Lately, it seems like everyone and their favorite Housewife is coming out with a clothing line, book, drink collection. The list of reality stars capitalizing on their 15 minutes of fame is as endless as Adrienne Maloof’s bank statement.
Granted, 80% of these “products”, are endorsements, ghost-written books, and other labels that anyone will slap their name on for a quick buck. To separate the good Real stuff from the Gretchen Rossi of the bunch, I’ve compiled a list to help you separate the ridiculous from the not-so-ridiculous.
Up first, the ladies of New York City, where hustling and hawking your business are skills as vital as a pair of Jimmy Choos. (Don’t worry we’re not even going near the insanity can of worms that is Bethenny Frankel and her um, career, if that’s what we’re calling it)
Product: Class with the Countess
One of my favorite housewives, the Countess embraces who she is, and she never claims to be anything she isn’t. She’s made a name for herself using the well-earned title of her former husband, and what’s wrong with that? She has earned that title, putting up with that cheating Statue of Liverty guy for as long as she did. Arianna Huffington she’s not, but she’s certainly a strong, independent role model for young women of style, character and class everywhere.
Grade: A minus
Product: Skweez, an apparel line of body shapers
Jill is such a riot! I love her laugh, her voice, and her no-nonsense manner. She actually has the goods to back this business venture up: she comes from a retail background, and runs a successful fabric business with her adorable hubby. She is sticking to what she knows, and not trying to break into makeup, handbags, any cocktail that you can chug…oh wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Grade: A minus
Product: “Ramona” Pinot Grigio
Can I just say “Ugh!” I can’t stand her abrasive, disgustingly brash and offensive personality or the idiotic way she’s desperately trying to hold on to her (long erstwhile) youth. However, if she does know something, she knows wine. The borderline alcoholic (roll those Reunion tapes again!) has now started hawking her own brand of Ramona Pinot Grigio. Good idea, but she loses points for not knowing how to pronounce her vineyard. And for those insultingly tight, too-short dresses.
Grade: B minus
The next fabulous city we’re visiting is the glamorous city of Orange County. These blond, tanned and toned ladies prove that they have some brains behind all that Botox (well, most of them have brains anyway)
Product: Anything and everything
Another “ugh” in my book. This wannabe, desperado character has thrown her name on anything that will have her. Crappy handbags, cheap makeup, am I missing anything? Tell me she’s not shopping a book deal around. Can you spell gold-digger with really bad taste?
Grade: I’ll be kind- C minus for oodles of famewhore effort and really big hair
Real Housewife: Alexis Bellino
Product: Couture by Alexis dress line
OK, I didn’t like Alexis in her first season. But the second time around, when we see her business side emerge, I kind of have to give her some credit. She is trying to make the most of what she has (a rich if albeit controlling and weird looking husband) and she doesn’t make any excuses about who she is. She’s a throwback to a traditional stay-at-home wife and mother, who has found her niche in a pretty fantastic dress line. It was weird watching her husband slap her butt in a 1930’s way during her photo shoot, but the clothes she designs are pretty cute! Very Orange County.
Grade: B plus
Alrighty, time for New Jersey. The wicked witch is dead, and she took her sex tapes and slimy singing with her. Time to give some attention to some real working girls!
Real Housewife: Dina Manzo, the crown jewel of all things Bravo and HGTV.
Product: new design show on HGTV called Dina’s Party
I adore Dina, and have shopped at her fabulous website since Season 1. She was a successful businesswoman, designer and philanthropist before she let Bravo into her beautiful house. Now she’s taking her actual business to TV again, letting cameras follow her around as she creates beautiful events. It premiers tonight( Monday August 15 at 9pm) on HGTV, and I am sooo excited!
Grade: A, duh
Product: best-selling cookbooks Skinny Italian and Fabulicious
Table-throwing antics and family feuds aside, I admire Mrs. Giudice for her bravado and candor in just about everything. Plus, she pretty much singlehandedly taught me to cook via Amazon.com. (As if you couldn’t tell from the plethora of her recipes I feature in my “From Today’s Kitchen” blog posts) While I’d be scared to ever encounter her in real life based on that fiery temper and pronunciation of the English language alone, her Bolognese recipe is pretty divine.
Luann de Lesseps photo courtesy of socialitelife.com
Jill Zarin photo courtesy of examiner.com
Ramona Singer photo courtesy of examiner.com
Gretchen Rossi photo courtesy of starpulse.com
Alexis Bellino photo courtesy of realitytea.com
Dina Manzo photo courtesy of channelguidemagblog.com
Teresa Giudice photo courtesy of fitsugar.com