Many reality stars pursue business ventures – though some more successfully than others. There are those stars like Nene Leakes whose Real Housewives of Atlanta fame catapulted her into A-list stardom with roles on Glee and Celebrity Apprentice. And then there are others who didn’t take advantage of their television opportunity and disappeared into reality TV oblivion with no Plan B to fall back on. We’re not talking about them. Here are fifteen reality stars who you may think have nothing going on but have established somewhat viable businesses when they’re not filming.
Toccara Jones (America’s Next Top Model) – Toccara’s Fabulous Workout
Former ANTM contestant Toccara Jones is well known for her warm smile and vivacious personality. She’s secured a number of hosting gigs at various events and always seems to be in the spotlight in one way or another. But in 2009, Toccara went in a different direction with the release of Toccara’s Fabulous Workout DVD which was appropriately created for “Real Size Women.” But though the workout video seems fabulous, the official website for the $19.99 DVD remains terribly inactive.
Towanda Braxton (The Braxtons) – The Secret Squirrel
Towanda Braxton has channeled her years of experience as her sister, Toni Braxton’s, assistant into a savvy business venture: The Secret Squirrel. Essentially a school, the Secret Squirrel trains individuals to become professional personal assistants. Once fully trained, these assistants are then placed with the executives, politicians, and celebrities who need their services.
According to Towanda, the Secret Squirrel is still in its early stages, having accepted just a few dozen applicants, which probably explains why it’s not better known.
Nicole Murphy (Hollywood Exes) – Open Hours Clothing Line
As Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife and a mother of five children, Nicole Murphy’s prominence in the past couple decades has never really involved business. But now, the self-proclaimed “momtrapreneur” has started her own fashion website meant to imitate a boutique being open 24 hours a day. Aptly named Open Hours, the boutique showcases an array of tops, bottoms, and dresses.
Tiara Hodge (Bad Girls Club) – Boojie by Tiara
After her stint on Bad Girls Club, Tiara Hodge partnered with Yagolicious Cosmetics to develop Boojie by Tiara – a mini-lipstick collection comprised of three lipsticks and one lip gloss. She christened the different lip colors with generic names, like “Boy Cozy” (pink); “Center of Attention” (gold); and “Life of the Party” (red), that are unspectacular sounding given that they belong to a brand called Boojie. When asked the meaning of such a title, Tiara explained that Boojie means “fun… fancy [and] filled with lots of confidence,” just like herself.
The lipstick line launched in 2011 but remains virtually unknown: probably because of poor marketing, though possibly because one lipstick will run you $17.95.
Sheree Whitfield (The Real Housewives of Atlanta) – She by Shereé
This past summer, former Real Housewife of Atlanta Sheree Whitfield announced, via Twitter, what seemed like the revival of She by Shereé on fashion e-commerce platform, Kitsy Lane. However, this revival was not what it seemed. Consumers aren’t actually able to buy any of – what they think are – Sheree’s designs without first becoming members of Kitsy Lane. Once becoming a member and visiting Sheree’s “boutique,” it becomes clear that nothing She by Shereé is actually for sale. The “boutique” consists of items by other designers that Sheree promotes – which is probably why this newest development of She by Shereé remains largely unknown.
Karlie Redd (Love and Hip Hop Atlanta) – Jade Redd, Karlie Redd Mixology, REDD Remy Couture
For Karlie Redd, Love& Hip-Hop Atlanta was the perfect platform to promote her rap career, but now that the show’s first season has ended, many of Karlie’s side hustles have gone unnoticed without the show to support them. There’s Jade Redd, Karlie’s signature lip gloss line; Karlie Redd Mixology, a watch line; and REDD Remy Couture, a line of premium hair.
The quietness of Karlie’s business ventures can, of course, be attributed to marketing – or lake thereof, but another problem seems to be that many of these ventures are more akin to licensing arrangements: existing because they bear Karlie’s name and not necessarily her interest.
