14 Real Housewives Who Had Real Jobs Before Reality TV
Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is known for featuring women of a certain lavish lifestyle, but the term “Housewives” is a bit misleading because many of the women who star on any of the given shows are actually single, and/or have a thriving career. While there are definitely a fair number of cast members who don’t work, or rather have created work for themselves based off their reality TV fame, there’s a number of ladies who came onto the show with an already successful career who deserve a shout out for their hard work! Here’s a look at 14 Real Housewives who have real jobs outside of reality TV!
14. Carole Radziwill
Before Carole Radziwill joined The Real Housewives of New York City she made a name for herself as an author and journalist. She has one of the most interesting careers of all the women in the entire Real Housewives franchise! Her novel What Remains landed on the New York Times Best Sellers List and she won three Emmys and a Peabody Award for her work with Peter Jennings. During her long career at ABC News, she reported on stories from Cambodia, India and the Middle East, including the first Gulf War in 1991 and the Afghanistan War in 2001. Radziwill also wrote the book The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating (she is currently working on a new book), and worked as a contributing writer to Glamour and Porter magazine.
13. Kandi Burruss
Grammy award winning singer, Kandi Burruss, was doing just fine in her career before joining The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Reality TV is definitely not her sole enterprise. She’s an extremely successful singer, songwriter and producer. Burruss’ singing career dates back to the early ’90s. She was first a member of the successful girl group Xscape until she branched off on her own for a solo career focused on production and songwriting. She’s penned a number of huge hits like “No Scrubs” for TLC, “Bills, Bills, Bills” for Destiny’s Child, and “There You Go” for Pink.
12. Cary Deuber
Cary Deuber has shared a lot of her personal and professional life on The Real Housewives of Dallas. In fact, her storyline in season 2 has revolved greatly around her work life and how she wants to scale back in order to spend more time with her daughter Zuri. Deuber studied nursing and became a certified registered nurse first assistant which has allowed her to travel around the world on medical trips and work with her husband, Mark Deuber, as an operative assistant. According to her Bravo bio, she also has her own aesthetic injectable practice.
11. Eileen Davidson
Emmy-winning actress Eileen Davidson was no stranger to the camera when she joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2014 (she recently announced she will not be returning for season 8). Prior to becoming a reality TV star, she’d starred on several soap opera shows, but mainly The Young and the Restless as Ashley Abbott, a role she’d held off and on since 1982! Davidson has also been a series regular on Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful and Santa Barbara.
10. Bethenny Frankel
Fans of the Real Housewives have watched Bethenny’s career take-off as she’s gone from trying to get people in the supermarket to try her muffins to selling her Skinnygirl empire for a reported $120 million. Skinnygirl is one of the most successful food and beverage brands in the entire world! What started as a signature cocktail has branched out into other alcoholic beverages, fitness products, low-calorie foods like salad dressings, snacks — pretty much everything! In addition to her business ventures, Frankel has authored several books, started a production company, and is the newest guest star on the upcoming season of Shark Tank.
9. Tamra Judge
When Tamra Judge first joined The Real Housewives of Orange County in season 3, she was a stay at home mom for her four children. Viewers saw her go through many changes while on the show and one of which was her career. When the recession hit in 2008, Tamra was forced to go back to work as a real estate agent to help support her family. When she and Simon got divorced, she decided to pursue her dream of owning her own fitness studio. Today she and husband, Eddie Judge co-own CUT Fitness which also inspired her to begin competing as a bodybuilder!
8. Heather Thomson
This former Real Housewives of New York City star is one of the biggest businesswomen to have appeared on the show. In addition to her short stint on RHONY, she’s known around the city as the founder of shapewear line, Yummie by Heather Thomson, which now includes bras, panties, denim, leggings, as well as active and lounge wear. Her product is sold at big retailers like The Bay and Nordstroms. She has since admitted that the only reason she signed on to do the reality show was to promote her business.
7. Kyle Richards
Even though Kyle Richards hadn’t been doing too much acting when she joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2010, she had already made a name for herself in the entertainment business. As a child she appeared on Little House on the Prairie, and several horror films like Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive, John Carpenter’s Halloween and The Car.
6. D’Andra Simmons
In addition to being a Dallas society socialite, D’Andra is in the midst of taking over her mother’s company, a lucrative skin care product line. Prior to that she was pursuing a career in politics in Washington, D.C. until her mother asked her to return to Dallas in order to take over the family business.
5. Vicki Gunvalson
Often referred to as the OG of the O.C., Vicki Gunvalson has worked hard for her success and has a pretty incredible rags to riches story to go with it. She decided to go into insurance after she became a single mother. She went out and got herself licensed and started working at a captive insurance company. She became the top sales woman in her first year of employment. When she moved to California, she got re-licensed and started her own agency. Viewers who have been watching RHOC since season 1 will remember her working out of her own house with only one employee, now she’s the owner of Coto Insurance and Financial Services, one of the most successful Insurance Agencies in the United States.
4. Ramona Singer
We all know that Ramona has money and that she made a lot of it own her own, but what exactly does she do? After she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she earned her bachelors degree in Business. At the age of 29 she became a buyer at Macy’s, and has worked with Calvin Klein and French Connection. The New York City Housewife later started her own company, RMS Fashions, Inc. which is still her core business today. The company makes its business by purchasing excess inventory from stores and selling it to discount stores. She also co-founded True Faith Jewelry with her then-husband, Mario Singer, and has started a skincare line, a line of Pinot Grigio and a jewelry line for HSN. Busy woman!
3. Phaedra Parks
Before Phaedra Parks joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta, she was a well recognized lawyer in the entertainment industry who’s had a variety of high-profile clients like Michael Jackson, Jermaine Dupri and Bobby Brown. She is the Managing Partner of The Parks Group, P.C., a national boutique law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia.
2. Lydia McLaughlin
This O.C. Housewife definitely has her hands full! In addition to starring on a reality show, running a lifestyle fashion blog and raising three boys, Lydia McLaughlin and her husband Doug recently launched a high-end men’s magazine called Nobleman. Prior to this the pair worked at Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine with Lydia in the role of managing editor.
1. Lisa Vanderpump
Any fan of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills would know about this boss lady’s hectic work load. She and her husband Ken Todd are constantly on the go while running their two most successful restaurants, Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills and SUR in West Hollywood. These are the two locations often shown on RHOBH. But that’s not it! In total these two own 26 restaurants, bars and clubs — all of which LVP designed herself. She also writes for Lifestyle Magazine and recently developed a skin care line with Dr. Simon Ourian.