Former Real Housewives of New York star Jill Zarin is really good at two things…tooting her own horn and extending her fifteen minutes–much to the chagrin of all of us!  While Jill loves talking about how she wants to stay out of the spotlight and focus on her businesses, she can't seem to get all things Bravo and RHONY from spewing out of her mouth.  

This time around she's chatting ad nauseam about her reasons for agreeing to do the show which range from wanting more family time to free publicity for her business ventures.  I'm going to let you determine which one you think was the most important to her.  Jill also waxes poetic about being one of the pioneers of the Housewives franchise, and she gives stellar advice on how to everyone can reach their goals.  Sit back, relax, and take a Jill pill…


I think my favorite part of this story is that Jill isn't speaking with her regular media outlets.  Instead, she's talking to one of the most respected money magazines in the nation.  Do what?  That's right!  Forbes is interested in all things Zarin.  Check out her interview below!

How did you originally get involved with The Real Housewives of New York and how did it change your life, personally and professionally?

Honestly? Hollywood called. There was a photo of Bobby, Ally, and me on a society website called newyorksocialdiary.com that a producer from a production company had seen. They literally called information at 411 (seems so archaic now!) and left a message on my answering machine asking if I was interested in doing a reality show based on “glamorous” Manhattan moms and their children. Who knew that when I said “yes” my life would change forever.

I did the show for 3 reasons. The first – to expose Zarin Fabric Warehouse to the entire world. Zarin [Fabrics] has been in business since 1936 selling discount drapery and upholstery fabric and hardware to the NY Metro area. This was an opportunity to expand our business worldwide using our website and UPS. The tourist buses in NYC now include Zarin as a tourist stop and we have customers come in from all over the world to meet us. Did it help our business? Yes. Very much so. We also started Skweez Couture, a better shapewear and fashion hosiery solution for women to look and feel their best all day long. Jill Zarin Jewelry is my newest venture and I have personally been able to achieve professional and financial successes that would not have been possible without being on a hit TV series for 4 years.

Both Jill Zarin Jewelry and Skweez Couture are available at Lord and Taylor, Macy’s and The Bon Ton as well as online stores like herroom.com and specialty stores all over the country.

The second reason was to create the most expensive home video you can make! Of course, it didn’t ALL turn out the way I anticipated, but our children, grandchildren and future Kamen/Zarin generations can hear and see their family up close and personal one day.

The third reason — To have fun and work with my family. My sister, radio host Lisa Wexler, and mom, Gloria Kamen, wrote “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” published by Penguin Publishing. We went on talk shows like the TODAY Show and still get requests for personal appearances around the country. In fact, we just did one in Westchester and are going to South Carolina next month to talk about motherhood, fame and anything else the audience feels like discussing.

I couldn’t have been more lucky…fame and fortune knocked on my door and I answered it!

You’ve been able to leverage your fame to create a jewelry collection. What was the process of taking your brand from TV to a branded product line?

The good part about being on one of the most successful Cable TV franchises in the early days was there was less competition. If you were driven, smart and creative you had a chance to create your own brand and integrate into the Reality Show while no one was really paying attention. The producers needed story lines and we were able to “sell” them that this was our reality. But nothing comes without hard work.

As a full time mother and wife and now a reality TV star, there wasn’t much time for me to do much else. I knew if I didn’t take advantage of the “free” advertising I was getting on the TV show, I would regret it later. I studied retail management in college and worked for one of the most successful retailers in the country, Jeff Kantor, president of Macys.com. I learned a lot from him and others that I worked for along the way and parlayed my contacts and experience into what is now SKWEEZ COUTURE and JILL ZARIN JEWELRY. There have been many reality stars since I was on RHONY start and fail at businesses because being on a TV show does not guarantee success, it is only one piece of the puzzle.

What is your best advice to people who want to get on TV and make it big like you?

It’s funny you asked. So many people have asked me the same question and it isn’t simple to answer. I thought about how I could help people and share some of the knowledge I have learned and earned along the way. I have connected with UDEMY.COM to teach classes from” How to be your Own Publicist,” to “How to get on TV without trying.” I get thousands of emails a year and hope this helps answer many of the questions I get asked.

What are your 2013 goals and what are your recommendations to people who are trying to establish their own goals or meet them?

My goals are always the same. I want to experience as many “firsts” as possible. I always try to include charity as part of my compensation or give a percentage of what I earn to charity. I have always lived by “To those much is given, much is expected” and I am proud to share that I have passed that on to my twenty year old daughter. If you don’t take “NO” for an answer, then you will NEVER fail.

What are your top three pieces of career advice based on your life experiences?

1) Have a Mentor.

2) You won’t meet anyone sitting in your office or home…go to as many networking events and parties as possible.

3) Always send a Thank You note!

I just don't know what is my favorite part of this interview.  It may be a three-way tie among Jill's time on RHONY serving as a video scrapbook for generations to come, working into the conversation that she worked under the president of Macy's, and her career advice.  Jill is such a jack of all trades!


[Photo Credit: Twitter]



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