Reality tv has completely changed our culture. We tune in every week to see what drama some housewife or sports/music groupie will bring. Some of those stars looked beyond their 15 minutes of fame, dreamt big and capitalized on branding themselves. Check out our list of the top five reality show women in business that managed to turn their reality fame into real fortune.
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1. Kim Kardashian
Kim is the epitome of cashing in on reality TV show fame. Not only did Kim K put herself on, but her entire family as well. Since her sex tape with R&B singer Ray J, she’s kicked off her sisters’ spin-off shows and has had all kinds of ventures going on. She owns Dash, a clothing boutique with her sisters, launched workout DVDs, an eponymous fragrance line, the ShoeDazzle website, a makeup line, created a clothing line for Bebe and nabbed Quick Trim and PerfectSkin product endorsements.
2. Bethenny Frankel
First staring on Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny quickly became a breakout star and received her own spinoffs–Bethenny Gets Married and Bethenny Ever After. That’s not where her prosperity stops. This reality star-turned-mogul has earned lucrative endorsement deals (Pampers, Bluefly, Hanes), a successful publishing franchise, a Body by Bethenny workout DVD, Skinnygirl extensions (including a shapewear line, a diet cleanse and weight-loss supplement), speaking engagements, a stint on ABC’s Skating With the Stars and, of course, that epic liquor deal with Fortune Brands’ Beam Global that scored her a reported $120 million. Clearly, reality TV agrees with Frankel.
3. Kandi Burruss
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss was famous before she joined the cast. She gained her fame from being in the R&B singing group Xscape, as well as a songwriter and producer. Kandi has written hits for TLC, Destiny’s Child, Pink, Usher, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey to name drop a bit. Since being added to the Housewives cast, she’s expanded her brand to include Kandi Koated Nights – her internet sex and relationship show – as well as her sex toy line, Bedroom Kandi. Bravo’s even greenlit Kandi’s own reality show, Kandi Factory.
4. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
Snooki took the world by storm when Jersey Shore debuted in 2009. She became the biggest star from the series and used that stardom to launch her own fuzzy slippers, sunglasses, nail polish line, perfume, jewelry and she’s also a New York Times bestseller with her books A Shore Thing and Confessions of a Guidette. Snooki also gets paid over $30,000 for her speaking engagements, over $20,000 for her club appearances and not to mention her salary from Jersey Shore ranged from $30,000-$100,000 per episode. Can we say cha-ching?!
5. Shaunie O’Neal
Shaunie was an entertainment correspondent for The Insider and Access Hollywood. Since her liberation from her ex-husband, Shaquille O’Neal, Shaunie’s been upgrading her career on her own merits. She’s the producer and cast member of Vh1’s hit reality show Basketball Wives, she also produces Football Wives–which helped to spawn her production company, Amirah, Inc. Shaunie’s looking into expanding her brand into more shows, movies, shoes and books. One of the biggest differences about Shaunie is that she uses her powers for good as well. She focuses on philanthropy through her REAL Models Foundation–a fundraising entity that focuses on displaced homeless women and children, and she recently became involved with the Hope Gardens Family Center, a part of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles.
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