Painting the Town RHONY

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Last week was the long awaited return of  the Real Housewives of New York City and the ladies were super excited! As newbie Kristen Taekman pointed out this premier was a long time coming. Taekman was the host of one of two parties for the cast. The event was held at the Bleecker Street Arts Club in New York’s SOHO, my personal favorite section.

The multilevel space was the perfect fit for the quirky blonde beauty who, as she stated in episode one, is not much for the sometimes stuffy Upper East Side. Complete with Elvis Presley coiffed bartenders and a screening area on the upper floor, the mood was light and social. It was the perfect coming out party for the newest cast member who has made a great impression on fans, especially by filling the venue with some of the Twittersphere‘s most enthusiastic bloggers and Bravoholics.

I asked Taekman how her first official night in the limelight felt. “It’s all surreal”, she gushed. “It’s been a year in the making, this whole thing started a year ago so I just feel like  it’s overwhelming. I keep thinking this is just a fun Elvis party and all my friends are here and I keep forgetting that the show is going to come on in like 20 minutes.” 

When asked what the biggest surprise of her whole Reality TV experience was she said, “The biggest surprise is the girls I met. I really formed some great friendships. I didn’t go to college and I would imagine that this is sort of what a sorority would be like. Love or hate…I formed this bond with these women and even if I was enemies with somebody that’s standing over there we still have this bond.” I guess we have to keep watching to see who she may be referring to.

Even if Taekman has any enemies among the cast it wasn’t apparent that night as the girls all showed up in support, except Sonja Morgan, but we will get to that later. Even Ramona Singer was out, sans wedding ring but with her steady date of Pinot Grigio. I sat next to Singer during the screening, who was also with a mystery man, but my guess is he was a friend…a friend that made sure her glass remained full. Singer seemed a little stressed when the night began, some even felt she wasn’t happy to be there, but eventually even I got a smile and a wink from her. Despite all the scenes of her and ex hubby Mario, she kept from becoming Ramotional. I told both Taekman and Heather Thomson how I felt a little uncomfortable watching some of the show with Ramona, to which Thomson replied, “Ramona is all good. She’s absolutely fine.”

Thomson was there with husband Jonathan Schindler who I caught having a laugh with Countess LuAnn De Lesseps. When asked how her first season as a part timer went De Lesseps joked,”When I heard the lines for the new season I was like ‘THANK GOD!’,” referring to the tag lines at the beginning of the show. “You know it’s fine I’ve enjoyed this season so much. I really had a great time so this actually works out perfectly for me. We made a deal, Bravo and I, and I’m very happy with it. “

Keeping a comfortable distance from one another were Carole Radziwill and Aviva Drescher who was there with husband Reid. They were all smiles posing for group photos, but I didn’t spot any warm fuzzies between the two beyond that. Drescher and De Lesseps actually both left before the screening.

Back to Ms. Morgan, who was in Austin for the SXSW edition of Watch What Happens Live, but made it back in time to have her own post premier party at the swank Tokya Lounge on the East side of Midtown. Everything that Taekman’s party was this one wasn’t. Where the Bleecker St. affair had a feeling of the more the merrier, Morgan’s party was exclusive, and she wanted it that way.

I’m so glad you could make it,” Morgan said to me from a booth she was sharing with her closest friends. “It was so much to put this together with the press room and the no plus ones.” Even without plus ones, Morgan and Singer, who co hosted the event, had quite a turn out, an estimated 250 people that included designer Malan Breton, gossip hound Rob Shuter, Long Island Princess Ashlee White, Flipping Out star Jenni Pulos, and Real Housewives of Miami’s Lea Black.

“I came to do the Bethenny show tomorrow and I was  in town so Sonja asked me to come so I came by!”  said Black, who tries to watch most of the NYC franchise. She has been quite busy since her own series has been on a break. “I work full time, I’ve got a skincare company, I’ve got a handbag company, a charity, and a 12 year old, and a husband so things haven’t slowed down for me,”she said. She also says that the rest of the Miami cast is doing well. By the way she had one of her handbags with her and it was stunning! 