Elease Donovan (Bad Girls Club) – Elease Donovan Swimwear
Like fellow bad girl Tiara Hodge, Elease Donovan took the entrepreneurial route after achieving fame on Bad Girls Club. But instead of developing a cosmetic line, Elease established Elease Donovan Swimwear: a swimsuit collection heavily inspired by sequins, animal prints and pin-up styles. According to the website, Elease’s motivation to found ED Swimwear arose from an inability to find a swimsuit that “fit her glamorous lifestyle.”
Shangela (RuPaul’s Drag Race) – ‘Jenifer Lewis and Shangela’ Web Series
Shangela was a clear favorite in seasons 2 and 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so it comes as no surprise that her star power would extend beyond the show. Shangela now performs, hosts and even guest stars on TV shows. But did you know that the diva has also co-starred in a four-part comedic web series alongside legendary actress Jenifer Lewis? – I hadn’t.
Tabatha Coffey (Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, Shear Genius) – Book Deal
Tabatha’s novel, It’s Not Really About the Hair: The Honest Truth About Life, Love, and the Business of Beauty is about her fascinating life, and the many experiences that molded her into the outspoken virtuoso we see on Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. Although writing a book was a deviation from the norm for the Australian hair styling guru, the novel received mostly great reviews.
Brooke Bailey (Basketball Wives LA) – Licensing
As the newest addition to Basketball Wives LA, Brooke is not only enjoying her newfound fame but also putting it to good business use. Her licensing brand Touche Moi provides her the opportunity to put her name on a variety of products in categories such as apparel, cosmetics, accessories and jewelry. Many high-profile individuals benefit from licensing arrangements, which may be why many people are unaware of Touche Moi.
Teresa Giudice (The Real Housewives of New Jersey) – Fabellini
Teresa Giudice has done more than write books, birth daughters, and cause controversy on the Real Housewives of New Jersey; she’s also launched Fabellini – a sparkling wine drink. Fabellini is a low calorie Bellini that comes in two flavors, peach and raspberry.
The fact that Teresa’s Fabellini is so poorly known is probably due to it being overshadowed by many of Teresa’s other business ventures.
Ahmad “Real” Givens (Real Chance of Love, I Love New York) – Real Silk
Many of us may remember “Real” as one half of the brother duo – Real and Chance – that appeared on a number of VH1 programs. Off TV, the brothers pursued other business ventures that were mainly associated with their Stallionaires brand. However, Real took advantage of his long, silky mane and founded Real Silk – a hair care system that supposedly replaces moisture loss making hair manageable and shiny.
Jennifer Williams (Basketball Wives) – Project Save the World
Anyone who’s watched the original Basketball Wives series is probably well aware of the existence of both Jennifer’s Lucid Cosmetics line and Flirty Girl Fitness studio. But unless you’ve taken a special interest in Jennifer, you may not know that Jennifer’s business portfolio includes some charity. The BBWs star co-founded Project Save the World with the intent of taking on various charitable projects like breast cancer and youth violence.
Jenni “Jwoww” Farley (Jersey Shore) – Perfume and Shimmering Moisturizer
Although Nicole “Snooki” and Mike “the Situation” are the highest paid and most recognized Jersey Shore cast members, the others have had no problem building large fortunes and embarking on business ventures of their own. One such venture is Jenni “Jwoww” Farley’s perfume and shimmering moisturizer business. The perfume boasts a fresh, fruity scent and the moisturizer a gold shimmer that that leaves the skin glowing.
Mychael Knight (Project Runway) – MAJK Fragrance
Many of us knew that Project Runway fan favorite Mychael Knight had started his own fashion line after the show in 2006, but not so many of us knew that Mychael also developed a perfume two years later. MAJK is a unisex fragrance described by Mychael as being a combination of “sweet berries and hot musk.”
It may have been predicted that MAJK would do well given its successful launch party back in ’08, yet Mychael’s most notable endeavors remain those that are fashion related.