IRVINE — When Peggy Tanous was a little girl, she told her mom she wanted to be the next Marilyn Monroe.
Tanous could be living out the beginning of her dream as the newest blonde bombshell to enter the cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," now in its sixth season.
Although the new season premiered last week, Sunday's episode will mark the Irvine mom's first appearance as a housewife.
Tanous, a mother of two little girls named Capri and London, prides herself as being the only housewife who grew up in O.C. She was raised in Tustin, attended Foothill High School and has a degree in communications from Cal State Fullerton.
A former model and public speaker, she's no stranger to the screen. In the early 2000s, Tanous hosted two public access shows in Huntington Beach: "Destination HB" and "HB Report."
It was around that time that she was first approached about the show. She had just wed Internet developer Micah Tanous and didn't think it was the right choice for two newlyweds.
Then last year the idea came up again, when they saw their friends Jim and Alexis Bellino on the hit Bravo show.
Tanous had known Jim Bellino through her husband and bonded with his wife when they found out they were both pregnant.
"[Alexis] was like, 'I think you should try out'," Tanous said. "I was like, 'I don't think so. I'm a mom now. I think reality [TV] can be a little scary'."
But then she and her husband thought it over and they made a decision: They were in.
"I tried out, and here I am," she said.
Although she's used to reading a script, the former TV host had to get used to cameras following her day-to-day routine.
"I was like, 'I feel really boring,'" she said with a laugh. "You want to watch me watch TV with my kids or watch me take them out to the backyard on the swings? That was a little bit odd."
She managed to let people into a very sensitive part of her life: her battle with post-partum depression.
Tanous wouldn't give too much away but said upcoming episodes show her holistic healing process.
Although drama seems inevitable on the show, the mom had nothing but nice things to say about her cast mates, especially new friends Tamra Barney and Vicki Gunvalson.
"I think this year you're going to see a softer side of Vicki," she said. "I feel like she and I have a lot of similarities, and sometimes people can take us the wrong way. I really like Vicki."
Tanous also added that the drama on the show is no hoax.
"Anytime you get five, six, seven women — especially when we're all really strong and independent — you're going to have some conflict," she said. "That definitely is real."
Tanous admitted that the show unfortunately took a toll on her relationship with Bellino.
"I think she was really nervous that the show would affect our relationship and it did, definitely, so we really haven't been hanging out since we've been filming," she said.
Many people have read headlines about the housewives recently, and it didn't have to do with the show's production. Barney and Tanous were given "the date rape drug" Rohypnol by a male fan at a New York restaurant last week, while dining with New York housewife Ramona Singer. Tanous credits Gunvalson for getting them out of the situation safely.
Although she has not seen the entire season yet, Tanous said the experience was well worth it.
"I would definitely do another season," she said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times