After 13 seasons of The Real Housewives of New York, Bravo decided to reboot the cast for Season 14. Among the brand new cast members, fashion publicist Jessel Taank has arguably become a breakout star. Jessel isn’t afraid to say what she thinks, and her honest opinions sometimes get her into hot water.
Early on, Jessel loudly complained that a gift from Jenna Lyons made her look like a “Christmas tree.” She called her husband Pavit “cheap” for not wanting to send their two-year-old twins to an exclusive $60,000-a-year preschool. Meeting Erin Lichy at a Tribeca coffee shop, she described one of Manhattan’s most expensive zip codes as “up-and-coming.”
Sometimes bordering on TMI, Jessel has been very open about her personal life. She shared about her fertility journey and going through IVF, which is taboo in her Indian culture. Jessel hadn’t even told her mother she’d gone through IVF until she told her on-camera. Fortunately, her mom was supportive. She even shared that she and Pavit hadn’t been intimate for 18 months following the birth of their twins.
Not everyone was as open and honest about their life as Jessel, however. Though she relished digging into others’ personal issues, Erin was very defensive of her own life, especially when it came to her husband Abraham. It was okay to make “mean girl” insinuations about Jessel’s private life, but Erin’s marriage was hypocritically off-limits. This was something of a double standard while Jessel faced constant scrutiny.
Erin and Sai were relentless
Jessel’s admission that she and Pavit hadn’t been intimate in over a year stirred suspicion with Erin and Sai De Silva. Their relationship became an ongoing topic of discussion, including suggestions that Pavit could be cheating on his wife. And yet, when Brynn Whitfield joked with Abe at his and Erin’s anniversary party that she was waiting for him whenever he decided to leave his wife, the real estate agent was livid and even stomped out of a wreath-making party because of it.
So it’s okay to make jokes about Pavit cheating on Jessel, but it’s not okay to make jokes about Abe leaving Erin for Brynn? Especially when Brynn was obviously kidding and being playful. And Abe was laughing, so he got that it was all in fun. That’s pretty hypocritical.
“I think it definitely showed a double standard,” Jessel said. “[Erin] was very upset about the whole Brynn situation. Brynn probably shouldn’t have made that joke at the party, but whatever. At the end of the day … I think that they looked at my marriage and took it to a place that really wasn’t cool.”
Jessel added that she thinks her friends totally missed the point of her struggle. “Erin and Sai, specifically,” Bravo’s first Indian Housewife observed, “they’ve never had IVF. So I think when I was talking about it, they couldn’t relate to me at that moment. All they heard was, ‘She’s not having sex with her husband. Something is wrong!'”
Jessel was judged either way
Constantly pressured to “open up” about her life, whenever she did, the other women used it against her. “I got to a point where I really was very nervous to share details,” the British citizen said. “My ‘staycation’ with Pavit was so fun, and I would have loved to go into details as you do with your girlfriends. But I didn’t feel comfortable, because … every time I opened my mouth, I would be shut down and it would be construed in a negative manner.”
“I just took a step back,” she continued. “My gut was telling me at that moment to not go beyond surface level.”
Part 1 of The Real Housewives of New York Season 14 reunion airs October 15 at 9/8c on Bravo.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK SAI AND ERIN BULLIED JESSEL? WAS IT HYPOCRITICAL TO JOKE ABOUT JESSEL’S MARRIAGE BUT NOT ABOUT ERIN’S?