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Naomie Olindo made her triumphant return to Southern Charm on Thursday's season 8 premiere — and she's hoping a few of her other former cast mates will come back to the hit Bravo series in the future.
Chatting with PEOPLE earlier this week, the reality star revealed she'd love to see pals Cameran Eubanks and Chelsea Meissner back on the show — but doubts either would ever step foot in front of Bravo cameras again.
"I really missed both of them this year, and wish they'd film again, but they're just so passed the point where they would ever want to come back," says Olindo, 29.
"Cameran's got a family and Chelsea's doing so many other things, I just don't think it's in the cards for them," Olindo adds. "I love them so much and still see them all the time; we definitely stay in touch. You just won't see that on TV. It stinks cause they're the best. They're both so levelheaded and normal! I needed hem!"
All three women left the show at the same time, exiting back in 2020 before Southern Charm's seventh season. At the time there were rumors they quit after hearing that costar Kathryn Dennis brought up rumors Eubanks' husband had been unfaithful, though all denied that.
"My decision was made and given to Bravo months ago and had absolutely nothing to do with ridiculous and fake rumors about my marriage," Eubanks wrote on Instagram. "Please disregard any fabricated rumor. It's a ploy for ratings and that's it."
"I am so damn proud of you and us, Chelsea," Olindo responded, Meissner reposting the note to her Instagram Stories.
Meissner, 37, also had experience on reality TV, having competed on the 24th season of Survivor back in 2011. She first appeared on Southern Charm in season 3, which aired in 2016, as a guest before moving to a recurring cast member in its fourth season and a full-time cast member in seasons 5 and 6.
So what inspired Olindo to return? It started when she split with her now ex-boyfriend Metul Shah after three years of dating.
The former pair had met in Charleston but moved to New York City together last summer, just 10 days before Olindo discovered via social media that Shah had been cheating on her.
Once they broke up, Olindo returned to South Carolina. "I was sort of in a different place," Olinda says. "I was like, 'I'm back in town. I don't know what to do. And I'm not sure where to go from here.'"
As it happens, Olindo was still in touch with her former cast mates, including ex-boyfriend Craig Conover — and their brief, no-strings romantic rekindling before season 8 began filming was the source of quite a bit of chatter in this week's premiere.
Olindo also has history with some of the new stars of the show, including Venita Aspen, 28, and Leva Bonaparte, 43.
"Venita and I went to high school together, she was a year below me, so we've known one another for 15 years," Olindo says. "And Leva, I actually almost laughed a business together with her! We met her through Craig years and years ago and we quickly realized, 'Okay, we're not going to work together but we're going to be best friends!' I've really loved her since. She's been such a supportive friend for such a long time."
When the option to return was was finally offered to her (after some begging), Olindo jumped in, picking up right where she left off — in a fight with Dennis. "I actually was not even aware that she was still upset, or that it was still relevant, because it's been so long," Olindo says. "But it's sort of like hitting pause on something and then coming back months and months and months later. Nothing was really changed. It was like frozen in time, really."
And though being back has had its downsides — like having to relive the humiliation of her breakup on live television — Olindo says she's glad the did it.
"I hope people watching will see, you can sort of start over in life," she says. "And it may be embarrassing sometimes and not flattering and you may have to relearn some stuff, but in the end, you can take your life in a different direction."
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Southern Charm airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.