There was no George appearances at either party, but infamous Housewife ex husband and ex boyfriend Harry Dubin attended both. “I don’t really watch the show,” Dubin who I spotted at two filmed events last summer stated, “but I’m REALLY in it a lot next week.” He then asked me if I’ve read ex wife Aviva’s book Leggy Blonde yet and advised me not to. I’m sure this has to do with what Aviva told us last month…and it only makes me want to read it more.

Parties and Bravoleb sightings aside this was about the premier of season 6 and both Taekman and Thomson have been anxiously awaiting my thoughts on the first episode. In a nut shell, I think it’s the start of a great season and Taekman brings a lot to the show, but, and please don’t hold this against me, no more forced Aviva and Ramona scenes…pleeeeease. Did I just lose my next invite? Hey this blonde can’t help but be honest! Ya habibi!

For more on the RHONY premier check out this video from John Basedow for Examiner.com!

http://www.examiner.com/article/heather-thomson-likes-aviva-drescher-the-least-aviva-hates-carole-radziwill?cid=rss

What do you think of RHONY Season 6 so far? Share your thoughts here, your email will never be shared or sold!

Aviva Drescher’s Second Act

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Catching up with Aviva in New Jersey.

A lively crowd has gathered, braving the frigid Northeast temperatures on a Thursday night in Northern New Jersey. The group, gathered at Books and Greetings in Northvale, awaits the arrival of Real Housewives of New York City star Aviva Drescher. Clutching copies of her new memoir Leggy Blonde, they anxiously watch the arrival of each SUV wondering if it contains the statuesque beauty with the very famous last name. Finally somebody spots her entourage which, in addition to her handlers, includes ever present husband Reid. “She’s here,” one fan chirps. Her publicist peeks in and then runs back out, and when he returns Aviva is entering the shop. She’s a whirlwind of apologies, although she is barely tardy, as she removes her coat and reveals a very lithe figure in head to toe black; leather leggings and a sleeveless lace shell.

Almost immediately Drescher captivates the room, but not in the I’m a star, worship me way you would expect from a member of what could arguably be the most popular series of Reality Television shows in the world. Drescher’s way of captivating her live audience is humbler than that. She uses her warm smile and quizzical eyes to connect with each fan on a level of friendship. She is unassuming, welcoming, interested in what is happening around her, regardless of what a final edited episode of RHONY may lead you to think. It’s this quality of her character that quickly remedies any star struck nervousness in the room. When she invites questions, they start rolling in.

Eager to answer, yet not raise any red flags, any Bravoleb will tell you that the network is very strict about spoilers, she does her best to answer each question as thoroughly as she can. Being she’s only seen the first two episodes this is fairly easy for her. The final cut of Season 6, Drescher’s second on the franchise, remains as much a mystery to her as it is to the show’s many fans, but one thing is sure from the get go:

“It really changed from last season and you will see that right off the bat,” she says when asked which cast mates she’s closest with. “Right now I’m pretty close with Lu Ann( De Lesseps), Ramona (Singer), and Sonja (Morgan) and I’m not close with Heather (Thomson) and Carole (Radziwill) and the new cast mate Kristen (Taekman).”

For fans that follow the women on Twitter the last part comes as no surprise. A feud between Drescher and Radziwill has been quite apparent in recent weeks since the first video promo hinting at a tiff aired. “Out of the gates I felt pretty pounced upon and I felt like she was really really un supportive at best and very condescending,” Drescher says regarding the incident with Radziwill, a longtime journalist and author of What Remains and The Widow’s Guide To Dating.

When asked if the animosity stemmed from the fact that Radziwill is an experienced author in a world where anybody who has a name can suddenly write a book, Drescher said “I don’t have my head around yet what caused it. I’m not at all a jealous kind of person, the race for me is against myself. I just am so disappointed in both of us that that’s what aired and that’s what happened. This should have been a relationship of two women celebrating two books being written. You know her second, my first, she’s a writer, I’m not, whatever it is and I’m just sad about it.”

On what we can expect from new Housewife Taekman, Drescher says, “She’s a bit of a follower so she’s kind of latched onto Carole and Heather and I can only tell you when I was six years old and I followed somebody I lost my leg because of it….However…She’s stunning and she’s lovely and she throws a good punch.”

