Real Housewives: Star felt pressure of South Asian representation

Real Housewives: Star felt pressure of South Asian representation
Jessel Tank, a woman wearing a brown top, sitting on a blue softa, looking at the camera with a smile. Behind her is a sparkly background, with a letter arrangement spelling out "maze", books, a teddy bear and a landline phone.Getty Images

Between battles, friendships and notoriety, the existence of a Real Wife can be stressful.

And time 15 of The Real Housewives of New York City is now being filmed for people.

Jessel Taank, the latest sun, spoke to BBC Asian Network about her experience as the first South Asian put part.

” I did experience an enormous amount of pressure. It’s kind of like all sight on you”, she says.

” I just want to be myself and show what being Indian methods to me.”

Jessel claims that feeling misunderstood by her cast members was n’t helpful.

Her parents were born in India, next immigrated to Kenya, and subsequently moved to London, which she claims other viewers on the show found to be complicated.

” A lot of the cast mates did n’t understand that”, she says.

” They were confused as to why I was from Africa or believe that because I’m American, I grew up wealthy”.

Individuals mistake Indians for being reserved.

According to Jessel, the stress of producing drama for the audience can make recording the show difficult.

” We are on a TV show and I think watching people become super- good to each other is n’t really interesting, right? You must therefore raise the heat.

There can be a significant conflict, as suggested by “on my show, we all have very strong personalities, and that can cause tension.”

” But obviously we have to elevate and heighten that emotion for television”, she says.

The cast of the Real Housewives of New York City standing left to right - Brynn Whitfield, Erin Lichy, Sai De Silva, Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank, Ubah Hassan. They are standing on a balcony with the New York skyscrapers visible behind them.

Getty Images

Jessel says social media can be a scary place for the cast because Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is known for cliques and cat fights.

” People forget the show is just a snapshot of our lives”, she says.

” For example, on the show I spoke about not coming from a wealthy background. And a fake website was created that claimed I attended one of London’s most prestigious girls ‘ schools, which was a complete lie.

Jessel explains that she previously worked as a brand consultant and publicist, and that this distinction sets her apart from other cast members.

” I believe the women who have appeared in some of the other Real Housewife programs have inherited generational wealth or been married, so they may not have been able to reconcile with reality.”

However, according to her, one of the producers ‘ biggest requirements was for women to be self-made with an exciting career path and an intriguing background.

Jessel thinks it’s a significant step in the entertainment industry despite feeling pressured as the only South Asian cast member.

The dynamic I have with my husband is really appealing to viewers. Some people assume Indians are very reserved, but we’re really open about our relationship.”

Jessel claims that some of the issues she’s discussed in the show have been addressed by people.

How I address issues of taboos like reproduction and pregnancy struggles and those that are n’t actually discussed in public and within our community.

” I believe that many Indian women are particularly hesitant to openly discuss taboo topics.

She says,” The fact that I was doing it and doing it quite openly was hopefully reassuring and beneficial,”


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