Alexis Bellino Talks ‘Exciting’ Season of ‘Real Housewives’ & New Clothing Line (EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS)

Tonight, Bravo debuts the seventh season (!) of The Real Housewives of Orange County (9PM ET), filled with more drama, more tears and, yep, another new housewife.

Earlier today, castmember Alexis Bellino gave Celebuzz the scoop on the brand-new season, including the latest status on her relationship with Peggy Tanous, how long she thinks Orange County will last and the big fight that reduced her to tears.

Meanwhile, Celebuzz is also debuting exclusive pictures from the latest photo shoot for Alexis Couture, which you can check out in our gallery now!

How will Alexis balance being a businesswoman and June Cleaver? What’s in store for the future of Alexis Couture and her other fashion line, Alexis by Tal Sheyn? Read about it all in our exclusive interview!

For more on all-things Alexis Bellino, be sure to visit her official website!

Late last year, Peggy announced that she is leaving the show. Was it a relief for you to hear that?
It’s so hard, because one day, I wake up and I’m thinking, “What happened? Where did our friendship go wrong? Why did we end up where we are?” And then the next day, I wake up and I’ve seen an episode of how terrible she was [to me], or I remember something that happened and how it was such a shady friendship the minute she got the show, [which] makes me [think] “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad she’s off [the show].” But right now, at this exact moment … I don’t put a lot of emphasis on thinking about her. If she was there and she was a part of the show, great. If she’s not, great. I wish her well. In the first two episodes, you’re gonna see her and I get into it, and it’s gonna probably be the last time you’ll see us interact together.

Do you think your friendship can be salvaged?
I always hope that a friendship can be salvaged, just because I’m kind of a dreamer; I like to think the positive in everything. But at this point, I honestly don’t know. I think there’s been a lot of things that have occurred over the past year and a half, and I just saw a side of Peggy that – I mean, for her to be able to flip that quickly, like, the minute that she became a member of the show, to just switch and go become good friends with Tamra [Barney], and forget about me. I mean, it was like she was all about the limelight and not really thinking about a true friendship.

What else are we gonna see from you this season?
Well, I have a new job! It’s only once a week, the show, but I go to San Diego and I’m called the Celebrity Lifestyle Correspondent [on Fox 5 in San Diego] … I had just started that position, like, three or four weeks before [Real Housewives] even started filming. So, you see me very new, getting involved … It’s very exciting! And you see my new dress lines coming out, too.

Orange County is now the longest-running member of the Housewives franchise. How much longer do you think it will last?
I don’t know! It’s amazing, because we have 16 episodes this season, and Andy Cohen has pegged it as the best Orange County season yet. So, for that to be said, it’s almost like we have a new fire. Maybe we have a few more years. I think that all of the housewives and I go in every year thinking, “This is probably the last year,” because it’s been going so long. But if we can keep the fun and the drama new and the drama real, then who knows how long we can go?

Did your perception of  Real Housewives change amid the Russell Armstrong tragedy?
I mean, that is just something that you just – I mean, it took my breath away! I can’t picture something like that happening. I am sure the show played a little bit in it, just because your life is exemplified in front of millions [of viewers], and things can be said about you that aren’t necessarily true. Once it’s out there, people believe it whether it’s true or not … But I think, at the end of the day, you have to remember, it’s a show, you’re here to entertain people. Don’t take it too personally. I think that him and Taylor, obviously, had a lot going on, and I just wish it would have had a different ending, you know? You always think, “What if?” And for Taylor, it feels that way.

Tell us about the new Housewife, Heather. Did you all get along with her?
Well, I think that, at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done and the season plays out, I think we’re all gonna kind of get along with her. Her and Gretchen [Rossi] had a little bit of a tiff at the beginning. Then, Heather and I get into it a little bit in the middle, and then we have a big blow-up in episode 10-ish. So, once that was all said and done, I felt like Heather and I moved past it and pushed everything aside. I can’t really tell you what it’s about, but I break down in tears and have eyelashes falling off. It’s just a nightmare. It’s not going to be a pretty episode for me [Laughs] … I think Heather is a little buttoned up. Sometimes, she talks like she knows more about things than other people. But, at the end of the day, I think that she’s a really, really sweet person, and I really genuinely like her personality.

