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Are The Real Housewives "Performers?"

By Sophia Falbo

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Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise has not only expanded to practically every major city in the United States – and reached audiences across the globe – but it has also allowed over one hundred housewives the opportunity to become successful in endeavors beyond the show. Many women from the Real Housewives have launched careers in the entertainment industry as singers and dancers, despite their usual little to no talent. However, it’s their preexisting fame from their respective Real Housewives franchise that earns them money and success from the fans who already know and love them.

The entertainment industry is so selective and difficult to break into, that in many cases, actual performers who continuously train and devote their entire lives to their craft don’t ever get recognized or become professionals. This is in part due to celebrities, such as Real Housewives women, who typically have much less talent than trained performers, but gain fame because of their fan base. Attention economies, which are ways to display information that uses human attention as a source of wealth, in social media have become increasingly popular. Performers trying to become professionals in their craft are at a loss, because of Real Housewives entrepreneurs who use their social media platforms to gain money, success, and fame in attention economies.

The money and fame the Real Housewives women possess, both before they appeared on the show and after, is what actually supports and influences their ideas to be successful artists, specifically dancers and singers. There are many examples of Real Housewives women who have showcased their singing/dancing careers, both in episodes of their shows and through outside platforms, such as social media, to promote themselves. The way in which these women brand themselves feeds into attention economies, but not always in the most positive light for them . For example, the Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ’s) Melissa Gorga parades herself singing throughout much of season three and four. Although she may not be comparable to popular singers of that time, she includes numerous scenes of herself in the recording studio, performing in front of crowds, and clips of her finished products in RHONJ, to get herself out there as not just a “real housewife,” but as a singer. This in turn leads to more viewers watching RHONJ, to either mock or enjoy her performances, and Bravo’s viewership increases; a win-win situation for both Gorga’s singing career and Bravo’s revenue.

Viewers at home love watching the Real Housewives singing and performing storylines because it’s satisfying to watch someone with no talent get told by professionals, on camera, that they don’t have any talent. While this is a form of “making fun” of the Real Housewives women who are trying to break into the industry, it’s also feeding into their attention economies, because many episodes per season include clips of them performing in some capacity.

If it were not for the preexisting fame and social media verification statuses the Real Housewives women have from their respective shows, they most likely wouldn’t even have the opportunity to step foot in a recording or dance studio. It’s because they have a well-known name that allows them to be recognized, despite their low levels of talent. While allowing this new form of art to be viewed on a television screen or phone makes it more affordable and attainable, trained artists devote their entire lives to be marveled at in a more professional setting. While performers trying to break into the entertainment industry still struggle to be recognized, the Real Housewives artists will continue to be successful off of their preexisting platforms.

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