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The Untold Story of “Reality Stars” monetizing their TV Success by Launching Businesses – EOTM Awards

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By Carla B.

The untold story of reality stars who are able to monetize their TV success by launching profitable businesses, product lines and even media empires that easily outlast their 15 minutes of fame.


Reality TV stars – they’re celebrities, yes, and a handful are paving the yellow brick road – if you will… for future reality stars, leveraging their television success creating entrepreneurial gold.

Kim Kardashian - Photo credit: Getty

First came The Real World and Survivor, followed by The Apprentice, American Idol, The Bachelor, Rock of Love, Fear Factor, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, X Factor and we can’t forget all those Real Housewives, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, amongst others.

As you may have noticed “reality stars turned entrepreneurs” don’t always make the headlines like the ticky tacky whimsical drama of reality TV, which just so happen thrives on shrill outbursts and general debauchery.

Bethenney Frankel - Getty Image

Tami Roman - Photo Credit:

In an effort to turn the tables a bit we decided to feature 7 reality TV stars that own business empires and are actively creating a legacy outside of reality TV.

Grammy winning singer Toni Braxton recently shared her feeling about not wanting to be labeled a ‘reality star,’ while visiting Good Morning America to promote a Lifetime movie she was starring in.

“I am capable of doing something much deeper. I hate to have reality star behind my name. That’s just not what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Braxton said.

Check out our list below of entrepreneurs leaving their mark in the business arena. (Kim Kardashian, Gretchen Rossi, Mimi Faust, Tami Roman, Patti Stanger, Farrah Abraham and Bethenny Frankel)

And first there was Kim Kardashian, reality TV celebrity, yes, but that’s just a tiny facet. Kim is the epitome of cashing in on reality TV show fame. According to The Wall Street Journal the soon to be mommy is” a brand”. Her portfolio features perfume, a calendar and a clothing line.

Bridging reality TV fame and smart commerce isn’t easy, but Kim can definitely swim with the sharks…whereas quite a few others have been eaten alive. {I’m just saying}

Real Housewives of Orange County star Gretchen Rossi  is founder of Gretchen Christine Cosmetics and Gretchen Christine Collections which has almost everything a woman could ever need; from  handbags, jewelry, shoes, clothes, dresses, hats, swimsuits, day-wear, accessories and more. According to her site the diva’s collections are designed with the everyday woman in mind.

Gretchen Rossi - Photo credit: Getty

Mimi Faust - Photo credit: Facebook/Mimi Faust

Mimi Faust, star of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is a dedicated mother and businesswoman. According to Faust’s website the multi-faceted entertainer is “currently developing several brands,” which includes a children’s fashion line inspired by her daughter. Faust is also designing a home line to incorporate with her 12 year estate & commercial cleaning service, which is currently being restructured and will re-open in the fall of 2013.

VH1’s “Basketball Wives,” star Tami Roman is the national spokesperson for NV Clinical, a dietary supplement that promises “quick weight loss.” Roman recently launched TR Love Cosmetics line. She also owns a consignment boutique and spearheaded an interior decorating firm in partnership with her mother.

Patti Stanger, well “she knows” business! The entrepreneur is the star and executive producer of Bravo’s hit docu-series The Millionaire Matchmaker. She is also the founder of  The Millionaires Club which was launched in 2000. According to Stanger’s website she works with clients on an individual basis and coaches the particular member through each stage of the dating process by providing them with highly tailored feedback every step of the way. Stanger and her highly trained staff personally match every member according to their exact preferences and requirements, and follow up with each one on a regular basis. The club also works closely with leading psychologists, relationship counselors, date coaches, hypnotherapists and image consultants, as well as with a variety of top-notch personal trainers and hairstylists.

Patti Stanger -- Getty Image

Besides being one of the stars on MTV’s “16 & Pregnant,” Farrah Abraham is a doting mother of a 3-year-old daughter. After receiving a dual degree in culinary management and arts the budding entrepreneur decided to help her family launch their recipe   – MOM&ME Italian Hot Pepper Sauce. The garden fresh family sauce is available in Hy-vee grocery stores. Abraham is also a published author.