Drescher is not all about throwing shade. Last season she was at odds with Ramona, but the two have made great strides since then. “Ramona is doing amazingly well. I’ve never met anybody with so much strength and a fervor for life ….To go through something like she’s going through now and to just be so incredibly strong and having such a good head on her shoulders it’s amazing…just amazing,” she says referring to the highly publicized breakup of Singer’s longtime marriage to Mario.

Of course Drescher cannot get involved too much in anybody else’s drama. With a new book, four children, and her notoriously outlandish father George, she certainly has enough of her own personal chaos. “After the season I’m leaving for Bali because (my father) is on it and he is worse than ever! He’s absolutely crazy this season, he makes last season look like nothing. He is just so raw and raunchy. Andy Cohen said he had to tone down the show this year, (I’m pretty sure it’s because of my father). I take such a hit for his behavior, which I don’t understand, it’s not like I raised him, but it makes for great TV.”

So why do a show that makes you feel like you want to run and hide? For Drescher it’s simple; “For every nasty comment there’s twenty people calling me and writing me saying; ‘I was in the hospital and I just had my leg amputated and I saw you in a bathing suit and I was able to go on’.”

This has always been Drescher’s motivation for Reality Television. When I first spoke with her over a year ago she was just preparing to write her book, which recounts the accident that took her leg at the tender age of six. Knowing all too well that without a recognizable name writing such a book would be a challenge, she turned to the Housewives to build that recognition, after being introduced to Cohen’s radar by RHONY alum Bethenny Frankel, whom she impressed after meeting in the Hamptons. “That’s what keeps me on the show because it’s such a headache. I know it’s fun to watch because I watch the other shows too, but we take a beating.

When asked how she found the writing process and reopening all those old wounds she says, “It was very heavy and I remember going to Reid; ‘I can’t believe what I lived through.’ My mortality was challenged at such a young age. Most people grow up and in their twenties they’re driving over the speed limit, smoking pot, and having a good time and I never had that luxury. I was always nervous that something was going to happen and if it was going to happen it was going to happen to me.”

Of course writing a memoir is always a risk. There’s the risk of sounding self possessed, being a bore, and of course pissing off some of your nearest and dearest, but Drescher found more support than she imagined. “My father is an avid reader who reads a book or two a day. The first thing he said to me was, ‘It’s a really great book, it’s really quick and you don’t bore your reader.’ So I was really happy, and then about a month later he says; ‘You know you really kicked my ass in this book!’. Harry (Dubin), my ex husband, who I’m with everyday, we’re all great friends, I don’t think he’s ready yet. There was an article in the New York Post which had an excerpt of what I said about Harry and our marriage. He was actually in my house when I was on the phone trying to stop the article and he just said he felt so bad for me, he’s such a compassionate person.”

Drescher has the added responsibility of her very famous married name. Her husband’s first cousin is none other than Fran Drescher who rose to stardom as the well loved title character on the nineties sitcom The Nanny. When asked about her famous cousin, a cancer survivor who is now heavily involved in her charity Cancer Schmancer, she replies “Fran is doing great. She feels great and looks gorgeous. I would think for somebody like Fran who is an iconic actress that somewhere in her subconscious she’s wouldn’t be happy that her first cousin’s wife was doing this ridiculous show. But she has been so selflessly supportive. She filmed with us but it didn’t air. Probably because nobody fought.”

It’s clear to see that regardless of who she is feuding or friending Drescher is much more solid on her feet as a second seasoner. Last year she struggled with all the ups and downs of putting her life on the small screen, but for her the payoff of inspiring other amputees is worth it. Of course she can’t get through a Q & A without being compared to that other Leggy Blonde.

“I’ve never met Heather Mills but I tried on her prosthesis in 1999. It was right before I married (Harry) and the only person who made a cosmetic prosthesis was in London so my parents were kind enough to take me. I saw this leg and it was Heather Mills’s leg so I tried it on to see and for the first time in my life I was able to look down and see what it would look like to have two real legs. It was so exciting for me.”

So does this mean we will also see Aviva Drescher on Dancing With The Stars? She turns to Reid, “Do you think I could do it Reid?” He nods and reassures her. “Physically I could do it… yeah I would do it, I love to dance.”

**For more on Aviva check out Notes On A Housewife .