“Real Housewife” Vicki Gunvalson on castmates, Wines by Wives and what she’s learned from gay men

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Vicki Gunvalson from "Real Housewives"

Vicki Gunvalson from "Real Housewives"With summer here, a new season of The Real Housewives of Orange County is in full swing. Cookie was lucky enough to sit down with the actual “first” Housewife, Vicki Gunvalson along with her business partner in Wines By Wives, Chris Gravagna. Gunvalson talked about her Wines By Wives celebrity wine club, why the gay boys love the Housewives so much and what’s next for her in Orange County.

How is Wine By Wives going?

Vicki: Fantastic! We came up with the concept and Chris spearheaded it. It’s really all about reaching out to our fan base and letting them have a piece of us. The wine club is affordable for most people who enjoy wine – it’s $39 a month – and they love having it sent to their home. Wine clubs are really popular right now also.

Chris: The email that we get from the customers on a daily basis thanking Vicki, Tamra and some of our new wives is really amazing. It really makes the fans feel like they are part of not only Vicki’s life, but any of the other celebrities that we have working with us.

Wine clubs are really popular right now, as are the Housewives. Vicki, what do you think it is about the show that really makes gay men gravitate toward it?

Vicki: I think the gay culture is fantastic. They really love fashion, they have great style and I love my David, who has worked with me for seven years. He has taught me so much about the gay community and how amazing they are. There should be no discrimination at all, they love to love, just like anyone else. As for the wines, the boys love socializing and their wines. I’ve had nothing but a great experience with the community and have learned so much.

You actually have a career in insurance, as opposed to a lot of the other women who don’t work, or have had careers spawned from exposure on the show. Is it hard having a career with a group of women who can’t relate to that?

Vicki: It’s extremely hard! I have to juggle two full- time careers, plus Wines By Wives, plus my family. That is, though, why I was chosen Season 1 to be cast. I was unique for Orange County, as I went to every cheerleading event for my daughter, every track meet for my son and I still was the breadwinner. I think I was able to justify myself that way, as I don’t really socialize with a lot of women in Orange County. I really am a guy’s girl. I have a ton of guy friends. That’s why in an episode recently [where former Housewife Lauri Petersen accused Vicki on camera of having extramarital affairs] I was embarrassed and humiliated as being portrayed in any other way. I respect myself and my body and present myself as a class act at all times. I gravitate toward men because they get me; a lot of women want to cut me down. Having more friends that are men than women does not mean that I’m being intimate. Just to give you some perspective, I finished in the top 4 percent in the world for insurance sales in 2012 in the midst of getting divorced and filming a reality show. I’ve always been an all- business type of person.
Chris: One of the things attracting me to working with Vicki is that she is the real deal. She’s a real businesswoman. We were friends first, and we have no problems separating business and friendship. She’s an amazing entrepreneur, and I enjoy being her business partner.

You recently had a new “Housewife” join the “Wines By Wives” roster. Can you tell us who it is?  

Chris: Absolutely! We are happy to announce that Kathy Wakile from The Real Housewives of New Jersey is our newest Housewife to be a Wines By Wives ambassador. She and her husband, Richie, are fantastic! We try to see who the best person to represent the brand will be, and Vicki, Tamra and I agreed that Kathy would be perfect.

Do you think that the fighting with fellow cast member, and fellow Wines By Wives coworker, Tamra Barney makes it harder to establish the company as a legitimate company and not just a prop for the show?

Vicki: I’m not proud of the fact that Tamra and I had some disagreements, and it did not affect our business. When it comes down to it, I’ll fold before I let it affect the business. I know that during one argument, I had a prearranged event with friends and co- workers, which everyone was aware of, including Tamra. The drama on the show does creep over into our business, but that will happen with any business.

Vicki, you have really taken some harsh criticism from your fellow castmates during the past couple seasons. Do you think you want to continue this way?

Vicki: No way! I’d be a glutton for punishment. I’m addicted to my own reality. I don’t even know what’s going to happen to myself next year, so I’m not gonna quit now!

For more visit  www.winesbywives.com/  and www.vickigunvalson.com.