Johannesburg – I have a golden rule whenever I go out to meet anyone for an interview – always get there at least 15 minutes early.
If my interview is on camera, that timeframe is extended by another 10 minutes so that I am able to set up my equipment before my guest arrives. Otherwise, I'm left fiddling with my tripod while my interviewee sits there awkwardly waiting for me to finish up.
Anyway, I arrive 25 minutes early, as planned, and as I stroll into the Honest Food café at One Hyde Park, I see a beautiful woman relaxing on a chair next to the pool. It's Mrs Mops; she's early. I was warned she would be when her manager called me as I was leaving the office.
I walk up to their table, and I'm welcomed with warm smiles all around. I must admit, I did not know what to expect, I was meeting a Real Housewife after all – these ladies are glamorous, opinionated, and not afraid to chuck a glass of water in your face if you get on their bad side. Yes, that's what reality TV has taught me – don't piss off a woman who's in close proximity of a vessel containing any sort of liquid.
After relocating Mpumi, as she introduced herself to me, to an area that was better suited for filming, we start chatting as I set up my camera. She's nice. That's my first impression of her.
She relaxes into one of the couches as we talk about how she landed up on the show. "A friend of mine and I were at a fashion show, and we happened to meet the executive producer of Housewives."
Being a big fan of the series, Mpumi says her friend convinced her to approach the show's producer and tell her about her interest in taking part in the upcoming season. She did, and it paid off.
"A few months down the line she [the producer] called me, and she was like, 'come and audition for the show, I want you'. And the rest, as they say, is history."
The word "audition" immediately caught my attention when Mpumi said it. Do people really audition for reality shows? And how does that work?
"The audition process is like no other," she explains, adding "this one was like, bring your biggest ballgown, bring your glam team. I had packed two suitcases full of clothes because you have to bring your A-game."
The point of the audition is to see if you could fit into the world that these ladies belong to, and she made the cut.
So, if the cast has to audition to be part of the show, then how much of it is actually real? Mpumi admits that reality shows "are a little bit scripted", but that does not mean it's completely fabricated. "Of course, if the camera is there, you will naturally perform, but when the drama starts, you forget that there's a camera and the real you comes out."
She says fans of the show should expect to learn more about the woman she is – a mom, wife, actress and philanthropist, but you won't get a glimpse of her husband, he was "off-limits" during the filming process.
According to the actress, there are also some "cringe-worthy moments" where she loses her cool.
"Normally I'm not like that, I'm very chilled out, but in the show, I do get pushed, and you'll see that side of me which I don't like."
Well, that's the reason we tune into reality shows; it's all about the drama. Mpumi agrees.
"The ingredients for a great reality show, I would say, is you need a little bit of drama because without the drama it's boring, you need somebody who's neutral, you need a little bit of glam, and you need suspense."
If the first edition of the Real Housewives of Johannesburg is anything to go by, we will have all of these things and more with the new season.
The Real Housewives of Johannesburg season 2 premieres Friday, 18 October at 19:00 on 1Magic (DStv 103).