Farrah Abraham - Photo credit: Farrah Abraham Online

Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel is the CEO of Skinnygirl® Cocktails. A tasty beverage “without the extra calories. You can drink Like a Lady™ w/ Low-Cal Wine, Vodka & Ready-to-Serve Cocktails ,” according to her website. Frankel just recently released three new flavors to the line; Skinnygirl Moscato, Skinnygirl White Cherry Vodka and Skinnygirl Mojito.

Mimi Faust, Tami Roman, Gretchen Rossi, Patti Stanger and Bethenny Frankel are “Entrepreneur of the Year” nominees at the 2013 EOTM Awards. Farrah Abraham is in the running for “Outstanding Reality Star.”

Click here to view the complete list of savvy Entrepreneurs.



VH1′s “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” Season 2 Trailer

Helicopter crash kills 3 while filming reality TV show

Love And Hip Hop: Atlanta – Season Finale – Karlie Redd

On the Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” finale, Karlie Redd sits in a bar and flirts with rapper Roscoe Dash, who tries to size up her dating situation, while also trying to put a smile on her face. Karlie is still on the quest to rise to the top as an artist but can’t seem to keep things all business….in an arena where couch or pillow talk… is still the ‘it’ factor.

Credit: VH1 - Karlie Redd and Roscoe Dash

  “I’m not easy, I take it at ease,” Karlie Redd says. However a little later the camera pans in as she offers up a confessional on her thoughts on Roscoe Dash, “I think Roscoe Dash is sexy, there’s nothing wrong with flirting,” she adds.

Sipping on drinks, Roscoe asks Karlie if she has a man or is single. Karlie’s response is somewhere in between.

During last week’s episode of the reality series, Benzino opened up about about his love for Karlie and his alleged anger issues, in which he was  pretty forthcoming.
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“Maybe I might have had anger issues in some instances,” said Benzino. “Maybe I may get emotional, but that’s with all my emotions. If I love somebody, I love hard. If I’m sad, I’m real sad. I think a lot of the issues with me and her with the anger was probably not so much as much as it was frustration. Trying to make this relationship work within all the cameras and within her and her career, it was more frustration than it was anger, to be honest.”

The “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” season finale aired tonight at 8 pm, with the reunion special airing next Monday.

Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta – Karlie Redd makes Benzino cry

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On "Love & Hip Hop - Atlanta" episode 7 - Benzino serves Karlie with breakfast in bed. -- Photo credit: VH1

On episode 7 of VH1′sLove & Hip Hop – Atlanta,”  hip hop media executive, Benzino decided to highlight his sensitive side when he brought…’breakfast to the bed’…sort to speak.

The hip hop mogul did indeed prepare  Cash Money artist/reality star Karlie Redd breakfast in bed. He also gave the special woman in his life a key to his mansion, making it known that he was ready to settle down.

Now REWIND about 7 minutes…

Redd met with her manager, Malcom Miles, and opened up on how she felt about Benzino, who in turn told her to basically ‘fall out’ of love and focus on her career.

She then had a conversation with her man, breaking down how Miles felt his [Benzino's] image within the industry reflected poorly on her career, and how if she continued to entertain this relationship, it would kill her career.

“I had a talk with Malcolm, he suggested that I stay hot, and you know, Benzino’s a little cold.”

“Benzino’s cold?” responds Benzino.

“He’s just giving me some advice about what his artist should do,” responds Karlie.

“What does this have to do with us? Not everything is about the industry …love is about what you think,” said Benzino.

Benzino opened up about how there is a fine line between love and the hip hop music industry, and that Karlie needs to find that fine line before she ends up destroying her relationship with him.

“You gotta make a decision, Karlie,” Benzino says, crying in bed alongside Karlie.

“Because I can’t live my life like this,” he adds.

How sweet…I think. What are your thoughts? Leave in comments below.