Viva Aviva!

You know her as the tall blonde who looks amazing in a bikini and puts Ramona Singer in her place, but there is more to Aviva Drescher’s Real Housewives story than cafe lunches and cat fights. On a mission to help others with disabilities Aviva took to the airwaves to inspire, and that she does. In this interview she addresses her mission, her father, oh, and that argument in St. Barth’s.

 TBB: How did you end up on The Real Housewives of New York City?

AD: I ended up on Real Housewives because two years ago a mutal friend of mine and Bethenny (Frankel)’s, Jake Spitz, begged me to have Bravo come and interview me. I said, “Absolutely not! I would NEVER do that show with those ladies.” I was 9 months pregnant at the time, and Bravo did interview me and they didn’t choose me, thank God, they chose Cindy Barshop. I was about to give birth and I would never do a show with a newborn in tow. A year passed and I always wondered, “What if?” Then, by coincidence they called me again in August of 2011 and handed me a contract because Bethenny insisted that Andy (Cohen) watch my tape. It was one of most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. After weighing out the possibilities with (my husband) Reid I felt the positives outweighed the negatives. I knew I’d be able to weather the storm and ultimately help other amputees on a much larger scale than I was
.

TBB:In the show’s intro you mention you are New York City born and bred. What was it like growing up in Manhattan?


AD: Growing up in Manhattan was one of the most phenomenal experiences, in my opinion, that anyone can have, despite the lack of a backyard. At a very young age you get exposure to different races, cultures, religions. This a melting pot and you really get to see the whole world microcosm into one city. As a youngster you are able to hop on a bus without depending on your parents and go to museums, exhibits, movies, etc. I believe that New York City’s culture can keep kids out of trouble because there is so much to do. On the flipside there are lots of affluent people and money can lead to spoiled behavior, access to drugs, and excess. Overall, though, it really was phenomenal.

TBB: Your father, George, is the controversial breakout star this season. Did you have any reservations about bringing him on the show?

AD: Yes…(laughs) yes! I think that my father is wildly inappropriate but very funny and it seems he elicited very strong reactions, both positive and negative from people, which makes for great TV. I was completely embarrassed but I was mortified with or without the cameras anyway. But he is my father and he and my mother were wonderful parents, he still is a wonderful parent. Just please don’t hold me accountable for his behavior. Unless you find him funny. Then I will take the credit!

TBB: How is he enjoying all the extra attention?

AD: I think that he likes it, especially from the ladies.

TBB: I cringe everytime the other women make references to your ex-husband Harry Dubin. Did that bother you at all while filming?

AD: It did not bother me at all while filming until the end. Towards the end I felt like it got annoying. Afterall he is my ex and people are our exes for a reason. After a hundred times hearing about my ex it got annoying. He is the father of my son, so let’s leave it at that.

TBB: Which castmate are you closest friends with and had you met prior to the show?

AD: I was closest with Carole (Radziwell) while filming. Since filming I am closest with Carole and Heather (Thomson). We were in a unique position being thrown into a very new and strange situation at the same time, but I did not know them before. I knew Luann(De Lesseps)  before the show.

TBB: You have four children, they must be aware of the show. As a parent how do you balance their desire to watch while censoring what is not appropriate for them to see?

AD: Before I signed the contracts I asked my older children and they were very excited about it. I was very clear that we may get made fun of. Harrison didn’t care at all, even after I explained why some of his friends and their mothers might say things, he looked me straight in the eye and said “screw them”. As far as watching TV they only watch what we want them to watch and they have no desire to watch the Housewives anyway. Really, they are not interested at all. Even when we want them to watch a clip that they are in, they would rather run back to whatever they were already doing.
I do always think about what they will think when they get older and Google the show. I think of any of the mistakes I’ve made on the show that one day I will have to explain like when I name called. Here I am telling them never to use names, and the punishment is severe, and I go and call someone “white trash”. I will have to one day explain that I slipped. With that said we all make mistakes and in my house I emphasize that. Everyone makes mistakes…(laughs) except for Ramona, she is perfect.

