The New ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’ Star’s Surprising Best Advice


It’s not easy being the newest Housewife on the block, but luckily, Real Housewives of Dubai newbie Taleen Marie got some advice from the OG of the OC herself.

Attending BravoCon last November, half a year before her debut season even aired, Marie got to jump right into the lion’s den. Bravo formally announced Marie as a new Housewife on the first day of the convention, and previewed the season premiere to audiences months ahead of the network airing.

Experiencing BravoCon as both a Housewife and a voyeur, Marie said it was the best of both worlds. And chatting with Vicki Gunvalson was a perfect introduction into the Housewives world.

“She is the OG. She literally grabbed me by my shoulders, my husband Rafi was standing next to me, and she said to us, ‘Never lose sight of you guys,’” Marie told The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “She’s like, ‘I’ve seen marriages and families break up over the show. Just stay focused on what really fucking matters.’ I have a video of it, my mom was videotaping.”

A photo of Lesa Milan, Chanel Ayan, Caroline Stanbury, Caroline Brooks, Saba Yussouf, Sara Al Medani, and Taleen Marie

Lesa Milan, Chanel Ayan, Caroline Stanbury, Caroline Brooks, Saba Yussouf, Sara Al Medani, and Taleen Marie


A newbie to the reality TV format, Marie had previously been courted to join the cast of the Netflix reality series Dubai Bling before joining RHODubai. For Marie, the biggest shock of joining the Housewives franchise was simply that it’s all real.

“What you see, it’s the truth,” she said. “It’s raw. It’s as raw and real as it gets.”

RHODubai filmed its second season from February to May 2023. The wait for Season 2 meant Marie’s BravoCon appearance predated her on-screen debut by more than a year. But the weirdest part for her isn’t watching year-old drama. It’s seeing her kids look so much younger.

As for the drama itself, that’s still very much brewing.

“Whatever you’re gonna see on the show, unfortunately or fortunately, is still happening. For us, it’s not old news,” she said. “We’re just gonna have to relive it.”

Marie joined the show as a friend of OG Housewife Caroline Brooks, whom she’s known for more than a decade. She made a point not to watch Season 1 prior to filming with the ladies so she could form her own perceptions—except the scenes Brooks was in.

‘The Real Housewives of Dubai’ Glows Up Thanks to Some Petty Beyoncé Drama

After filming for Season 2 wrapped, she went back and watched the show. Viewing an edited version of the friends she’s come to know was, in some ways, a bizarre experience. It was especially illuminating watching Chanel Ayan back and seeing her larger-than-life persona in its full glory.

“When I saw the first season after, I was like, ‘Oh my God. How do you get along with someone like this?’ But I bonded with her so much,” she said. “She’s so genuine. But she is like that. That’s the thing.”

Moving to Dubai 12 years ago was the “shock” of her life, she said, but she “totally fell in love with it.” RHODubai is Bravo’s only international franchise (although the Real Housewives brand has been utilized in cities across the world, including Melbourne, Johannesburg, Cheshire, and soon, Munich), giving it a unique undertaking.

Whereas most U.S. viewers have somewhat of an understanding of New York City and Miami, Dubai introduces audiences to an entirely new culture.

“It’s not just the show. Dubai is its own character, in and of itself, that we’re introducing to the world” she said. “We’re more than glitz and glam, as well. There’s also history here that a lot of people didn’t understand.”

The show came under fire by audiences from both the U.S. and Dubai in Season 1, some criticizing the choice to highlight the city at all, while others questioned the cast’s expat makeup. To Marie, though, the beauty of RHODubai is its portrayal of the many walks of life that inhabit the city.

“When you take the glitz and the glamour and the money and the clothes and the fashion away, the core of it is all the same. Everybody can relate to it,” she said. “It literally crosses cultures, and it’s a very universal thing. It’s not just women who have money.”

Marie jumped straight into the deep end just before cameras picked up. The entire cast, sans Sara al-Midani, attended Beyoncé’s concert at Atlantis the Royal, where Marie allegedly got a bit messy, and Caroline Stanbury carried that gossip right into the season’s first episode.

But it wasn’t Marie who ended up in the hot seat, but Stanbury herself, as she and Brooks duel it out in the season’s early episodes, with Marie caught right in the middle.

A photo of Taleen Marie and Chanel Ayan

Taleen Marie and Chanel Ayan


“I was kind of thrown in, right to the wolves. I didn’t know it was gonna be like that,” she said. “But I have integrity. If somebody questions my behavior, at the end of the day, that’s my reputation. I’m gonna stand up for myself and I know the truth.”

“But I also understand British humor, and I don’t think Stanbury was trying to take me down as a human being,” she added. “I think she was taking the piss a little bit. And I’m very much the kind of person that rolls with the punches.”

It was also tough for Marie to develop relationships with all the women while maintaining loyalty to Brooks, especially as Brooks entered the season beefing with several cast members. She had heard “a lot of crap” from Brooks, telling her not to trust some cast members, but she was ultimately “pleasantly surprised” by the ladies. For her, it was important to stand on her own two feet in order to integrate herself in the ensemble, while maintaining respect for her and Brooks’ friendship.

“We’re all a group of friends and we all have to find our own way in this, and if my loyalty was questioned, so be it,” she said. “At the end of the day, I am unapologetically myself, for better or for worse.”

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