Find out what your favourite Real Housewives did before they were on television.
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Plenty of Real Housewives were waitresses along the way to their more-permanent careers, including RHOA's Nene Leakes, who has said she loved working as a waitress at Sizzler.
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There have been rumours of several Real Housewives working as strippers in the past, but Nene is one wife who’s not the least bit ashamed of her years dancing under the names Holly and Silk. “I was putting my son through private school. I knew how to talk game to get the money from the guys.” she told E!
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Kim: Cocktail Waitress
Nene’s former co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann also worked at a strip club, but not on the stage. Kim was a cocktail waitress at the Cheetah Club in Atlanta, where she reportedly used the pseudonym “Barbi.”
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Kim says she was also once a registered nurse – but the career was a subject of much debate on RHOA, when several of her cast mates thought she was lying about that pre-Housewives career.
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Over in Jersey, Melissa Gorga worked as a bartender at a strip club, too. Back when Melissa first joined the show, there were rumours she used to strip, but she insisted she just poured the drinks.
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Erika: Cocktail Waitress
RHOBH's Erika Girardi was a cocktail waitress, too, at a restaurant and bar in Los Angeles that was frequented by her now-husband Tom. Tom was a regular at the restaurant and eventually Erika announced to him that she was single and handed over her number. He called, they started dating, and soon enough they were married.
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Before RHONY's Bethenny was running her Skinnygirl empire, she had a whole series of odd jobs, including being a nanny for none other than Paris and Nicky Hilton. Bethenny met fellow Housewife Kyle Richards at a restaurant she worked at and Kyle hooked her up with her sister Kathy (Paris and Nicky’s mom), who was looking for someone to take care of her girls.
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Bethenny: Production Assistant
Another of Bethenny’s odd jobs during her LA years before relocating to New York City: production assistant. She worked as a PA on Saved by The Bell.
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It’s easy to forget now, but when we were first introduced to Bethenny on RHONY, she was just a budding natural foods chef. While she’s since shifted to cocktails – and a growing line of weight-conscious snacks – Bethenny was primarily a cook before the show, and even had her own pre-Skinnygirl line of healthy baked goods called BethennyBakes.
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Before she was sipping soup through a straw on RHONJ, Siggy supported herself during her college years as a waitress at TGI Fridays.
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While many Housewives were once waitresses, RHOBH's Yolanda Hadid worked in the back of a restaurant as a dishwasher. Yolanda’s father died when she was just seven, so she went to work at a young age in Holland to help support her family.
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Camille: Club MTV Dancer
Lots of Real Housewives have been actors and models, but Camille Grammer is the only who was strictly a dancer. Camille danced for Club MTV, MTV's modern take on American Bandstand in the late '80s. The dance show was Camille’s big break in the business.
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Long before moving to the OC, Vicki worked for her dad’s construction company keeping the books and managing payroll. Later, after she divorced her first husband, she founded her own company, Coto Insurance.
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Along the way, Vicki also had a pitstop behind the counter at Wendy's, and also worked for a grocer called Jewel Food Stores.
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Luann’s first job was working as a secretary, but that didn’t pan out so she studied nursing and became a Licensed Practical Nurse at a rest home. Around the same time, the RHONY star was also a model.
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Luann: TV host
Before settling in New York full-time, Luann lived in Italy and briefly worked as a TV host. Her first gig was impersonating Sharon Stone during an award show, then she was hired to co-host a soccer show called Pressing.
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Pre-Housewives fame, Sonja was a hostess at San Pietro, an upscale Italian restaurant in New York. She was hired to answer phones, but she became something of a marketer for the restaurant, and became close to its well-connected clientele (including her future husband, John Morgan) – so much so that a magazine profile from 1994 dubbed her the “Queen of the New York Power Lunch.”
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Jill: Supermarket cashier
Before decamping for New York, Jill Zarin worked at a supermarket called Key Food in her Long Island hometown of Woodmere. Once she became a Housewife, she returned to the store for a segment for the Nate Berkus Show in which she filled in so a longtime employee could have the day off work for her birthday.
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Carole was a journalist and producer for many years at ABC, long before her RHONY days. She won three Emmy awards for her work there and went on to write a New York Times Best Seller, What Remains.
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LeeAnne: Carnival worker
LeeAnne has no shame in roots at the carnival. She ran games as part of the carnival arcade starting when she was just three years old. By the time she was 11, she had adults on the carnival circuit working for her.