Let’s be honest, there is constantly some new season of some rendition of Real Housewives returning to Bravo at any given time. As a New Yorker myself, I am most drawn to the New York version. Something about the cattiness and drama mixed with the fancy restaurants, gorgeous apartment interiors, stunning Hamptons homes, and tons of scenes filmed in and around NYC hot spots just really draws me in. As with all versions of the successful franchise, the cast changes regularly. Fans of the New York version have said goodbye to Fabric Queen Jill Zarin and her best frenemy, Bethenny Frankel, who got her own Bravo spin-off and a FOX talk show (recently cancelled). Does anyone remember Cindy Barshop, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-her waxing empire owner who was only on for Season 4, most likely because the entire season it seemed like she would rather be doing anything else?
Season 6 of the Real Housewives of New York brings back mostly all familiar faces. Flirty and flippant Sonya Morgan, her partner in high-functioning alcoholism, Ramona Singer, the (ex) Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, and the ones I think of as “the Normals” – shapewear designer Heather Thompson and cool girl Carole Radziwell, the best-selling author and Emmy-winning journalist. But fans will get to meet one new cast member, opening up a new world of opportunities for her to get mixed up in all the outlandish stuff these ladies get into.
Kristen Taekman is described on Bravo’s website as a “model and businesswoman.” The mother of two was brought into the Housewives fold thanks to her long friendship with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville, who introduced the blonde beauty to Andy Cohen, Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development and Talent and star of the channel’s night time talk show. Taekman has appeared in Australian Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour as well as national campaigns for beauty brands such as L’Oréal and Clairol. In addition to her work as a model, the Tribeca resident launched her own successful greeting card company called 2nd Street Press in 2009.
Her game plan going into her first season? “I have nothing to hide,” said Taekman in an interview with Bravo.com. “I feel like if I’m hiding stuff, you’re hiding insane stuff, and I’m not.”
Prior to joining Real Housewives of New York, Taekman admitted to being an inconsistent viewer of the series. “I mean, I watched, but not, like, every episode,” she says. “I have two small kids and I don’t really get to watch much TV. And I think that’s a good thing! I wanted to come in fresh.”
Not everyone would agree to be on a show that is known for filming intense dramatics between friends and fake friends alike, but Glanville convinced Taekman to stay true to her real self. “She kind of was just like, ‘Go for it, be yourself’ type of thing, and I have,” ‘Taekman states.
So other than being best friends with Glanville and running in the same social circles as Radziwell (“We have a ton of mutual friends”), how does Taekman adapt in to the notoriously difficult group? Things apparently start off a bit chilly with Singer, the most volatile of the group. “Once she got to know me a little bit, it got easier,” Taekman says. “But you obviously see that she’s hesitant, like, ‘Who the hell is this new girl?'”
Taekman also discussed her experiences with conflict between herself and the other RHONY cast members in an interview with E! Online. “Ramona and I definitely have our ups and downs, and Heather and I kind of get into it a little bit too, and then there’s a couple other things that go on in there, so yeah, it’s really interesting,” Kristen teased of her tiffs this season. “I mean, Ramona and Heather are the two big ones, but then there’s some other little conflicts going on there too.”
May the lady holding the least amount of Pinot Grigio win.