The temper trap
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.’’