Barbara Kavovit is the New Troublemaker On ‘Real Housewives of New York City’ — And She Fits Right In
With the departure of Carole Radziwill from Real Housewives of New York City last season, we were due for a bit of a cast shake-up, or at least a new addition to keep things interesting, especially given that Radziwill provided much of the tension at the heart of Season 10. That’s where Barbara Kavovit comes in. The businesswoman and CEO’s integration into the group hasn’t necessarily been seamless, but it has been entertaining—though admittedly, I’m sure a couple of the women (ahem, Ramona) would disagree.
It’s clear that she’s not truly new to the group—it was mentioned early on that she’s been friends with Ramona and Dorinda for a while—but there’s a difference between seeing someone socially off-camera and being brought into the overdramatic mix that occurs when you combine Housewives with a camera crew. However, Barbara has taken to it like Ramona to a bottle of wine and it’s been interesting to watch, to say the least.
Described by the other women in the group as a bit loud and “masculine,” Barbara’s attitude is definitely of the “take no prisoners” variety. She says what she thinks even when she’s probably better off keeping quiet, and that’s a recipe for a great Housewife. Before she was even officially part of the cast, she was already in hot water for talking crap about LuAnn and Tom’s wedding prior to the big event (and she wasn’t wrong); now that she’s on board full-time, she’s had a fight with Dorinda for meddling the latter’s falling out with LuAnn and gotten on Ramona’s bad side by admitting to the other girls that she doesn’t really like Singer. Oops?
The thing is, RHONY needs a resident troublemaker. Sure, each of the women is capable of stirring up drama when need be—and they do it often enough—and they’re all guilty of talking behind one another’s backs and repeating gossip. Still, Barbara’s approach is less underhanded than that, more blatant in its complete disregard for what other people think. She says what a lot of viewers are thinking but incapable of passing on since, you know, we’re staring at a TV screen. It’s actually really refreshing.
It’s still early days when it comes to determining what Barbara’s specific role in the group will be. Bethenny is pretty much the queen bee, Dorinda is the peacemaker (well, usually), LuAnn is the new-found cabaret star, Ramona is single and ready to mingle, Tinsley is trying to regain her former socialite status, and Sonja is, well, Sonja. She defies description. Where does Barbara fit into the mix? It seems even she’s figuring that out.
It’s also hard to tell what her defining characteristic will be. It would be unfair to write her off as simply a loudmouth. She is that, and she seems proud of that, but we haven’t seen enough of Barbara yet to know what else she has to offer. Perhaps her function within the group is to shake things up again when it comes to drama. The women still had their catfights without her presence, but Barbara’s frankness and lack of tact lends a new catalyst for a whole new brand of drama that has admittedly been missing over the past couple of seasons.
Is Barbara going to become a breakout star in the group? Probably not, but she doesn’t seem interested in that role anyway. She’s not attention hungry, nor does she need to be the center of attention. Instead, she seems content mingling between the small cliques that form within the larger group and feeling things out a little more organically. This makes her a little less explosive as a character, yes, but it also makes her a lot more dangerous when it comes to the conflict she can stir up seemingly without much effort. In other words, watch out for the “quiet” ones—they’re often the worst (or in this case, the best).
Barbara’s insistence on speaking her mind regardless of the consequences and who’s listening seems to be her defining characteristic so far and if that’s her long-term game plan, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s exactly what RHONY needs, so good for her.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor from New York who cares too way much about fictional characters and spends her time writing about them.