Long Island native Cindy Barshop is set to join the...

Long Island native Cindy Barshop is set to join the cast of "The Real Housewives of New York City." Credit: Bravo

They call her "downtown," but what the women of "The Real Housewives of New York City" (which returns tonight at 10 on Bravo) really seem to mean about their newest cast member -- Long Island native Cindy Barshop -- is that she is different from them.

Barshop, 46, summers in the Hamptons, too. But the Wantagh native also manages to spend time up-Island. "I love Long Island. I go there all the time," says Barshop, a single mother of baby twins who lives in the West Village and owns the Completely Bare chain of hair removal spas. It's difficult to think of the others expressing such unpretentious affection for the suburbs, especially when a trek across the Brooklyn Bridge from the Upper East Side seems like a trip to the Far East for some on the show.

But most of all, Barshop says she has always prided herself on getting along with everyone, just like she did in her student days at Levittown's MacArthur High School. After taping this first season -- which included an attack by Ramona Singer on Barshop's brother at a Hamptons wedding -- she says she realized, "High school was easier."

Barshop talked a little more about her initiation into the new crew:

How mean were the other women to you?

They had their moments, but not all of them. I wouldn't say mean. I would say inappropriate.

Did you understand where everyone was coming from?

I definitely feel like I was out of my element. I felt like there are different types of people in this world. That's why people tend to migrate to people who are like themselves. Some of the girls I've learned great things from and greatly admire. And there are some who are a different type of person than I am.

Who are you different from?

You have to see.

Are you on speaking terms with everyone?

Will I speak to all the women? Yes. Do I want to talk to all of them? Not necessarily.

Are the women really like the way they appear on the show?

I do believe there's a lot of truth in what you see, yes.

Is Ramona still off your brother's party invite list in the Hamptons?

I don't know . . . I'm not in the Hamptons yet.

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