Braunwyn Windham-Burke to amplifying LGBT voices following RHOC exit


Braunwyn Windham-Burke is moving on from Real Housewives of Orange County (Picture: Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Her time on Real Housewives of Orange County saw Braunwyn Windham-Burke become the first openly gay housewife in the Bravo franchise’s history.

However, the 43-year-old’s time on the series is officially over after it was confirmed she would not be returning for season 17.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk about her hopes and plans for her career going forward, the reality star explained: ‘I would have liked to stay on the show because last year was hard as it was my first year of sobriety. That first year is really hard and I never tried to sugarcoat that.

‘Now that I’m past that and more settled, I feel like I’m the woman I’m supposed to be and I want to put my energy into helping other feel seen. I hope to continue my work with amplified voices, which is something I started during the pandemic.’

Windham-Burke, who came out as gay in an interview with GLAAD in December 2020, explained that the conversations and education she has been able to provide through Amplified Voices has become her ‘passion’ in recent months.

She explained: ‘It is so close to my heart and I would really love to grow that. Sharing stories of other people in the LGBT+ community, especially with regards to mental health and Black Lives Matter, this is where my passion lies. Sharing the stories of others.’


The Real Housewives of Orange County - Season 15

The RHOC was last seen on the explosive reunion in which she was confronted about her battle to stay sober, as well as her decision to come out as a lesbian (Picture: Casey Durkin/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The reality star – who is in a new relationship with a mystery female – added: ‘I would also love the chance to show two women being together in a non-fallacious way that this isn’t some hetero fantasy. I think that really is needed right now.

‘I’m seeing a woman that I truly care about and we’re navigating a very, very interesting dynamic in my family right now. I would love to showcase that and that families come in different ways and that there’s other ways of doing it.’

Taking a slight swipe at her former castmates, she continued: ‘I would love to show women supporting women. After 2020 especially, no one is okay right now. None of our children are doing great.

‘Our teenagers are having some major mental health issues right now. I would love to sort of highlight how we are all dealing with that. How are we helping our each other post-pandemic?’

The star continued: ‘I’ve been gifted with this beautiful platform. For me, what can I do with that? For me, it’s showing that you can be yourself and be loved just the way you are.

‘I guess I really want to help break down some of the social justice issues that we’ve tiptoed around for a while. Let’s have the hard conversations. Let’s just be real and honest, without attacking each other. That would be nice.’


Amare Magazine's 14th Issue Release

The reality star is now hoping to use her platform to help others within the LGBT+ community (Picture: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

To help celebrate her first Pride month as an openly gay woman, the star teamed up with Blue Blood Metal to create a line of necklaces and two bracelets benefitting the PFLAG Newport Beach scholarship fund for LGBT+ students.

Priced from $65 to $265 and now available online, pieces in the Amplified Voices collection are made from vintage designer buttons, with most incorporating rainbow stripes and charms.

Opening up for her inspiration for the collection, she told us: ‘Right now, the suicide and addiction rate for transgender youth is off the charts. While the homicide rates are crazy. Even in my own community in Orange County, we had a boy that went to school with my children that was murdered for being gay.

‘So we partnered with people at Newport Beach during the holidays, and I donated my cameos to them, and they were able to raise enough money for two scholarships for LGBT+ youth seniors going into college. So I immediately wanted to see what more can we do.’

Windham-Burke continued: ‘When I first came out, the owner of blue blood metals gifted me this beautiful rainbow necklace. At the time, I was getting a lot of hate and the gesture meant so much to me.

‘I reached out to her about a potential collaboration and now the proceeds from that are going to the scholarship fund. I hope this is the beginning of something we can keep doing reguarly.’

She added: ‘You have to do what you can with what you have where you are. I can’t change the world, but I can start changing Newport Beach so that’s where I’m gonna put my time and energy. I want to let the LGBT+ kids to know they have a safe place and they have people that love them. They’re never alone.’

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