If you’ve listened to our podcast, WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™, you no doubt know that I’m obsessed with Bravo, and specifically with the Real Housewives franchise. So, it was a particular thrill to welcome Gina Kirschenheiter, star of The Real Housewives of Orange County, to the show. We recorded our episode live in front of an audience in the beautiful Allure store in Soho as a joint celebration with the launch of my new book, Facing the Seduction of Success. It was a fabulous party and a chance for me to forge a new friendship with someone I admired.
While the situations presented in The Real Housewives shows are clearly contrived, they reveal a great deal about character as the cast reacts to their circumstances, their stresses, and each other. What impresses me about Gina is how she manages to face these challenges in an open, vulnerable, and authentic way that obviously resonates with the show’s viewers. She really has her head on straight about the show — what she loves about it, what she doesn’t love about it, what she’s learned from it, and what her life after the show might look like.
Following up on that last point, Gina has become an entrepreneur, starting a skincare line called CaraGala. A lifelong beauty junkie, she was inspired by planning her next act after RHOC while dealing with personal skin issues that arose from the stress of moving from New York to Los Angeles. (Fun fact: the name is a blending of Gala apples from New York and Cara Gala oranges from California, reflecting her coast-to-coast journey.) Unlike many celebrities who simply license their name to someone else’s products. Gina wanted to create the line from the ground up, learning and running the business in a hands-on way. She shared how scary it has been to jump into the deep end of the very big beauty pool without knowing anything and how amazing it has been to learn it all. While she loves the show, she’s excited about growing CaraGala, especially because she believes in the products so passionately. As she told me, “I wanted to walk out of the house without makeup on and feel good about that,” Now she can.
Gina poignantly shared the scary side of her celebrity, talking about how it feels to bare her soul in front of millions of viewers and how much effort it takes to resist getting sucked into the celebrity hype that’s all around her. She ignores social media, both the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. At her essence, she’s just a down-to-earth girl-albeit a pretty glamorous one — and a single mom taking care of her family. She’s open, charming, and hysterically funny, too.
I think there are lessons for all of us in Gina’s story, lessons on being true to yourself no matter what others say and what is going on around you. It takes a lot of effort to shut out the noise, but Gina has figured out how to do it and now enjoys the journey.
Listen to the WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ Podcast Episode 211 featuring Gina Kirschenheiter.