Make no mistake about it: When it comes to the women of The Real Housewives franchise, shrinking violets they are not. What might have started out as a show about a bunch of housewives living in absolute privilege quickly became a show that provided many women with an enormous platform. Taking the number of eager fans that they received from starring in the hit show and running with them, a bunch of the women started businesses or continued to grow their enormous brands. Like Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, who recently added to her long list of business ventures with a restaurant: Old Lady Gang. And the poster for the new establishment is killer. Because, trust me, the number of businessed The Real Housewives have run is seriously impressive.
Honestly, this is what I love the most about The Real Housewives in all their iterations. For as much as they might waste their time with drama and ineffective communication, I totally love the fact that they’re just a bunch of badass bitches who are totally running the show — or, at least running their own show. Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, they’re taking advantage of the amazing platforms they have and turning their opportunities into some pretty awesome business ventures.
So, if you wrote the Housewives off as a bunch of fame-addicted TV stars, think again. A lot of them just happen to be their own boss, and their drive is something we all should respect.
1. Vicki Gunvalson
The O.G. of the Real Housewives of the O.C. happens to also be the O.G. businesswoman on the show. While the franchise took root in her neck of the woods, following around a bunch of women who really were housewives, Gunvalson was running her own insurance company, Coto Insurance.
2. Tamra Judge
Sure, her husband Eddie Judge might take charge when it comes to running Cut Fitness, a gym in The O.C., but Tamra owns 51 percent of the business — and she isn’t afraid to tell people about it.
3. Heather Dubrow
She calls herself Mrs. Guinea Pig, and that might just because Heather Dubrow is the wife to one of the world’s top plastic surgeons. With her husband, Terry Dubrow, Heather created the skincare line, Consult Beaute.
4. Gretchen Rossi
Not long into her stint as a Housewife, Rossi formed the handbag company, Gretchen Christine. Her bags, cosmetics, clothes, and jewelry were often featured on the show, because hustlers gotta hustle, baby, am I right?
5. Alexis Bellino
You might recognize the model posing in all of the labels for Alexis Couture, and that is because it’s Alexis herself. The former Housewife started the clothing line while on the show and continues to sell a number of styles online.
6. Lizzie Rovsek
Lizzie came onto the show with a bathing suit line already up and running. This wife and mother of two never claimed to be a housewife, but she took advantage of the show to promote her business and show just how tough she was.
7. Ramona Singer
Another O.G. businesswoman from the start, Singer's got a ton of business ventures. The two that she is most famous for on the show, however, are the jewelry line, True Faith, and her always-present Ramona Pinot Grigio.
8. Bethenny Frankel
By far the biggest business success story to come out of the Housewives franchise, Frankel started a food and beverage company called Skinnygirl that turned into a multi-million dollar venture that she still runs. The number of products this company now features is enormous.
9. Sonja Morgan
Recently, Morgan launched a fashion line called Sonja Morgan New York that put on quite the show at New York Fashion Week. And, guess what? You can even order a number of the styles online.
10. Heather Thomson
This housewife took no prisoners, coming in with a long history in the music business and as the owner of Yummie Tummie, a line of shapewear that has since morphed into jeans, tanks, and tops.
11. Kristen Taekman
Halfway through her last season as a Housewife Taekman announced that she was setting aside her successful modeling career in favor of launching her own nail polish line. Now, Taekman totally rocks it with Pop of Color.
12. Kandi Burruss
In addition to her new restaurant venture, Burruss has her own sex toy line and party business, Bedroom Kandi.
13. Cynthia Bailey
After a long and successful modeling career, Bailey put her know-how to good use and started her own modeling agency in Atlanta, Georgia.
14. Phaedra Parks
This housewife has a few different business ventures — but definitely one of the weirdest is her mortuary company. It's definitely something new for the housewives, that’s for sure.
15. Teresa Giudice
Taking her love of Italian food and all things healthy to a business level, Giudice started her own line of Fabulicious cookbooks, recipes, and pre-made foods.
16. Kathy Wakile
Following in her cousin’s footsteps (and causing a lot of drama on the show), Kathy Wakile started her own dessert company, Indulge by Kathy Wakile. And if her desserts taste as good as they look, then they must be incredible.
17. Lisa Vanderpump
After a storied career in entertainment, Vanderpump has — with husband Ken — opened and run a number of wildly successful restaurants in the LA area, including SUR, the one featured on Vanderpump Rules.
18. Kyle Richards
Probably feeling super inspired by her successful costars, Richards recently opened up her own boutique, Kyle By Alene Too. And, sure enough, the clothes are hot. So hot, in fact, that they recently they opened a new store in Southampton to entice the New York clientele.
And you thought all these women had going for them was good looks and lots of drama.
Image: Bravo; Giphy (18)