I've never made it through an entire episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
I'm peripherally aware of who hates whom, and I know when someone gets divorced, but I don't follow the drama closely enough to care one way or the other about any of the characters—with the exception of Yolanda Hadid.
Yolanda (who is no longer a RHOBH cast member, I know this much) is a girl I'll go to bat for. She is a woman of integrity, a loving mother and a fiercely loyal friend. I know all of this to be true not from Bravo binges, but from Yolanda's best friend herself: Eleanor O'Connell Decret.
Ellie, as she often goes by, writes a delightfully witty blog called Have Some Decorum. It's here that she shares her honest (and hilarious) musings on interior design, fine art, food, family, friendships and everything in between. The Vintage Contessa first clued me on to Have Some Decorum, and almost immediately, I was hooked. Through Ellie's blog, I gained a new appreciation for gilt mirrors and learned to identify good vs. bad blue and white. I didn't initially realize Have Some Decorum had a Real Housewives connection, but funnily enough, it was through this blog that I came to know and admire Yolanda.
Before I go any further, I should tell you something about Ellie: She has ALS, a progressive neurological disease sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. The 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $100,000 million worth of donations, much of which went toward research. The cure for ALS, however, has not yet been found, and while Ellie is optimistic and living as healthfully as humanly possible, she is very open about the harsh reality of her diagnosis.
But Ellie is fighting the good fight. Her daughter Gracie, who grew up with Bella and Gigi Hadid, is in college now, and Ellie is determined to see her through to graduation and beyond. If you've ever read Ellie's blog, you can tell pretty quickly that this girl is her world. She loves her in a protective, all-encompassing way like only a mother can, and when the day comes she can no longer be here on earth with Gracie, she's entrusted Yolanda to step in.
In a 2014 blog post, Ellie addressed this head-on. "Who will take care of Gracie like their own child?" she wrote. "Who will nurture Gracie? Who will guide Gracie? Who will steer Gracie straight if she gets out of line? Who will make sure that Gracie will have a successful life and make the right choices? Who will hug her? Who will be the shoulder that Gracie cries on? Who will continue to raise Gracie with ethics and morals? Who will tell Gracie how much I loved her? Who will tell Gracie how wonderful her mother was? Who will replace me? That person is Yogi."
Yogi, which is Ellie's nickname for her longtime friend, "did not hesitate and said that she of would of course take care of my Gracie as her own," she wrote. "I believe her."
Yolanda is the best friend you can truly count on, "like the big sister," Ellie once wrote. "She's more mature, you want all of her clothes, she makes better decisions, you don't always agree with her, she's there for every holiday, she will defend your honor, she knows what's best for you and in a crisis… She is there. Just like a sister."
Ellie's blogged and Instagrammed her love for Yolanda (and vice versa) countless times over the past few years. They've stood by each others through the highs and the lows—including Ellie's ALS and Yolanda's chronic neurological Lyme's disease.
I won't delve into what anyone else has said regarding Yolanda's illness, but I will point out that Ellie has been her staunchest supporter against the critics. Last year, Ellie wrote a scathing blog post directed at Lisa Rinna detailing how very real and debilitating Yolanda's disease has been.
Ellie's given some real insight into her friendship with Yolanda through her blog and recently her book, And So It Is. But nothing sums up the amount of love and respect Ellie has for Yolanda quite like this line from her blog. "So you see," she wrote, "even though I have ALS, I am lucky because I have Yogi."
And that, you see, is why I will always be in Yolanda's corner.