TV’s “Real Housewives of New York”… LuAnn de Lesseps, Alex McCord, Cindy Barshop, Kelly Bensimon, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and Jill Zarin speak onstage at the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City.
The Real Housewives of New York City have just embarked on their fourth season, and we know that Alex McCord has an eccentric hubby, Bethenny Frankel broke off from the franchise to become her own reality star, and Kelly Bensimon loves to be seen with beautiful people, but who were they in real, ordinary life before Bravo took over? They must have been someone before they were a charicature of themselves! Here is a rundown about the key real-person facts of each of our favorite (or, not…) ladies in NYC.
Alex takes charge on design projects like the renovation of Manhattan’s oldest camera store, Willoughbys. She also is an avid philanthropist in New York City, of course.
Side Projects: She’s a Model and Author! Alex recently signed with New York Model Management. McCord and her hubby wrote a child-rearing book, Little Kids, Big City — which was an irony considering their tykes run around like monkeys injected with Coke Zero all day.
Family: Hubby, Two sons, Two Cats & a Brooklyn Brownstone. Alex is married to red-head standout, Simon van Kempen, who formerly managed hotels and just recently started a social media company. They have two sons, Francois, 8 and Johan, 5. The Brooklyn-based fam has two cats.
Profession: Author (Like Every Housewife,) Wannabe Singer, “Manners Commentator”
Now that she’s no longer so busy being a stately, well-mannered, countess (whatever the heck that means), she has time to be an aspiring author and really bad singer. Ex-Countess Lesseps released an etiquette book in 2009, Class With The Countess, but then she admitted she didn’t actually write it. Smart. She also has a column with highly esteemed magazine OK! called “What Would the Countess Do.”
She also tried a whack at singing — why not? She began her dabbling in music with the dance single, Money Can’t Buy You Class. We bet that’s what she really thinks. She also appears on TV shows like Joy Behar and Larry King Live as a “manners commentator,” but we think the shows just see it is a farce.
Side projects: See profession above.
Family: Single Mom of Two With New Boyfriend
Formerly the wife of Ferdinand de Lesseps of Suez Canal royalty (he allegedly cheated on her), LuAnn has taken to new boyfriend, Jacques Azoulay, the CEO of Gabriella Wines Importer and Distributor. She’s been busy spending time in the Hamptons with the new beau and her children, Victoria and Noel.
“Good or bad, I know who I am, and I own it.”
Profession: Marketing For Zarin Fabric Warehouse
Jill is married to Bobby Zarin, who owns the home furnishing and fabric warehouse on the Lower East Side in NYC. Jill is in charge of the company’s marketing.
Side Jobs: Jill Zarin Enterprises, Real Estate and Hosiery Business
Jill, who went to Simmons College, has started her “brand,” which entails Jill Zarin Home (a bedding line,) her TV career, public speaking career, book tour, and charity work. She published an advice book with her mom and sister, Secrets of a Jewish Mother. With over 20 years of hosiery experience, Jill will be launching SWEEZ COUTURE in Spring 2011.
Family: One Daughter, One Son, Upper East Side
The Zarins live on the Upper East Side and until they sold it in 2009, had a summer house in the Hamptons. Jill has a daughter, Allyson, from a previous marriage and a son.
Profession: Owner of RMS Fashions
Ramona’s company buys excess goods from manufacturers and resells them to discount stores.
Side Jobs: Jewelry Line, Skin Care Line, Winemaking
The Fashion Institute of Technology graduate started a jewelry line, True Faith jewelry, which is sold on the Home Shopping Network and she also developed a skin care line, TruRenewal. The infamous pinot grigio afficinado has teamed up with a “75-year-old Italian wine company,” to make the “Ramona Pinot Grigio.” Believe it.
Family: One Daughter, Manhattan
Ramona and her hubby Mario have one daughter, Avery, who just went off to college. They live in Manhattan.
Profession: Former model, equestrian and magazine editor.Current social climber (fact.)
Side Jobs: Author, Costume Jewelry Line.
Bensimon wrote The Bikini Book,American Style and In The Spirit of the Hamptons. She contributes to Hamptons and gotham. Charity work. Has designed a costume jewelry line which is sold on the Home Shopping Network.
Family: Two Daughters with Ex Husband. Bensimon plits her time between NYC and East Hampton with Sea and Teddy, her daughters with her ex, famous photographer Gilles Bensimon.
“I have a taste for luxury, and luxury has a taste for me.”
Profession: Former Hostess
Before morgan married to the multi-millionaire Morgan family (ex-hubby was great-grandson of J. Pierpont Morgan,) she was a restaraunt hostess turned manager.
Side Jobs: Screenwriter, Climbing Out of Debt
Sonja is working on a screenplay that she calls a “Candance Bushnell society novel”…and just filed for bankruptcy, claiming to be $19.8 million in debt. That’s a side (or full-time) job of sorts?
Family: One Daughter.
With whom she decorates, gardens, skiis and visits France.
Profession: Founder, Completely Bare
Here’s a real professional. Barship astarted the nationwide beauty chain and hair removal spa, Completely Bare.
Side Jobs: Renovation, Enjoying Her Seldom Free Time
Cindy has a real serious business going, but when she has the time she is working on renovating her West Village digs, spending time in the Hamptons, and eating well in NYC.
Family: Single Mom of Two Girls