My daughter and I recently attended the Southern Women’s Show and met Vicki Gunvalson from the Real Housewives of Orange County (RHOOC). Originally, I wasn’t expecting too much since TV celebrities I’ve met in the past haven’t exactly wowed me. In watching RHOOC for many years, Vicki is portrayed as an independently successful & feisty woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, knows how to party and can be a little coo coo crazy if pushed to the edge. Nevertheless, I was intrigued to meet the woman behind the gates of the OC.
The show opened with Vicki sharing her success story and offering some heartfelt advice to women and business owners like myself. She literally started from the bottom up to create a life she loves. More importantly she knew early on in her career that helping others is her passion. Running a successful insurance agency, she not only helps families create solid financial plans but equally builds lasting relationships with her clients. A practice many entrepreneurs miss the mark on.
She went on to share the personal struggles she’s overcome being a working mom/wife coupled with the challenging role as one of the “Real Housewives”. Imagine juggling all those hats and being put on display for the world to see OR maybe you’re thinking she’s got it made and has everything going for her… money, fame, power… basically all the tools to live a fairytale life right???... Wrong!
As I listened to her stories, it occurred to me that Vicki is just as “Real” as the rest of us. She had an everyday life, with everyday problems before being thrown into the spotlight. What you see IS what you get with this lady despite the scripted storylines and twisted editing. She doesn’t try to be someone she’s not which is very refreshing and quite honestly part of her charm.
Originally, I didn’t plan on buying Vicki’s new book or staying for the signing after the show yet I found myself eagerly jumping in line to meet Ms. Woo Hoo up close and personal. Again, I wasn’t expecting anything above & beyond the other wham bam meet & greets I’ve been to. You know the standard welcome, friendly handshake, chicken scratch signature you can barely read and a celebrity picture that screams “hurry up I’ve got a plane to catch”!
To my pleasant surprise, Vicki was extremely generous with her time. She didn’t rush us along like a piece of cattle. There was sincerity in her voice as she thanked us for coming & the same respect was given to each person that followed. She looked me in the eyes as she answered my business questions and strongly encouraged me to get my name out there. I even slipped her my business card & suggested coming out to California to help her straighten out those "other" housewives lol (can’t knock a girlfor trying)!
The opportunity to personally connect with Vicki was an honor. She gave sound advice to her audience and warmly embraced those who patiently waited in line to see her. Don’t let the media fool you, this woman has a heart of gold! I was impressed beyond words by her vulnerability & willingness to share such raw emotion about the obstacles she’s faced throughout her journey. She’s my kind of gal because she makes NO apologies for who she is… like her or not.
The most interesting take away for me was learning that Vicki’s actually the one who came up with the show’s title “The Real Housewives”. She ruled out being a “Desperate Housewife” then instantly thought “I’m a REAL Housewife” and I believe that’s the overall message she wanted to convey.
Reality TV has become such a popular viewing choice for most. Maybe it’s because we crave the human interaction we lack in our daily lives. Technology is the new wave of communication rather than sitting down with someone face-to-face. Kind of sad really… but oddly enough taking a glimpse into such intimate details of people’s lives fills the void and gives us a warped sense of community. Funny how the drama captivates us so much that we can’t look away.
Will I keep watching RHOOC? Yea, probably lol I’m typically yelling at these ladies when their on-screen shit hits the fan because secretly I know they need (my) help to truly face reality. I have to admit it's been pretty cool meeting not one but two housewives so far because it makes the show a little more fun to watch (I met Bethenny Frankel 5 years ago). Whether you’re a fan or not, remember that the persona often hides someone’s true identity. Learn to suppress your judgment until you really get to know a person for who they are. Start building authentic relationships with people you meet rather than filling up your rolodex with useless contacts.
I define being REAL as letting your guard down and showing someone the heart of who you are. You’ll connect with people on a much deeper level when you take time to listen and fully engage with them. Have the courage to open up and unleash your true colors because that’s what makes you relatable. Equally, accept people for who they are… flaws and all. You may not like everyone you meet but focus on taking something positive away from your experience with them. I felt empowered, heard and supported in Vicki’s presence which left a lasting impression and for me, it doesn’t get more REAL than that!
“Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the REAL you.” ~Unknown