VICKI GUNVALSON OF REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY By Andrew Moreno Posted: November 2007
As the new season of The Real Housewives of Orange County has officially started, we here at De Novo Magazine were interested in talking with the adorable and business-savy Vicki Gunvalson.
After become a nation wide hit with TV audiences, Gunvalson is comfortable with her celebrity and her ability to inspire business-owners and mothers, while staying positive. Her fans love her, and so do we.
For more information on Vicki, visit her Bio on Bravo TV.
Moreno: Vicki, let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up?
Gunvalson: I grew up in a suburb of Chicago called Mt. Prospect, and then moved to Palatine my freshman year of H.S (Went to Fremd H.S.).
Moreno: What was your childhood like?
Gunvalson: My childhood was amazing! I was the first born of 5 children, the “Victory” of the family, hence my name Victoria. My parents were married 5 years, couldn’t conceive children and so they adopted my 2 other sister’s which were twins, named Kathy and Kim. I was born 5 years later, my sister Lisa followed me 13 months later and then finally the boy Bill, when I was 5. We are a very close family.
Moreno: What did you parents do?
Gunvalson: My father owned a very successful construction company named “Steinmetz Acoustical.” We grew up very privileged, but all of us worked from the age 14 and on. My father instilled good work ethic in us. My mother was a homemaker, managing the house and 5 kids was a lot of work.
Moreno: Tell me about your first job?
Gunvalson: My first job was [at] Swenson's Ice Cream shop. Then onto Wendy’s for 1 year, and then to Jewel Food stores for 6 years ,where I met my first husband Mike.
Moreno: At what age did you encounter your sense for business?
Gunvalson: I think it was right at my first job! I loved the sense of making my own car payment at 16 years old and my father teaching me how to balance a checkbook and making bills out on a timely matter, and the importance of it.
Moreno: How do you evaluate success?
Gunvalson: I evaluate success when you know you are building something that makes you feel proud and happy. Whether it’s a home, a business, good morals in a family structure, or your financial success is when I feel like “I’m doing it…I think I’ve got it!”. Whatever you set your mind to and build towards it – that to me is success.
Moreno: Did you originally have any apprehension about doing the show?
Gunvalson: Absolutely! Actually, my son was the one who wrote into the producer to see if they would be interested in interviewing our family. I never thought it would be a real show. They actually were just looking to do a pilot and never even had a network that was interested in it when we were talking to them.
Moreno: I have read a lot of comments from your fans that see you as an inspiration, especially business women. How does that make you feel?
Gunvalson: Awesome! I am trying to be a mentor to them, to tell them that if they choose to go into my profession for a career, I will help them! It’s a great feeling!
Moreno: Has your celebrity led you to lose some of your privacy? How have you handled that?
Gunvalson: Yes, but so far the fans and strangers off the streets who stop me always are very gracious and complimentary. The privacy is somewhat gone – but the benefits so far have outweighed the negatives.
Moreno: Did you know the other housewives before the series?
Gunvalson: Just Lauri. She worked for me at the time they were interviewing me so I introduced them to her.
Moreno: How does reality TV work? If you ever need a private moment, can you ask the cameras to leave?
Gunvalson: Not really! In Colorado, when I surprised my son last year, I asked them to turn the cameras off when I was crying and they didn’t. It turned out to be one of the best moments of the season.
Moreno: Now into the new season, is it easier to deal with the negative commentary?
Gunvalson: I don’t look at the negatives, if someone has something not nice to say – I usually ignore it. I don’t have thick enough skin to let people’s comments bother me that I don’t know.
Moreno: What can your fans look forward to this season?
Gunvalson: I think this is going to be one of the best seasons yet. My son is looking at career choices for when he graduates HS, Jeana and I take several trips together with our kids, and my business growing. I wrote a book to assist other insurance agents who may be looking for an alternative way to sell insurance and to follow my success. It’s available on my website at www.vickigunvalson.com.
Purchase your copy of V. Gunvalson's Book.
Moreno: What’s your favorite film?
Gunvalson: Hope Floats
Moreno: What do you Google?
GUNVALSON: Restaurants in the areas. Actually not much! I’m too busy!
DeNovoMagazine.com thanks V. Gunvalson for spending a few moments with us. Be sure to watch the Real Housewives of Orange County, only on Bravo TV.