The 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' alum tells PEOPLE she considers the Peacock reality show "rugged for a Housewife"
Parks, 50, and fellow Housewife Shereé Whitfield, 54, about the unexpected downsides of the Peacock show's physical challenges, including wet and wild missions in the lochs, rivers and valleys of the Scottish Highlands.
“Everybody did not believe my lashes would hold up. We're very used to glam, squads and room service, living very fabulous, and a lot of extra nice things. And this is a little more primitive,” Parks says of season 2's first team challenge, which she completed alongside Whitfield, The Real Housewives of Orange County's Tamra Judge, The Real Housewives of Miami's Larsa Pippen and 18 more reality stars.
Parks notes that on Housewives “we are used to people having a lot of helpers,” but on Traitors, “we have to help ourselves.”
“If you are not able to do all the things for yourself, this would not be the show,” she continues. “It's not Survivor, but it's rugged for a Housewife.”
Whitfield, a Faithful, reveals she struggled to find outfits warm enough to film in Scotland.
“It is cold here. It's not cold in Atlanta,” the Real Housewife of Atlanta says. “I couldn't find a lot of warm pieces, so I did quite a bit of shopping and just really put some pieces together that I probably have to layer. But I'm definitely going to give you fashion, honey.”
Viewers won’t see Whitfield in her own brand, SHE by Shereé, though. “They said I could not!” Whitfield reveals of her Traitors contract limitation. “You can't wear your brand.”
Parks knew Whitfield and Judge, 56, before joining The Traitors and thought the Housewives did have an advantage coming onto the show, despite not coming from a competition background like some of their castmates.
“None of us have, I think, ever played a game like this, but I think being a Housewife makes you pretty tough,” Parks says. “We definitely have to fight with a bunch of vindictive, deceptive villains. I think that is perfect training. Some people have been on these types of shows, 22 seasons, so their strategy is unmatched, I do believe. But I think being a Housewife, we can play with the big dogs.”
Adds Whitfield, “We've worked with people who are used to being deceptive and pretending to be or do things that are not actually true. So that prepared us.”
And that preparation came in handy on Thursday's episode when Parks' fellow Traitor Dan Gheesling, a Big Brother winner, tried to turn their competitors' attention on her when he was feeling heat after a botched attempt to expel another player.
When Gheesling, 40, questioned Parks' overly dramatic reactions to the "murders" of other players — including Pippen and Judge — fellow Bravolebrity Kate Chastain chimed in incredulously, "Have you met her?"
Suffice it to say, Gheesling was sent packing and Parks remains in the competition, with her castmates seemingly none the wiser that she's planning their demises.
Whitfield hasn't really been in the hot seat yet in the season's first several episodes, but that doesn't mean she didn't study up before shooting began. She watched season 1 of the U.S. Traitors as well as the Australian version. “When I got the call that they were interested in bringing me on, I was like, ‘Oh, I need to watch it again in a different way,’ you know?’ Let me be strategic,” she explained.
The mom of three partly signed on so fans would have an opportunity to reconsider her Housewives' reputation.
“I hope people see me in a different light,” Whitfield says. “We're meeting so many different people and establishing relationships with different people in a much different way than being on Housewives. So I hope they see that we're really good people, we're genuine people. We're not always bitchy and drama filled.”
Parks agrees. “This show is really not catty like the Housewives,” she says. “So I think it allows you the opportunity to show a different perspective, like a more strategic, the thinking side of us as people versus, but I think we're still going to be glamorous.”
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New episodes of The Traitors drop Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Peacock.
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