 TBB: Would you like to say anything here about that event in St. Barth’s?

 AD: This was not my finest moment. My feelings were very hurt and I was very upset. I got caught in the heat of the moment and something just slipped out of my mouth. I really have a much richer vocabulary than that. I hope that those very real feelings of hurt that I had will not be blunted by my poor choice of words. No one should get pushed to name calling.
 
TBB: How has the exposure on RHONY helped you further your efforts with your foundation One Step Ahead?

 AD: Well this is the crux of my entire decision to do the show. I have always wanted to do something and reach out to people. Since my twenties I had reached out to amputees one on one. In 2007 I joined with Amy Palmero Winters who started One Step Ahead. I started to meet with more children who needed a support system. I felt I needed a larger audience. So I thought about writing a book. Then I thought- who wants to read my book? Unless you are Heather Mills and marry Paul McCartney or an actor no one really notices. People don’t pay much attention to regular people. I saw I could reach a lot of people with my story and be an inspiration to not just amputees but all people with disabilities. This show has been incredible to that end. Through my website, Twitter, and Facebook I’ve been speaking to so many people. I’m reaching people personally four times as much as I was before. All the people that I’m reaching through the platform of television makes the headache of doing the show really worth it. I read emails everyday with tears in my eyes. One beautiful 17 year old girl lost her leg in a boating accident a couple of months ago. I text her several times a week. The other day she had a problem and together we fixed it! It’s tremendous and that’s why I did the show. It has made living a life as a well adjusted amputee not in vain.

 TBB:What has been the biggest adjustment to being on reality TV?

AD: Umm (pauses)let me think about that… The biggest adjustment is probably the workload, it is incredible. It’s not just the filming, it’s the social media, press, and responding to everyone which I feel very obligated to do. The other thing is that now when I meet new people I feel like I need to legitimize myself. Initially I felt like being on this show was a step down and so I feel like I need to prove myself. People I knew before are supportive but some people I meet today are skeptical because of the company I keep. I have to go the extra mile to prove that I’m a normal person or at least normal with a lot of faults (laughs).

 TBB: I’ve read you have a law degree and you are related, through marriage, to the actress Fran Drescher. What other interesting things would you like us to know about you?

AD: Let’s see…ummm I guess in terms of the Fran Drescher name thing, I grew up with my father being the accountant for the Beatles, Woody Allen, Stevie Wonder…a lot of heavy hitters. At a very young age I was taught not to be in awe of people who are in the spotlight. I was made very well aware that everyone’s poop stinks. You know who taught me that one! 
Also I’m very into health. I take vitamins and supplements,I believe in exercising, no food coloring, no pesticides. I feel there is a cancer epidemic in our country. I’m on the board of Cancer Schmancer, Fran’s very important charity. I think we need to focus more on prevention and catching it early. I believe that putting less junk in your body is one way to decrease your chances.
 One thing that people don’t know about me is that I can stand on one leg in the shower and get the job done probably faster than someone with two legs. (laughs)

Watch Aviva Drescher and the rest of the Real Housewives of New York cast on Monday nights 9/8CST on Bravo Network.

-Follow Aviva Drescher on Twitter @AvivaDrescher and Facebook
-Visit Aviva’s website http://avivadrescher.com/
-To learn more about the One Step Ahead Foundation visit onestepaheadfoundation.org
-To learn more about Cancer Schmancer visit www.cancerschmancer.org

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13 thoughts on “Viva Aviva!

