Exclusive Interview: ‘Real Housewives Of Orange County’ Star Gretchen Rossi Talks Charity, Fame And Friendship [PHOTOS]
Tell me about the Gretchen Christine Collection and the inspirations behind your designs?
The name of my handbag and cosmetic line was inspired by my first and middle name. I started out with my handbag collection after I got a lot of compliments on a Versace bag I won from a TV show. Many women would ask me about it, then get upset when I told them it was Versace, which made me realize there are many women who want access to high quality fashion, but without the high price. So I wanted to make beautiful custom bags that were affordable. The unique thing about my bags is that I design these from scratch. I work closely with a designer and we spend hours sourcing materials with manufacturers and hand pick the embellishments. Every little last detail is my involvement, as I am not one of these people that only puts their name on something. I am 100% behind everything I sell. When it came to my make-up line, I felt like something was missing in the market. I wanted high quality makeup that lasted all day long and gave good pigmentation, but I didn’t want to spend so much money. So that inspired me to create my own make-up line that enhances a woman’s natural beauty without the high price.
Much more from Gretchen.
Along with breast cancer charities, what other causes would you like to help out with someday?
Since Jeff’s passing, I’ve done a lot of work with the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in raising money for their charity and proceeds from my handbag collection will go to breast cancer foundations. But, I would love to attach with a group that encourages women empowerment or something that encourages women entrepreneurship. I think a lot of woman are confused of where to start or fear about financial stability, and I think it is important that other women entrepreneurs such as myself put out their message that it is okay to be scared, its normal, but there are so many resources and programs out there, especially with the internet. I attend a lot of seminars because I find it so important to educate myself from different points of views.
Are there any other products that you are in talks of launching?
I eventually hope to have a skin care line, because I’m so particular about my skin. I’ve had offers on perfume too, so I might possibly head down that road. I’m really not about sticking my name on everything. It really just comes down to the demand of the customers.
What are your fashion tips for this upcoming Spring?
It’s just nice to see color; it’s my favorite thing in fashion. Teals, cools, and orangey colors, almost like the southwestern colors or real bold colors. There are a lot of color blockings, and I absolutely love color blockings. I’m very much a color girl. I love the look of a teal dress with an orange belt or something fun and out of the box. I’m not a basic girl.
What are your fashion tips for men? Do you dress Slade?
Surprisingly, Slade is really good at picking things out for me, but he cannot dress himself to save his life! I tease him all the time about it. I love jeans on a guy, but not jeans and a t-shirt with tennis shoes. I like jeans with dress shoes and a vest or pull over sweater. I absolutely love turtlenecks, its weird, but it is the sexiest look on a man to me! I like men that dress up. Button down shirt with jeans and dress shoes, it’s a little casual but still sexy!
What does it mean to be a Real Housewife?
It depends who you are talking to, but I think the definition has changed over the years. In the past, it was the woman who stayed home, I don’t want to classified as that. Now, I think it means a lot of different things. Today, women work outside the home because they either have to or because they just want to have something of their own. The women back in the day never had the opportunity, to go after the things they wanted because they were required everyday for it be about the family. I’m excited that the 2012 housewife definition has evolved to what it has become.
What are your thoughts of fame? Do you consider yourself a celebrity?
Reality stars are the most fleeting type of celebrity out there. I don’t see myself as a celebrity. I see myself as a young, hard-working woman that took advantage of an opportunity. It trips me out a little, and I’m flattered of course, but I remind everyone that I’m just like them. I’m just excited that I’m able to possibly empower other people to do something good in their lives or create something new.
What is the biggest misconception of you in the show?
First, a lot of people perceived me as a gold-digger because I was engaged to Jeff and many thought I was just with him for his money. But in reality, I was a very successful real estate agent, who was among the top 7% internationally in my company. That doesn’t just come to you with out the hard work. But people thought I never worked and that Jeff provided me with everything when actually, I was the first woman in his life that didn’t want him for his money. I already had that stuff to happen to me. Another misconception is my relationship with Slade, where people think I don’t love him like he loves me. It gets hard on me! Slade and I are 100% 50/50 partners, we give to each other just as much as we take or expect back, and honestly this is the most amazing relationship I have been in. Slade is my best friend, my partner, and the person I hope to be spending the rest of my life with.
A new friendship with Tamra?
I think last season I allowed Tamra to rob me of the person I was by the stuff she was saying and it had to change. After going to church services and receiving insightful emails about forgiveness, it finally got to me that I needed to forgive and move on. We sat and talked and got to know more about one another, and she got to like me. And I think this is good for the audience too because they were probably over our whole situation. But you’ll definitely see the ups and downs between us this season.
What’s new with your music career?
I wrote a song called “Unbreakable” inspired by Slade’s son who is battling cancer. The overall message is: no matter what life throws you, nothing can break you. My life experiences such as losing my fiancé to cancer, being in the public eye, the drama with the other women, it all made me realize that I am unbreakable. The song will be releasing soon. I’ve been in the studio finishing the vocals and I got asked to perform at a few places, which I will announce soon.
So if you were a contestant on The Voice, who would be your coach?
Oh man, that would be one of the hardest decisions I would ever have to make! I’m such a fan of country and I love Blake, but when you have raw amazing talent like Christina, and Cee Lo who is fresh and trendy with popular music. Then there’s Adam who is just hot, but also an amazing musician. They are all just so talented. I don’t know, I’d have to pick them all!
What would a dream stress-free day be like?
I would hop on a private jet with my man and 2 dogs to my own private villa overlooking the water in Bora Bora! I would soak in a bathtub with rose pedals, sip on champagne, and just relax while I read an entrepreneur book. Believe it or not, reading that stuff relaxes me!
If you had a magic lamp, what would your only 3 wishes be?
Health and happiness in my friends and family, it sounds cliché but that’s the very first thing. Next, I want to be the next big thing within my business. I want my line to grow up to a level that people respect like Martha Stewart or Oprah. Last, I would just wish for a fun filled life, like with a happy family.
If you created a holiday, what would be and what would we celebrate?
Probably a national dog day, or anything dealing with animals. I love pets because they make people happy!
What is your biggest weakness?
I believe in the good in everybody and I think that hurts me a lot. I believe everyone is good, but in reality a lot of people are not that. There are a lot of people who are only out there for themselves.
What is one personal item you absolutely cannot live without?
This is really ridiculous, but my tanning solution! Either that or my mascara, it’s a girl thing. If you’re not pretty when you’re working, then its just not going work out!
What is a motto you like to live by and encourage others to follow?
Just go for it! It sounds very cliché but that is my motto. The best way to measure a decision is to think about when you are 80 years old looking back on your life. Are you going to say to yourself, ‘Why didn’t I just go for it?’ You only have one life, what do you have to lose? Even if you fail, it takes more guts to go out and try something rather than be stuck in a place that you’re not happy. It’s all about recognizing that you are the creator in your destiny. You have to make it happen because no one is going to hand it to you in a silver platter. You have to get the balls to go after what you want!
Be sure to check out the Gretchen Christine Collection and her new single Unbreakable on the official website, www.gretchenchristine.com.