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Kathy Wakile, Teresa Giudice, host Andy Cohen, Caroline Manzo, Melissa Gorga. (Photo by: Andrei Jackamets/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images)
Kathy Wakile, Teresa Giudice, host Andy Cohen, Caroline Manzo, Melissa Gorga. (Photo by: Andrei Jackamets/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via AP Images)
Posted: Monday January 9, 2012, 3:18 PM
Reality Entrepreneurs: Sure they're 'housewives,' but also authors, singers and more
By VIRGINIA ROHAN of The Record

Julia Child's first publisher twice rejected her manuscript for "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," which, of course, became a game-changing bestseller when eventually published by Alfred Knopf in 1961 — seven years after its original targeted release date.

Teresa Giudice's best-selling "Skinny Italian" cookbook hit the market on May 4, 2010 — not quite a full year after the May 12, 2009 launch of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," the Bravo series on which she became famous for angrily flipping a table.

Being on a reality show can clearly open doors for anonymous hopefuls. And we're not just talking about shows like "American Idol" or "The X Factor" — which are designed to launch nobodies with talent — but programs on which apparently average people harbor hidden dreams of becoming, say, a chef, a baker or a jewelry-maker.

"RHONJ" is a great example of this. Here's a look at how the cast members of New Jersey's second most infamous reality show have parlayed their TV exposure into eponymous products, projects and even other reality shows.

  • Teresa Giudice: After "Skinny Italian" (Hyperion), the hot-tempered Montville mama came out with "Fabulicious! Teresa's Italian Family Cookbook" (Running Press), which also became a New York Times bestseller. A third cookbook, "Fabulicious: Fast & Fit!" is slated for release in May. And just last week, NBC announced that Giudice will be on the next edition of Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice," debuting Feb. 12.
  • Melissa Gorga: When Giudice's sister-in-law joined the show last season, she was candid about her hope that it would launch her singing career. In August, the Montville wife and mother released a single, "On Display," and she reportedly has a four-song EP slated for release.
  • Caroline Manzo: Her handbag line hasn't come to fruition, but her family's Paterson catering facility, The Brownstone, has marketed its own sauces (marinara, vodka and tomato basil), which are now being sold at some ShopRite stores, Corrado's in Wayne and other food stores.
  • Dina Manzo: After leaving "Housewives," she landed her own HGTV show, "Dina's Party." Manzo, who like sister Caroline, lives in Franklin Lakes, is also "currently creating her own line of spiritually infused home accessories [and] has her own line of costume jewelry," according to her official website.
  • Danielle Staub: In May 2010, a few months before Bravo announced the then-Wayne resident had been fired from "RHONJ," Simon & Schuster published Staub's memoir, "The Naked Truth." Last year, she starred in a food-related VH1 reality series called "Famous Food."
  • Kathy Wakile: Last month, she launched her "Goddess Eye" jewelry collection at Raffsonni Galleries in The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack. Who knew that the ace baker had a knack for bauble design? (She actually collaborates with Telesto Designs in New York City.) Wakile, who lives in Wayne, reportedly also has a prepared cocktail and a dessert line in the works.

Email: rohan@northjersey.com

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