominantly Black series “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” which is one of the network’s highest-rated shows, in addition to shows like “Real Housewives of Potomac” and “Married to Medicine,” which also feature Black cast members. But in recent months, the network has been putting extra attention on its diversity and inclusion efforts, especially following highly publicized scandals surrounding racist actions of cast members on some of their whiter shows, “Vanderpump Rules” and “Below Deck,” which resulted in Bravo firing numerous reality stars.
“We are looking to increase the diversity of our shows,” Bravo executive Shari Levine recently said in an interview with Variety, adding, “We are mindful of what the moment is. And we all feel the same in terms of intolerance, and in terms of being part of a culture that doesn’t inflict pain on people.”
Kate Aurthur contributed to this story.