After one season on The Real Housewives of New York City, Aviva Drescher made herself known as a loving wife and a mom, a health nut, an inspiring amputee, and a woman who sometimes let her anxieties get the best of her.
Now, in her new memoir Leggy Blonde (out today), the Manhattan native details the rest of her fascinating life from her privileged New York City upbringing to the horrific childhood accident that caused her to lose her foot to discovering (and losing and rediscovering) love.
Here are eight things we learned about our resident blonde bombshell.
Her dad once thought her foot could be grown back.
When six-year-old Aviva mangled her foot in a barn accident, her dad desperately tried anything and everything to save it: a friend of his at the Museum of Natural History unlocked an exhibit to obtain a sample of ancient regenerative minerals, Aviva spent time in a hyperbaric chamber, and the whole family even traveled to India to meet a guru who claimed he could grow the foot back. "His inner Brooklyn tough guy really came out when it came to saving his little girl," Aviva writes.
She once danced on tables in Paris.
At age 20, Aviva moved to Paris and spent her nights rubbing elbows with the likes of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Sylvester Stallone. Her boyfriend at the time was 10 years her senior and a nightclub manager who got them both into the city's hottest parties. Eventually, the relationship soured and she finally ended it when he pushed her hard enough to land her on the floor outside of her apartment. "I'd let a man turn me into something I swore I would never be: someone who felt bad about herself."
She's known her fair share of tragedy.
In one of the more heart-wrenching chapters in her book, Aviva documents her beloved mother Ingrid's decline due to alcoholism, which eventually caused brain shrinkage, mini-strokes and dementia. After she passed away, Aviva pieced together Ingrid's difficult life in post-WWII Germany, before she moved to America and became a model and Pan Am stewardess. She writes, "I do feel an additional loss for not knowing her better during her life."
All about the leg...
Aviva's prosthetic legs these days are high-tech, beautifully made, and comfortable. They are created in the exact shape of her other leg and it is shaded to match her skin when she has a tan in the summer. It even includes capillaries, veins, and moles for added realism. She regularly gets pedicures for her 15 toes (her real leg and her two prostheses that she switches between). And, of course, she has high heel legs that allow her to wear 3 1/2- to 4 1/2- inch stilettos.
She got a boob job for all the wrong reasons.
To get over her impending divorce from her first husband, Aviva decided to get a boob job...something she now says she regrets. She went from a 29B to a 29D. "Why did I do it? I convinced myself that if I didn't enhance my body, I wouldn't be able to attract another man," she writes. "I acted out of insecurity and desperation." She also writes that she eventually hopes to get the implants removed.
Fran Drescher was a third wheel.
You probably know that Aviva's husband Reid is the cousin of Fran Drescher. What you may not know is that Fran actually joined them on their second date! The three of them went to see a Broadway play together and Fran and Aviva hit it off right away. Later on, Fran was instrumental in getting Aviva to decide on joining RHONY. She told Aviva that she could be a positive role model for other amputees.
She feels empowered by a bikini.
The Real Housewives of New York City forced Aviva to have one of her most liberating experiences when she appeared on national television in a bikini and revealed her prosthesis to the world. "It took me until I was forty years old to fully accept myself. With the cameras rolling, I knew there was no turning back now," she writes. "The leg was out of the closet. And it was a huge relief."
She knows she's a bit of a snob.
Tongue firmly planted in cheek, she writes, "I get a vibe from some people that they think I believe that I'm in some way better they are, that I'm a snob. Maybe I am a bit of a snob. The thing is, it's not that I think I'm better than they are, it's just that I like my taste more than I like theirs. It's just human nature. I prefer my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to your, say, Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese. I'm not judging your white-trash macaroni and cheese. I just like mine better. I don't think that makes me a snob."
Tune in to see Aviva and the rest of the Big Apple ladies on the new season of Real Housewives of New York City, premiering on March 11th. And order a copy of Leggy Blonde on Amazon.