Now that Vanderpump Rules has been put on ice indefinitely, it's time for the network's most underrated show to step up to fill the gap of millennial antics. And just in time, Summer House will return for an exciting fifth season, featuring a timely twist on its premise and a laidback new roommate.
The format of Summer House is as follows: a group of (mostly) hardworking New York City millennials spend their weekdays grinding in the city, but as soon as summer hits, they escape to the Hamptons each weekend for 72 hours of pure debauchery and shenanigans. It's a good formula, but it wasn't exactly 2020-friendly, so Bravo decided to take a different approach. What would happen if the roommates spent six weeks of the summer quarantining together, mixing business and pleasure under the same roof during the pandemic? The answer, says new addition Ciara Miller, was chaos — and a lot of fun.
Ciara is the latest roomie to be welcomed to the Hamptons fold. The Atlanta native, who was only "semi-familiar" with the show before she agreed to movie into the house, made the move to reality television for a surprising reason. Not for the inevitable ad sponsorships that would come from her increased social media following, but simply because she needed a break. Before going onto Summer House, Ciara was working as a professional model and a full-time travel ICU nurse on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak. How could she possibly turn down a month of paid vacation?
"I honestly was down to just...not work and take a break," she told Refinery29 during a phone call. "I really just needed some time off, so that was the biggest, most intriguing aspect for me."
At the same time, Ciara was excited at the prospect of making new friends. However, given the complicated events that took place during last season of Summer House, her sudden appearance in the Hamptons house initially posed a bit of a problem for roommate Hannah Berner. Hannah was romantically involved with season four newbie Luke Gulbranson, but the trailer from the upcoming season hints that last summer's entanglement was old news because Ciara is the new object of Luke's affections. Or maybe a past fling. Whatever — it's complicated!
Trying to possibly see where things go with a guy while living under the same roof as his ex-not-quite-girlfriend...yikes. But Ciara told Refinery29 that she wasn't even fully aware of how deep the connection between the Summer House cast mates had been because Luke didn't exactly fill her in on the details.
"I wasn't very up to speed [on Hannah and Luke's relationship]," she admitted, laughingly. "You know how men love to give their version, but it's always very half-assed because they downplay everything? Yeah. I just knew that they'd had a fling, but it was very minimized, so I genuinely didn't know."
There was also a part of the Summer House newcomer that simply didn't want to know, she revealed. Getting the full rundown of the situation would definitely have influenced Ciara's thoughts on her future roommate, and she wanted to get off on the right foot with everyone in the house, including Luke's kinda-but-not-really ex. As a person who wasn't used to sharing her space — Ciara has lived alone for most of her adult life — she knew that she had to be intentional about entering the space with good energy and an open mind.
"It was good that I went in without knowing everything," said Ciara. "It allowed me to approach things from a clear head. Like, At the end of the day, I'm going to be living with these people for six weeks. I don't want any beef."
"You have different personalities, and people have their quirks, so it was all about getting used to that," she continued. "Balancing ten different really strong personalities — I think you can imagine how that went. But everyone in the house was also super genuine, which made it a lot easier for me."
Though the experience was more like a well-deserved vacation ("I almost wish I could say that I did something, but I literally just relaxed," she admitted sheepishly), Ciara is fully aware that her appearance as a full-time cast member on the show is a big deal. The series, like many others on Bravo, has naturally been criticized for its lack of diversity; she's Summer House's first ever Black roommate since its 2017 premiere, and only its second person of color after former cast member Jules Daoud. In 2021, hiring people of color really shouldn't be an accomplishment, but Ciara is nonetheless proud to stand among women like Garcelle Beauvais (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Crystal Kung Minkoff (also RHOBH), and Eboni K. Williams (Real Housewives of New York City). For her, it's meaningful because it shows the network's commitment to righting its wrongs and expanding its efforts at accurate representation.
"It's a mix of emotions," Ciara shared. "I'm really happy that Bravo is being more aware of what America actually is and is moving towards more representation. I want people to know that the fix can't just be for right now. We have to set the precedent going forward."
"This is an opportunity that can open the door for other people of color and give them an opportunity to tell their stories," she concluded. "I think it's great that I'm the first. I just hope — really hope — that I'm not the last."