Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nicole O’Neil On Her Sit-Down With AthenaX Levendi: “At No Point Did I Run Her Down, And That Was Never My Intention”

Nicole O'Neil is taking to her Arena Blog to dish on this week's episode of The Real Housewives of Sydney. Nicole talks about Whitsundays trip, her sit-down with AthenaX Levendi and Lisa Oldfield's emotional meltdown.

Nicole writes:

"In Episode 4 Victoria has kindly organised a trip for the girls to go to The Whitsundays, situated on the beautiful and picturesque tropical coast of Queensland.

The episode starts with me packing with my girls, which is a fun ritual that we enjoy together. I am the first to admit that I’m not the lightest packer, I like to be prepared for any occasion (weather change, mood shift, accidents, flying drinks – I just like options!!), but as I always say there are no prizes for packing light!  My girls are so cute!  Nawal had only been back in Australia for a couple of weeks when we filmed this scene.  She was only three when we left Australia so it may have been a bit ambitious for her to know Australian geography just yet.  Neve’s cheekiness on the other hand has certainly crossed continents and we all had a laugh when she was in full impersonation mode with my hat and glasses!  They’re moments that I love and for them to be captured this way is such a gift.

We arrive at The Whitsundays, surrounded by crystal blue water, perfect white sandy beaches, marine life and rainforests, so naturally I’m hoping the idyllic surrounds will result in a calm and relaxing holiday… but I wouldn’t bet on it! AthenaX and I take the opportunity to share a glass of champagne before dinner. I liked being able to share that time with AthenaX on my own, to give her some advice about listening to the other girls a bit more and taking some time to get to know them. Honestly, I was trying to help her, to let her know ‘the tone of the room’, to get to know the girls, rather than just observing them from a place upon high.

I’m not judging her by her memory or attacking her when I ask her if she remembers my kids or Matty’s kids names, I was just trying to point out to her that she is oblivious to what is most important to the other girls and that it’s time to do some listening for a change! At no point did I run her down, and that was never my intention.  I also ask AthenaX to join my charity committee, The Food truck Fund, to raise funds for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation as a gesture of goodwill. Little did I realise that in fact AthenaX felt that I was cultivating her for her connections and that I was going about it the wrong way.  She seemed so genuinely honoured at the time. Lesson learned.

We meet up with the other girls to head to dinner for our first night out on holiday together. From the minute the food comes and AthenaX swaps her special order vegetarian meal, tensions are high. If there’s one thing I find unappetising it’s hypocrisy, so when she wants to tell everyone she is vegan for ethical reasons I absolutely had to call her out on wearing an ivory bracelet. No ones perfect, I know lots of people who wear leather and fur but they are not spouting ethical reasons for veganism and they certainly would never wear an endangered animal or the cruelly obtained tusks of an elephant around their wrist for fashion!

Victoria brought up the problems Lisa was having with David, which I was so shocked to hear about as I had been unaware of the conversation that had transpired at AthenaX’s birthday party. I wanted to go and console Lisa as I have known her and David for a long time. I wanted to let her know that I am worried about her and that she knows she can talk to me any time.

While we were away talking, the girls got onto some interesting topics of conversation… Kundalini love and ten minute orgasms… what can I say?  I’m glad I missed that conversation!

Victoria organised an amazing treat for us to go out on the luxurious cruiser,  Sahana. Captain Paul lets us know that Sahana means peace and tranquility…oh the irony! All of the girls showed up looking very glamorous…and none of them drooled, but it was a stunning boat!

We were each allocated our rooms and roomies and luckily I got to share with Melissa, although I do think I freaked her out with my pillow barrier down the middle of the bed.  I really didn’t want to ruin a burgeoning friendship by trying to spoon poor Melissa!

The next day we were all looking forward to a day out on the water; I went snorkeling with Matty and Lisa and it was hilarious watching Krissy and Victoria trying to balance on their paddle boards. It wasn’t until we sat down to the spectacular lunch on the beach that we realised that Lisa was missing. When Lisa appeared she was very upset and explained that she had been stuck in a current. I felt terrible that we hadn’t realised what distress she was in, but when Lisa informed us that she had been signalling with the international symbol for emergency I had to admit my ignorance. Next time Lisa just shout “HELP!” and you might attract a bit more attention!

We sat down to a gorgeous dinner on the boat with the girls. AthenaX wanted to tell us about the artistic side to her and was put out that none of us had asked her about it, which was so ridiculous because apart from her spirituality, her art is her other favourite topic of conversation.  I took umbridge at that.  I’ve had many conversations with AthenaX.  I listen when she speaks.  For Athena to call me a know-all because I’m able to recount things she’s told me about her art… I mean, really!  You can’t have it both ways. I give up!

The conversation then turned to AthenaX’s accusation that Victoria claimed Melissa had an eating disorder. AthenaX was very upset that Melissa gave Victoria the benefit of the doubt that she hadn’t in fact made that claim. AthenaX felt that Melissa backing down showed a flaw in her character, but having gotten to know her well by this point, I found that Melissa is the least likely person to be lacking in integrity.

While we were at the table, Lisa broke down and informed me that it was her anniversary that day. I felt awful for her as she was so distressed and being so hard on herself. I really felt that she needed to seek professional help, as her problems seemed to be overwhelming her. It’s a terrible feeling when you see a friend in such distress.  In that moment I did what I could – and that was to just be there, to be a friend.

By this point, our dream holiday was feeling more like a nightmare.

Until next time…"

What do you think about Nicole’s blog?

The Real Housewives of Sydney airs Sunday nights at 8:30pm on Arena in Australia and on Tuesday nights at 8:30pm on Bravo NZ in New Zealand. For International TV Listings, click here!

Photo Credit: Foxtel

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