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Jill Zarin: Queen of New York

Jill Zarin: Queen of New York



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Published by heatherc123
Feature on Jill Zarin, star of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York City
Feature on Jill Zarin, star of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York City

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Published by: heatherc123 on Nov 18, 2008
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26 •
The Week Of October 21, 2008
 Jill Zarin at Zarin Fabrics
   P   h  o   t  o   b  y   N  o  a   h   S   t   i   t  e   l  m  a  n
The Week Of October 21, 2008 • 27
hen she teeters your way in her giant gold platformheels, it’s obvious that this woman is not like you. All the details — the freshly made-up glow, the pro-fessionally blown-out hair, the never-before-wornclothes, the diamonds as big as your
st — let you know that she isrich. Or famous. Or both. She sticks out a thin hand topped with aboulder of a ring. “Hi, I’m Jill.” Jill is Jill Zarin and on
The Real Housewives
of New York City
sheplays the quick-witted queen bee of New York City’s society set. Inother words, she plays herself.
 Real Housewives
is Bravo’s voyeuristic view into the private livesof wealthy New York women making their way among New York’ssharks and social X-rays. It’s a moneyed drama starring real-life,grown-up Gossip Girls, and Zarin is at the center of it all.The “docu-soap” premiered last March. It isn’t exactly a realityshow; it’s more a heightened version of the lives of 
 ve New York women and their families. “This is a docudrama, not a documen-tary. The show we put together is meant to entertain you for anhour,” Zarin explains on her of 
cial blog. It’s not the type of realityshow where contestants vie for cash or a record deal. And the cam-eras aren’t always on. “Everything is time and place agreed. They’renot going to follow me to the grocery store, where if it was the
 Real World 
, they do. It’s 24-hour cameras on you, which I could never do.I would never want to be exposed that way. I mean I’m still exposed,but I control my exposure much more so,” says Zarin.Today she’s decided to be
lmed at Zarin Fabrics, amid the richdamasks and brocades at the Lower East Side décor store she runswith her husband, Bobby Zarin. Signs in the Grand Street displaywindows advertise design tips from the
 Real Housewife
herself. Whilethe crew sets up, she
ips through Fashion Week coverage in the(now-defunct)
 New York Sun
with a publicist. “Does it have my name?”she asks.It seems impossible to feel comfortable with all the camerasaround, or maybe it takes some getting used to. According to Bob-by, it’s hard work, all the preparation and the clothes, but it’s Jill’sthing. “I’m on a need-to-know basis. I just
nd out an hour before,he says. When the cameras start rolling, Zarin becomes effervescent. Sheand her husband talk over each other in the way that couples thatare genuinely in love
nish one another’s stories. She even jokeswith the photographer about having Botox. “I don’t even think about [the camera crew], I don’t worry about where I’m standing or what angle … that’s their job.” The show is on in 146 countries,she says, “and if I thought that 10 million people were watching,I’d freak out.”Zarin’s wild ride started with a message on her answering machineafter she was spotted on David Patrick Columbia’s society Web page,New York Social Diary: “We are doing a reality show about glamor-ous New York City moms. Would you be interested? Call, if you are.”In the end, Zarin and four others — Countess LuAnn de Lesseps,Bethenny Frankel, Ramona Singer and Alex McCord — were cho-sen to be New York’s
 Real Housewives
Continued on page 29
By Heather Corcoran
 Jill Zarin, daughter Ally Shapiro and husband Bobby Zarin celebrates the premiereof 
The Real Housewives of New York City 
on March 3, 2008 at Touch in New York 
The Week Of October 21, 2008 • 29
Zarin is the sweetheart den mother of the crew, doling out adviceand making connections (“I’m a sharer,” she says. “I am; I do.”).Her “character’s” storyline includes her teenage daughter Allyson,her loveable husband Bobby, her wisecracking mother and bitchy“gay husband” Bruce who tags along on shopping sprees. (Bobby’sthree kids from a previous marriage decided not to be on the show.)Together Bobby and Jill run Zarin Fabrics, Bobby’s family business.She keeps busy with other projects too,like a line of healthy chocolates and anadvice column, Ask Jill. Along with Zarin, the
in-clude Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, a for-mer model with two kids and a perenni-ally out-of-town husband she calls TheCount. Bethenny Frankel, who’s notexactly a “real housewife,” is a thirty-something natural foods chef with a Wall Street boyfriend named Jason who just won’t propose(and who lost his job for participating in the show). Frankel is nostranger to reality TV; she was the runner up on Martha Stewart’s version of 
The Apprentice.
Then there’s Ramona Singer, the brash blonde who runs a busi-ness selling religious jewelry along with hunky husband Mario andwise-beyond-her-teen-years daughter, Avery, who sometimes can’thelp but be embarrassed. A penchant for causing drama earned Ra-mona the nickname “Rameana” and a tennis grudge match with Jillin the Hamptons.The newcomers to the scene are Alex McCord and her “Siamese-twin” husband Simon van Kempen, who is by her side every precipi-tous step up the social ladder. The McCord/van Kempen clan — Alex,Simon and their two young boys, Francois and Johan — don’t live onthe Upper East Side with the rest of the girls, rather in Cobble Hill,Brooklyn where the kids are taking Frenchlessons to prepare for kindergarten.This past April, the season wrappedafter
 ve months of 
lming and sevenrapid-
re episodes. The backstabbing, judging and drama was evident on theheated reunion show — van Kempenwas called a gay phony, Singer stormedout over McCord’s nude photos and Zarin wore a rhinestone-stud-ded T-shirt that proclaimed herself a member of “Team Jill” (partof the line she sells on her Web site, jillzarin.com).“Certainly there are things, here and there, that you can criticize,but I feel it was very accurately portrayed, for all of us, good andbad. And the fear was, could I really do a sophomore season andcome out okay? Because I think I came out okay season one,” shesays. “At
rst I said there’s no way I’m doing it. After I
nished sea-son one I said, ‘I’m done.’”
Queen of New York 
Continued from page 27 
Continued on page 31
Nothing changessince high school …it’s like adult
 Mean Girls
The girls get back together for “Reunion: Watch What Happens.” Left to right:Alex McCord, Jill Zarin, host Andy Cohen, LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer andBethenny Frankel
   B  r  a  v  o   P   h  o   t  o  :   B  a  r   b  a  r  a   N   i   t   k  e

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