The tem­per trap

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TELEVISION - ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS MOB WIVES, Life­style You, Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm

ON re­al­ity se­ries Mob Wives, Drita D’Avanzo is the hot- headed, fiery vixen with one hell of a tem­per.

En­gag­ing in bloody brawls with her co- stars and de­liv­er­ing lan­guage that makes Gor­don Ram­say seem like a saint, she’s one tough cookie.

But talk­ing to the re­al­ity tele­vi­sion star down the phone from her home in Staten Is­land, New York, you’d hardly be­lieve it was the same woman.

Off­screen, D’Avanzo ( pic­tured) is warm, com­pas­sion­ate and friendly. She’s open and hon­est and has a great sense of hu­mour. It’s only her co- stars on the re­al­ity show, which goes inside the lives of a group of women con­nected to the mafia, she says, that bring out the worst in her.

‘‘ I’m deal­ing with girls [ my co- stars] who I grew up com­pletely dif­fer­ent to,’’ she says.

‘‘ I don’t un­der­stand them and I don’t like to be bul­lied, which is what they do.

‘‘ But I have to work with these women, so it’s not like you can just walk away and never talk to them again.’’

D’Avanzo and fel­low mob wife Carla Fac­ci­olo are al­lies in a war against mob de­scen­dants Karen Gra­vano and Ra­mona Rizzo, which be­gan when D’Avanzo didn’t tell her old friend Gra­vano in per­son that she had mar­ried Gra­vano’s ex- boyfriend, mob­ster Lee D’Avanzo.

The feud has seen the women come to blows – lit­er­ally – with punches thrown and blood shed.

While she’s not proud of her ac­tions, D’Avanzo says us­ing her fists has be­come sec­ond na­ture af­ter grow­ing up in a bad neigh­bour­hood.

The mother- of- two is now in anger man­age­ment classes try­ing to ad­dress her vi­o­lent out­bursts, but says it’s not an in­stant fix.

‘‘ The only per­son that can change me is me so I am mak­ing an ef­fort,’’ she says.

And if fight­ing with her for­mer friend on the se­ries wasn’t enough drama, D’Avanzo has also had to con­tend with the cam­eras watch­ing as she found out her hus­band was cheat­ing on her.

While most peo­ple would want to lock the cam­eras out when faced with such a heart­break­ing sit­u­a­tion, D’Avanzo says she’s found it strangely ‘‘ ther­a­peu­tic’’.

‘‘ I’m not think­ing about the cam­eras so I’m truly show­ing you how I feel.

‘‘ All the tears you see, all the anger you see, it’s real. It’s been a bit ther­a­peu­tic for me be­cause I have so many fans.

‘‘ My fans are a lot of sin­gle mums who are strug­gling or have been cheated on and they look up to me. They say they would love to have the strength I have, and that’s amaz­ing for me.’’

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