So, tell us a little bit more about the second line of Alexis Couture.
It is so crazy! Well, I have two lines. I have Alexis Couture, by myself, where I don’t have anyone else working on that with me, except for my production manager … I only have three dresses in that line, because I launched my first dress, the Black-Braid Maxi, last season, and it went like crazy. I sold more of that one dress than all of the dresses than Alexis by Tal Sheyn sold. That dress is still selling, and I’m gonna bring it out in another color … And then I partnered with Tal Sheyn for Alexis by Tal Sheyn, because she was designing one-of-a-kinds for me, and I had a vision for what I wanted to do. There’s only one of me, and I couldn’t do it! So, together with her, we came up with my first Alexis by Tal Sheyn line. That one did really, really well. Now, we’re launching my second one, and now my second one is doing better than my first one even did and it hasn’t even launched yet! We’re out there marketing it. It hasn’t launched on the show, but it is just crazy! It’s so exciting!

Is the goal to eventually open up your own store?
We just started looking for retail spaces to have a showroom. We are in boutiques now. We’re in one in Orange County, and we’ve almost solidified two or three in Los Angeles. And then we’re even looking at go overseas. Israel is very interested; Australia is very interested. We have a lot of customers from Europe. We’re just getting our feet into those markets and we’re gonna be in boutiques throughout the United States and throughout the world.

When you first joined ‘Real Housewives,’ you were the June Cleaver-type. Now, you’re a budding businesswoman. Have your two fashion lines given you a newfound sense of independence?
It’s such a dichotomy, because I still am the June Cleaver. If you see me at home, [you’ll see that] I do have a maid that comes once a week, or once every eight days. I do have an assistant who helps me. We have a sitter who comes and babysits. But for the most part, I’m still doing it all! I still make dinner five nights a week when I’m not traveling or working late in L.A. I still fold the laundry. I still get my kids up for breakfast and make breakfast before school, drop them off at school, pick them up at school and volunteer at school. So, I’m still very hands-on, and I’m not willing to give that up … I don’t want these years to pass me by and look back and go, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t get to volunteer at school. I wasn’t there for James’ football. I wasn’t there to take the girls to dance.” I’m still very traditional in my values, and I still believe that the way the family unit works best is to put God first, your husband second, or your spouse second, and then your children third. I just feel like everything falls into place under that.

Will we get to see Alexis Couture on this season of Real Housewives?
Yes! You guys actually get to see how I do the dresses from Alexis Couture. I have a little freelance pattern maker I use [who you’ll see]. I have a production manager, who you don’t see, but you get to see that she’s shipped me the dresses, just so I don’t have to come up to L.A. every single day … You guys see me try that on in my own home, in front of my kids, [where] I’m like, “Do you like it? Do you like it!?” You get to see kind of the birth of it; how the dress starts and how the dress ends. And then you do see the photo shoot with Alexis by Tal Sheyn. After last year’s photoshoot, I was like, “I will never do another photoshoot where I am the model!” But she talked me into it, and I did it!

What does your husband think of the line?
He loves it! He loves it. He’s proud of me. He thinks I’m doing really well.

How is your new home? I saw a tour of it on Bravo’s website.
Yeah, but they didn’t even do it to justice! It’s a huge, 7,000 square-foot oceanview home. It is spectacular. We love it. I don’t know what the whole tour thing was, but they left out all my favorite parts. We have an elevator, a movie theater. It’s beautiful!

Lastly, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
This is so funny, because we just made our plans. We have two good groups of friends that we’re going to go out with, but not on February 14. I’m actually going to get a peel done on my face [that day], because I haven’t had any maintenance done in, like, eight months. So, I’m gonna get a deep facial … We’re celebrating [Valentine’s Day] on February 25 with our friends. [Laughs] … That’s what a busy businesswoman-slash-mom does. When you have a week off, you take advantage of that moment! [Laughs]