‘Real Housewives of New York City’ Aviva Drescher On Joining Cast: I Hope I Gambled Correctly

Real Housewives of New York City’s newest addition Aviva Drescher is a statuesque blonde who lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with her investment banker husband, Reid, and her four children.

Sounds typical for a member of the show, right? Well, as it turns out, Aviva has a unique story of her own: When she was just six years old, she suffered a tragic farming accident, which resulted in her left leg being amputated below the knee.

Years later, Aviva says it was that moment that propelled her to join the Housewives franchise.

“I wanted to get the word out that people with challenges and limitations can do everything that everyone else can,” she said in an exclusive interview with Celebuzz. “That’s why I’m doing the show, I guess; to let other people — especially women — know that they can feel the same way.”

Aviva met her second husband, Reid, in an unlikely spot: Bed Bath and Beyond. At the time, she was shopping with her two-year-old son, while Reid was with his year-old daughter. Shortly thereafter, on their second date, she revealed to Reid that she was an amputee, hoping it would put him off, as she felt they had no future together.

To her surprise, the plan backfired. Now, the couple has two children together. “We’re a modern-blended family,” she said, proudly.

The five-foot-10 beauty — who joined the show after a number of castmembers, including Kelly Bensimon and Jill Zarin, were fired — shot down any notion that her amputation is a big deal (“I get more upset when I get a pimple on my nose,” she quipped), and credits her parents for maintaining such a positive attitude.

“They treated me like everybody else,” she explains. “They refused to treat me any differently. They did not coddle me at all. It’s nothing to do with me; it’s to do with my parents and my community.”

That attitude should serve her well as she navigates the tricky — not to mention catty — waters of The Real Housewives of New York City — but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t terrified to join the show.

“I was so frightened that I did not sleep for a month before officially signing on,” she said. “I think I lost, like, 20 pounds. I was that afraid of what this would do to my family, my children and how I would be portrayed. I was really afraid. I still am, but I’ve come to terms with it.”

So, what changed her mind?

“Ultimately, I took the gamble that more good would come from this show than bad, and more fun would come than pain,” she said. “I’m hoping that I gambled correctly.”

“If I can help people who are amputees, or who have limitations, then all the pain and the humiliation will be worth it, and me being made into a caricature will be fine.”

The Real Housewives of New York City season 5 premieres Monday, June 4, at 9PM ET / 8PM CT.