‘RHONY’ Star Jessel Taank Addresses Fashion Faux Pas: ‘If I’m Going to Get Fashion Checked by Anyone it Damn Well Better Be Jenna Lyons”

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In the most recent episode of “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Jessel Taank made the fashion faux pas of wearing two graphic labels in one look.

“Wait no,” replied her castmate Jenna Lyons in horror. “You can’t wear Alexander Wang on your back and Balenciaga on your bag,” the former executive creative director of J Crew advised.

“I think fundamentally she was right,” Taank told TheWrap with a smile. “And listen, if I’m going to get fashion checked by anyone it damn well better be Jenna Lyons and no one else. Let me say that for sure!”

Their interaction was the kind of shady yet humorous drama that many fans felt was missing from the long-running Bravo series before its complete reboot. And while fashion is a huge part of the “Real Housewives,” Taank hopes to use her time on the show to highlight her South Asian culture — and the pride and challenges that come with being an Indian woman.

Read more highlights from TheWrap’s chat with Taank below:

What was the conversation like with your family when deciding whether or not to join “The Real Housewives of New York City”?

Taank: We went through a series of “Should we do it? Should we not?”‘ And being Indian, we love our privacy. I think that everything we do is a little bit toned down; we’re not as extravagant as some other cultures, in that we don’t really share much of a window into our world. My husband [Pavit] and I, we took a long time, and we had all the right conversations. I obviously have two small children. The biggest thing for me was, how would this experience impact them? Does it impact them at this point? How do I protect them from it? So all those things came into play.

The “Housewives” fandom can be very vocal. Are you someone who reads the comments?

I think that the more you let that sort of outside world infiltrate you, no matter how thick your skin is, it always is mentally quite challenging. I was doing really, really well until my husband — I think it was like midway through the first episode — started to screenshot all these tweets and sending them to me. And he was like, “People think you’re a bully and you’re this and you’re that.”

And I was like, “Oh my god. Oh my god.” It sends you down a spiral. I went down this rabbit hole the first night of reading all this stuff. I woke up on Monday and I was like, “Okay, I really can’t do this anymore.” I would say, though, that one of the good things about social media is yes, everyone has their opinions. And you’re sort of lending yourself to that inherently by signing up for the show. On the flip side though, you can control your own narrative with your own social media platforms. I think it’s really important for anyone on reality TV to share your own version of what things really are. So I’ve been doing that and really interacting with the audience and sharing my reality and my truth as much as I can.

Speaking of sharing your reality, you became very emotional while sharing your IVF journey on camera. How has the response been about that?

I… I really didn’t know if I was going to bring it up during the show. Talking to producers at the beginning and talking about my life, sharing that I’ve been through IVF was such a big thing for me. A thing that my husband and I went through quite privately.

Again, it goes back to being a private culture. [Going through IVF] is a relatable thing across the board. But in saying that, I realized I actually have an opportunity to maybe help people with this story, or at least, give others strength. I mean, I went through it for three years in complete silence. And so for me, it’s like, “Hey, this is what I went through. And if you’re going through the same thing, just know it’s going to be okay.” And that was really the reasoning behind sharing that.

You also talked about the cultural expectations around getting married, having children and the pressures around that.

Yeah, it’s really the case. I think growing up, I never shared my dating life with my parents. And it’s so funny, because I really do think 99.9% of Indians or Asians would understand that. The focus really would be on your academics and like working hard and getting into good good schools. It’s a very relatable thing. And I kinda wanted to question the status quo with it. I want to give Indian women specifically the strength to be able to share some of those things that are considered taboo in our culture.

A few fun questions for you. Pringles and caviar [which castmate Erin Lichy served as a snack at her Hamptons house]. Yay or nay?

Nay! Pringles and caviar do NOT mix. They should have been on a blini!

You didn’t pack as much as Sai De Silva for the Hamptons trip. But as a fashion publicist, did you feel you had to up your glam for the show?

Definitely. I’m in the fashion industry, I understand how to turn it up and turn it down. But everyone watching you and then talking about what you’re wearing and the pressure of having to look a certain way all the time really weighed heavily on me.

I was like, “Oh my gosh, I have to be this flamboyant, extravagant version of myself at all times. Otherwise, I’m just going to be the basic one. No one wants to be the basic one.”

I remember talking to “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Crystal Kung Minkoff about upping her glam, because she’s admittedly a jeans and t-shirt kind of person. But she’s also on a show with Dorit Kemsley and Erika Jayne.

Beverly Hills is a whole other world. With New York, you can sort of be a little bit more like denim and T shirt and it’s fine. But you know, I’m on a show with Jenna Lyons. I’m on a show with Sai and Ubah — girls that love to dress up. I never want to be the one that’s underdressed or making fashion faux pas. Although last episode, I did make one and Jenna called me out.

How did it feel to get fashion checked by Jenna Lyons?

I think fundamentally she was right. I only had two bags with me. One that I was like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t really go with this outfit.’ And then the other was the Balenciaga. So you know, she was right in checking me. And listen, if I’m going to get fashion checked by anyone it damn well better be Jenna Lyons and no one else. Let me say that for sure!”

See more of Jessel, Jenna, Sai and the rest of “The Real Housewives of New York City” on Bravo Sunday nights and Peacock the following Monday.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity and length.

The post ‘RHONY’ Star Jessel Taank Addresses Fashion Faux Pas: ‘If I’m Going to Get Fashion Checked by Anyone it Damn Well Better Be Jenna Lyons” appeared first on TheWrap.