Posted by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on the subscriber version of AJC Radio & TV Talk blog on Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Being a newbie on a reality show is never easy. But it's sometimes easier when the person they're replacing was hardly beloved.
That's the case with the newest member of the "Married to Medicine" team Contessa Metcalfe. She takes over for Lisa Nicole Cloud, a doctor's wife and businesswoman who had difficulty consistently connecting with the women on the show and wasn't particularly popular among viewers either.
Metcalfe comes in as a Navy veteran and occupational and preventive medical doctor and on the show will be called Dr. Contessa instead of Dr. Metcalfe. (Somehow, for Bravo, this particular way of naming the women comes across as more personal since the show dubs Dr. Jacqueline Waters "Dr. Jackie," Dr. Simone Whitmore "Dr. Simone" and Dr. Heavenly Kimes "Dr. Heavenly.")
"I'm so honored to have this experience," Dr. Contessa said. She is married to a family doctor Walter Scott Metcalfe and has three kids with him. (Nine-year-old Lauren, seven-year-old Landon and three-year-old Laila.)
Dr. Contessa's arrival shifts the balance of the regular cast to four actual doctors and two wives of doctors.
She already knew Dr. Simone and Toya Bush-Harris before joining the show. Randomly, her son and Toya's son met at a park and became friends.
Outspoken original cast member Dr. Heavenly Kimes - who was no fan of Cloud - said she's happy with the new addition of Dr. Contessa. "We started in not such a good place," Dr. Heavenly said in a separate interview. "I don't think she understood me. After getting to know her, I grew to like her."
A Kansas City native, Dr. Contessa graduated Xavier University in New Orleans, a popular place for African Americans seeking a medical career. "It was cool to be a nerd there," she said. "You were in the 'in crowd' if you were super smart."
She later attended med school in St. Louis but financially, it was too difficult, especially with her father in prison. "Student loan debt was scary to me," she said. "And I had a patriotic layer in me. I wanted to see the world. I applied for a military scholarship and was awarded one."
As a flight surgeon, she flew all over the world, from Vietnam to Curacao. Once she married and started having kids, the difficulty of balancing that travel schedule with her personal life led her to leave the military.
Dr. Contessa admits that the idea she is on a reality show hasn't truly sunken in.
"Even talking to you is surreal," she said. "I know cameras are there but it was easy to forget once I got comfortable... I'm not a super glam girl. You'll never see me doing selfies. I'm not really self-image conscious... I'm curious to see if I"m as crazy as my husband says I am!"
And given how busy her schedule typically is, she said the TV show actually allowed her to spend more time with her family filming scenes. "They had fun doing stuff with mommy," she said.
Dr. Contessa does not appear in the first episode, airing Sunday, November 5 and she isn't sure when her official debut will happen. (It's common for reality shows to introduce new characters later after re-establishing the existing ones in the debut episode.)
"Married to Medicine," returns for season 5 at 10 p.m. Sunday November 5 after "Real Housewives of Atlanta." The show will later move back to its normal time slot on Friday nights starting Nov. 10.