Jessel Taank is growing on people. At least, that’s The Real Housewives of New York City star’s read on the social media reactions to the new cast, debuted in Season 14. Currently airing on Bravo (Sundays on the network, Mondays on Peacock), RHONY Season 14 features an all-new cast of apple-bearers in a soft reboot of the long-running series. Taank has been a standout of the season because of her snafus caused by her crass British humor.
At TV Insider’s office, the newly minted reality star tells us what it’s been like seeing viewers react to this new group of women, which includes fashion designer Jenna Lyons, interior designer and luxury real estate agent Erin Lichy, Instagram influencer Sai De Silva, corporate communications consultant Brynn Whitfield, business owner Ubah Hassan, and Taank, a fashion publicist.
“The show has done a really good job of not overwhelming the audience with who we are and slowly trickling out our personalities and our characters,” she says in the TV Insider video interview above. “There’s definitely a lot more that needs to be unraveled.”
The slow-burn, Taank says, is helping people understand her better. “Certainly for me, I think,” she shares. “Episode 1, people were not loving me, but slowly you start to see that I’m actually funny and nothing I mean is actually harmful or malicious.” Some of her funniest moments have been calling NYC’s Tribeca an “up-and-coming” neighborhood when it’s famously already popular (and wildly expensive to live in, as Tribeca resident Lichy well knows), calling her twin sons “socially inept” when she meant adept, plus her delivery of the name “Judith” in the August 27 installment. (See her talk about that moment below.)
You never know what reality TV moments the internet will latch onto. We talked to #RHONY‘s #JesselTaank about that “Judith??” moment pic.twitter.com/JjPFg7uxPh
— TV Insider (@TVInsider) August 29, 2023
When Taank says she’s not “malicious,” she’s referring to her fights with other cast members, particularly Lyons and Lichy, whom she offended with unappreciative comments about lingerie gifted by Lyons. In a later talk with the designer, she called Lichy and others in the posse a bunch of “cackling hags.” She swore it was a term of British endearment, but good luck convincing Americans that “hag” can be sweet.
She’s had to tone down her British slang while filming, but Taank feels her co-stars and viewers are starting to understand her more. Soon enough, they might actually believe “cackling hags” is a compliment.
Taank’s plot line has also dove into her IVF journey. In the Sunday, August 27 episode, she finally revealed the story of her twin sons’ conception to her mother. She had kept the secret because of the taboo topic of infertility in Indian culture, but her mother’s reaction was more sympathetic than she expected. Taank says she didn’t audition for RHONY with the intention of highlighting her IVF experiences, but she’s proud to be shining a light on the subject.
Looking forward, the show will continue to bring the catty drama fans adore while still sprinkling in the serious moments.
“I think we’ve been a little PC, but now we’re starting to get a little bit more into it,” she says. “So watch this space.”
Learn more about the RHONY Season 14 standout in the full video interview above, including which past cast members she’s connected with since landing the job, husband Pavit’s feelings about being on the show, and more.
The Real Housewives of New York City, Sundays, 9/8c, Bravo