The reality of being on reality TV is that there are A LOT heightened personalities crammed into an itty bitty, teeny, tiny space that is our televisions screens. Some outrageous personalities are a joy to watch-causing constant laughter to shoot from your body as you convulse in hilarity. Others…well…others are leaning more toward the “crazy” side, showing the world the personality they deem normal and the rest of us deem…something else.
Enter Kelly Bensimon-the Real Housewives of New York star who began her reign of terror in season 2 and by season 4 was asked to leave and never return.
They say first impressions are everything, and with Bensimon, fans of the Real Housewives of New York were treated to one of the wildest first impressions ever put to on to film. While the woman was educated at a private day school (in my hometown, no biggy), later obtained an undergrad degree from Columbia, and even graduating with an MBA from Northwestern University, somewhere along the way the basic human knowledge of not running into traffic was lost on her.
Our very first scene with Bensimon is a wild ride in which the former model is running in traffic in the Midtown Manhattan. Guys. She was running IN traffic!! It was so wild my brain refuses to accept it, and also refuses to forget it.
Lucky for fans though, Bensimon didn’t stop at running in the middle of the street during rush hour in Midtown. She brought it in terms of drama for season 2. After two contentious seasons alongside castmate Bethenny Frankel, Bensimon lost her cool on a trip for RHONY icon Ramona Singer’s vow renewal.
On a group trip, being filmed for the Bravo series, that would later be dubbed “Scary Island,” Bensimon seemed to spiral out of control, claiming she believes her fellow cast members were out to harm her, until finally being escorted home by a production assistant. The incident left producers in complete shock, telling Cheatsheet.com, “We’re looking at each other like, ‘What is happening?’ Like it was real.”
It’s unclear what really went down. Some claim mental illness. Others claim drug use. Perhaps we’ll never know. What we do know is that wasn’t the end for Ms. Bensimon.
The iconic RHONY cast member returned for her third and final season the following year. The feedback from fans wasn’t in her favor, but viewers loved watching the trainwreck in real time as it happened.
On a cast trip to Morocco, the former Housewife approached co-worker and fellow cast member Alex McCord to seemingly berate her for what seemed to come out of sheer delusion. McCord would later say, “Kelly’s threshold for being uncomfortable is different from everyone else’s. Whereas in Morocco…Morocco was just mean. Scary Island wasn’t mean. Scary Island was just crazy. Between scary and mean, I’ll take scary every day.”
Kelly may no longer be a Housewife, but her ability to bring the drama and double down on delusion is what kept fans coming back to RHONY again and again, and what has surely helped to cement its place in the best of the best when it comes to Bravo series. So here’s to you, Kelly! You are the true Queen of Crazy, and we STAN.