Why the Real Housewives are the Real American Dream

Do I realize I’m going to get a lot of flack for this (especially from my husband)? Sure.

Do I care? No.

Most who know me know I’m a huge fan of The Real Housewives shows on Bravo. Maybe it’s because I share a name with the OG of the OC, or because I secretly want to be an Octo-mom like Kim Z. It might even be that I’m self-proclaimed as the ‘Housewives Whisperer’ ever since I met Meghan King Edmonds in an NYC airport and Shannon Beador in Mexico.

I love them all.

I have to think that when Andy Cohen was casting for his inaugural season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, he was imagining the glamorous, gated community gals to rival those of Laguna Beach or The Hills but what he got was so much more!

Since it started in 2006, there have been 9 domestic installments and 7 international spin-offs of the show – all showcasing their own versions of girls trips, cat fights and press wars. These women, most of whom were never even housewives themselves have gone on to become actors, singers (who could forget Money Can’t by You Class by LuAnn) and even a billion dollar mogul running her own lifestyle brand company.

Say what you will reality show snobs, but if this doesn’t depict the American Dream for women today then I don’t know what does. In my mind the American Dream has always been seizing an opportunity when it presents itself and grabbing life by the oranges or the apples or the diamonds. Whatever your preferred flavor of Housewives, you have to admit that these women took their 15-minutes of fame and touched a lot of people whether it’s with their QVC lines, Skinny Girl margaritas or simply sharing their stories on TV.

Many times these women were casted because they were rich or had big mouths or both which  makes for some great TV, but they stayed relevant because they parlayed their reality TV status into careers for themselves.

Vicki Gunvelson is one of my favorites and she’s made a lot of on-air whoopsies, but she runs her own million dollar insurance business and talks about it frequently on the show. Why is that cool? Well, I started watching the show when I was 18 and now I’m 29. At the time I never thought ‘wow, look at all the nice things her husband bought her – isn’t she lucky?’

I thought ‘wow, this woman is a boss bitch and she deserves everything she has because she works hard’. This is a really powerful rhetoric that girls don’t always see in their personal networks. When they see a real woman on TV be vulnerable about her personal life and have an amazing professional career it makes us believe that we can have that life too!

Let’s not forget Nene Leakes who is a former exotic dancer and now she has a clothing line, is a stand-up comedian and regularly appears on scripted TV shows. Now, she is one Housewife I’d love to have margaritas with!

Megan King Edmonds experienced difficulty with getting pregnant – something that I see my friends struggle with as well. She’s now pregnant with twins and can be a sign of strength to other women who are on similar fertility journeys.

Teresa traded her Louboutins for the slammer, you guys! If that’s not real, I don’t know what is.

Camille Grammar went through a humiliating divorce on national TV only to pick up the pieces and show women there is life after divorce. This is a common thread for others like Ramona Singer and LuAnn De Lesseps, who’s husbands’ infidelities were exposed for all to see. Most women don’t appear on TV during their divorces and I’m sure most would say they wouldn’t want to. But here these Housewives are… baring it all and sharing it with all their viewers. I don’t care what anyone says, all the money in the world does not cure a broken heart.

Yet, they get through it. And we are fortunate enough to watch it weekly.

The entertainment value is pretty good too as long as you don’t take it too seriously. After all, this is a TV show created by Bravo royalty himself. Andy Cohen may need the hair pulling and shit talking to pull in viewers, but if we can get past the dramatics – the show is a true tale of women creating a life full of opportunity – no matter how many FabFitFun boxes they sell in the process.


What would your tagline be if YOU were a real Housewife?

Mine: I might not be politically correct but I’m always the First Lady of my life!

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Vicki Kotris

Vicki is a Cleveland native, cupcake enthusiast and self-proclaimed karaoke rockstar who survives on Starbucks and sprinkles. Saleslady by day and doting dog mom by night. Ambitions include meeting Oprah, seeing the Indians win the World Series and finishing all 100 things on the Cleveland Scene Bucket List. Follow her at www.theconfettifiles.com.

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