She’s grown, y’all — and she knows it. Real Housewives of New York star Sonja Morgan spoke with Life & Style exclusively about how far she’s come since joining the cast in season 3 and how her growth up until this point has really satisfied her. Not for nothing, the fashion designer and philanthropist has had quite the Bravo TV tenure so far.

“When they first asked me to come on season 1, when it was just Jill [Zarin] and I for Manhattan Moms, I said no — I don’t know what I’m going to do with a 5-year-old child, I was going through a divorce,” the 55-year-old explained about the early origins of RHONY. “And then after two seasons, the third season I was like ‘Wow, these girls are doing well, the kids are doing well, it’s great for their charities, it’s great for their brand.’ And I went to fashion school and I want to build my brand again. I wanted to start over essentially, after my divorce.”

“And my divorce wasn’t going well, I thought my divorce was going to go well and I didn’t need to, ya know, kill myself by doing reality TV — that’s what I thought it was gonna be,” she continued. “And so after I joined the show I saw that the friendships come first. We really are friends and we’re there for each other and I learned from these other kickass women. Because New Yorkers are real.”

RHONY star Sonja Morgan makes out with a woman at the bar
Getty Images

Considering Sonja had connections with some of her costars pre-filming, it gave her the opportunity to really create lasting bonds with the women she would share the screen with for years to come. “I knew these women before the show so then it gave me the independence I needed to be myself again,” she explained. “Not Mrs. Morgan, but Sonja — and to take care of my daughter, and to show my daughter what it meant to be a woman who could take care of herself and her daughter.”

“And then she met my world, the people who supported us, in a city that I’m proud to live in, which means, we’re all about tolerance. So she really was brought up as my daughter in my home, and I love that about New York,” the entrepreneur said. “So that’s what the show did for me, and I really did evolve that way, and it gave me so many avenues to give back to my charities even more, to highlight them.”

But more than anything, the blonde beauty loved the opportunity to tap into her funny side over the years. “I was always the class clown but now I realized I can actually make people laugh. I like to make people laugh, I like to make people happy, even if it’s just for a short time,” she gushed. “Because it’s so stressing and things move so fast. So if you can make someone laugh for five minutes and forget their worries, it’s great.”

Needless to say, the RHONY staple leaves us in stitches. It just wouldn’t be New York without you, Sonja!