  1. In case it has been unclear from my Twitter rants, I just love Aviva Drescher. I think she puts the "Real" in Real Housewives. I love that from her outward appearance, you would never guess that this beauty, who always looks like a million bucks, has hurdles, just like the rest of the human race (imagine that!) I love that she's charitable and especially cares about children. She's a working mom with a lot going on but still takes the time to respond to the scores of RH fans. Aside from being an amputee, she also struggles with panic/anxiety which is something I can personally relate to..and is perhaps why I got a little defensive when people called her "crazy" during the live tweet last night. She seems to understand people and that everyone has that one relative (hence, her father) who has issues (be it addiction, an initially off-putting personality, etc.) Embarrassing? Yes but EVERYONE has issues. Aviva seems to embrace that and still puts herself out there with a "yeah, so what?" attitude which makes her seem very authentic. I'm a huge fan! Good job, TBB. Couldn't have chosen a better HW to interview. Viva, Aviva! tweet: @its_mrsE

  2. Aviva seems VERY high strung and she is amazingly tolerant of her Pops behavior, as she should be. It seems a bit off putting, though, that she dumps all her anxiety ridden nerves all over the Ladies who, while more lusty and fun loving than she is, are certainly less so than her Pops. But aside from that, the quality that I see that's even more off putting is her unwillingness to let things go. All these months later and she is still ranting on Twitter and holding onto her grudge. I wonder, in light of viewing Luann's instigating hand in the whole matter and observing her own erratic behavior, why she doesn't forgive and move on, maybe even seek the forgiveness of the ladies she offended that she seems unable to accept. It would have made good TV and be a step in the right direction. It would still uplift the pits of Twitterdom where the basest behavior, too often, resides. I wish Aviva peace…and to grow up a bit. -disgrazia4

  3. I think Aviva was just suffering from her anxiety about getting on the plane. The name calling wasn't nice but don't we all say and do things when we are upset that we don't mean? Everyone needs to move on from it. I give all these women credit because it can't be easy having your life on display for the world to see & judge. I always wonder how much of the scene we did not see? Let's face it people, without the drama we wouldn't watch it. Hat's off to the TBB again for a job well done!

  4. I totally agree with Lori Ann. Who among us doesn't have dozens of cringe-worthy moments in our past? I try to think of the mindset Aviva was in when she walked into that crazy scene. She was probably exhausted from being so tense…and then to have Ramona come swooping down on you screetching like a taradactyl (sp), pushing all of your buttons…I thought the fact that she used words that didn't have to be bleeped was admirable. Ramona always projects—gets all worked up about how awful something is going to be, then when it isn't she feels compelled to vomit up whatever garbage she'd had all ready to go, despite the fact that it was no longer warranted. I also think this is the first time in history a Housewife has come onto the show with a purely altruistic adgenda, and that is incredibly refreshing. Great Job BB! @bdonahueweedman (PS) I don't belong to any of the choices to sign in, but I am leaving my Twitter name)

  5. Aviva acted like a spoiled brat in the last two episodes. Looking back with this new set of eyes it is so much more clear that she really has acted that way since the beginning. Incredibly self-absorbed. Reid didn't belong there and she expected red carpets, parties, banners, and bowing to her husband. Give me a break. Everyone has phobias, anxieties, and insecurities but your own self-praise is the only praise one should ever expect for overcoming them. Ridiculous behavior from a self proclaimed classy New Yorker raised to be tolerant. Doubtful I will watch RHONY if she comes back next season, she just makes me ill. The other two new ladies I absolutely love but I would take back Jill Zarin or Alex McCord in a heartbeat. Crazy Kelly didn't last long….Aviva should follow that path.

  6. she had plenty of time to calm down. her behavior was inexcusable….if you watch the scene, she herself works herself into a frenzy.she wasnt frazzled at the beginning of the scene

  7. If I could count the times you use the word "pissed" (very juvenile) I would say that you actually don't have a very extensive vocabulary….Also, not cool that your son has apparently taken lexicon lessons from you. "Srew them" is not acceptable for children.Trust me….your father is anything but funny….nor are you.. I haven't seen you display anything remotely like humor.

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