Meet the New Real Housewives of New York
I am a true reality TV addict and so excited to see Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York return tonight with a highly anticipated new season and cast! Aviva Drescher, Carole Radziwill and Heather Thomson are the new Housewives on the scene. The smart, accomplished and sophisticated new ladies are sure to make an interesting addition to the show. Aviva is a stunning, well-educated New York City native, philanthropist, mother of four and an amputee (she lost her leg in a terrible accident as a child). Carole is a three-time Emmy award winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author as well as the widow of Jackie O.’s nephew. Heather is the founder of the successful shapewear company Yummie Tummie and has worked as a designer and stylist with Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and Sean “Diddy” Combs. I caught up with the reality TV newbies to get the inside scoop on them and what they do to stay perpetually camera ready. Read on RHONY lovers…you will be psyched to watch the premiere tonight on Bravo at 9 p.m. EST!
Melissa Meyers: How did the opportunity to become a new Real Housewife come up and why did you decide to do it?
Aviva Drescher: A childhood friend of mine in PR named Jake Spitz urged me to let Bravo interview me. Reluctantly, I did the interview and I was handed a contract. After one month of no sleep and thinking I could not do the show, I decided: “no risk, no reward.” I took the gamble that helping other amputees by using the TV platform would outweigh the consequences of becoming a caricature.
Carole Radziwill: I know Andy Cohen and we were having dinner last summer and he asked if I’d be interested in doing the show. My immediate response was “Umm…no.” I didn’t think he was serious until he sent me an email the following morning asking me to think about it. So I did. First, I looked at it as a job opportunity…an odd job made more interesting by the fact that I am a writer. I get that it’s a risk, but I’m not afraid to put myself in different situations and this was one very different situation. Sometimes you just have to say yes to what the universe is putting in front of you.
Heather Thomson: I was sitting at my desk and I got a call from a casting director saying they were kicking my name around and would I be interested in joining the cast of RHONY. My first instinct was wow, thanks so much for thinking of me, but I initially didn’t think it was the right choice for me or my family. However, as I learned more, and understood that they wanted to change the direction of the show, I auditioned and it started to peak my interest. When I really thought about it, being given this incredible opportunity on Bravo would allow me to bring real issues that working mothers face on a daily basis to the forefront. Raising my two children and being a wife to my amazing husband, starting and running my own fashion business Yummie Tummie, creating awareness for charities that are near and dear to me and doing it all, while trying my best to be glamorous and balanced is all I could ever hope to achieve.
MM: What was your favorite moment from the season?
AD: My three favorite moments of the season were charity related. One was an event that I created to benefit One Step Ahead (this charity helps pay for prosthetics for children who can’t afford them and creates sports opportunities for them). It was a spin class that we created into a fundraising event. The second was Heather Thomson’s charity event benefiting children who need liver transplants. There is one special experience at that event that I NEVER thought I could/would do! Tune in to find out what it is! My third favorite experience was giving a surprise gift to Jake, a very special boy who was born missing two limbs above the knee. Tune in to see our special time together.
CR: My favorite moment was the finale party. It was at Norwood, a private arts club on 14th Street. We were there to celebrate the completion of my new book, The Widows Guide to Sex & Dating. Yay!!
HT: There is a particular episode that focuses on an event that I am personally involved in which helps to raise awareness and money for my charity, The Kellner Liver Pediatric Foundation, a charity that is extremely personal and dear to me. I think that it s by far the most special moment for me this season because it the very reason that I wanted to go on the RHONY journey from the beginning.
MM: Give us a hint as to what juicy drama we are in store for this season. What is the nature of your relationship now with the new housewives? The other originals?
AD: I knew Luann for several years before I joined RHONY. I had met Sonja once through my ex-husband since they are friends. There are rich new storylines to look forward to. Lots of gossip and drama! It wouldn’t be RHONY without it! It was NOT “old girls” versus “new girls.” Some people organically got along and some did not. The one hint I can give you (I don’t want to spoil any surprises!) is that lots of relationships CHANGE throughout the season as we all get to know one another with time and travel.
CR: We bonded in the way people do who go through an intense experience together. Like Sisters-in-Arms. [The originals are] more like moms you love but are sometimes embarrassed by.
HT: You will have to tune in and watch the show to see the details, but I can tell you that there is a lot of drama this season. What viewers don’t expect are some of the close bonds of friendship that are developed out of the drama both with new and returning cast members.