Why A Drag Queen Was Cast In Real Housewives Of Miami

According to reports, a Miami installment of Bravo's Housewives franchise—which has already completed filming—will include Elaine Lancaster. And while actually a man, Elaine's look (wigs, caked-on makeup, Chanel bags, etc.) isn't all that different from previous Housewives.

The successful Bravo series has presented a rather loose definition of "housewife" since its very first season with a single mom (Lauri Waring Peterson) and a career woman (Vicki Gunvalson) as part of the Orange County cast, and later, a single, childless woman (Bethenny Frankel) as part of the New York cast. But now it would seem that the network is also stretching—if not totally ignoring—the term "real" by casting a man who "plays" a woman (as opposed to something less performative, like a transgendered, or transitioning, MTF).

But that could be because what's now being packaged as The Real Housewives of Miami was originally filmed as a completely different show. A few months ago, Bravo announced that it had picked up a show tentatively titled Miami Social Club, a sort of reworked version of the network's 2009 flop Miami Social, which had both male and female cast members. The new version was supposed to be a "docu-series follow[ing] Miami's social elite," and as of March 2010 (as the series was being shot around town) that was still the case. Perhaps because of the success of Housewives—and the previous bomb that Miami Social proved to be—the network decided to repackage the Florida footage, which included Elaine.

It's actually almost a perfect self-parody. The bio on Elaine Lancaster's website says that actor James Davis modeled the character after Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives, combining the first and last names of two of the fictional women in the book (Elaine Conti and Karen Lancaster).

Other confirmed cast members for Miami are Scottie Pippin's wife, Larsa, and former Miami Heat player Glen Rice's ex-wife, Christy. Also rumored are "art scene socialite" Adriana Sidi, Venue Magazine editor Alexia Echeverria, PR wiz Marysol Patton, and Lea Black, wife of famous defense attorney Roy Black. The show is tentatively scheduled to premiere sometime between November and January.

Real Housewives of Miami: It's Done and It's Happening! [E!]
Take two: Bravo tries again with Miami Social Club [Miami Herald]
Bravo Announces Pick-Ups and Series in Development [Bravo]