1. They have to audition first.
Not just anyone can be a real housewife. In fact, there is an extensive interview process before each lady is cast for the season. In addition to “the look” each cast member is tested rigorously through on-screen tests and home interviews.
To top it off, housewife king, Andy Cohen, gives the final approval. He’s like the real-life Charlie from Charlies Angel’s.
2. Preferably, they need to already be friends with the housewives.
To keep things at least a little real, the auditioning housewives must have actual previous friendships with some of the established housewives.
Otherwise, the new girl would just get the imposter edit for the whole season! Who even is she? Does she even go here? Countless questions - the girls would be in hysterics!
3. Everything in their life can be used by production.
There is no stone left unturned while filming, any situation in the housewives’ personal lives is totally on the table for production.
Family problems, marriage problems, your mom’s dog’s sister’s affair - It’s all talked about while filming.
4. Their private cell phone conversations can be used on the show.
EVERYTHING is fair game, even their phone calls. There’s absolutely a reason that every phone call on screen is over speaker phone. Production wants to see and hear every detail of the drama.
Afterall, if this rule wasn’t in effect, we would have totally missed out on seem very juicy facts throughout the seasons.
5. They have to blog their experiences… for the drama.
Each housewife is required to blog their experiences and reactions on the show, oftentimes a lot of drama is started over what has been leaked on the blogs during the off-season.
These blogs give us a chance to really see what’s going on. You know, for information purposes of course!
6. Their taglines are mostly their idea… but not really.
A housewife wouldn’t be a “Real Housewife” without their iconic tagline. Changing with every season, these catchphrases make a statement about who the housewife is, and what she’s all about. The taglines are actually picked at the end of filming, after all of the drama has unfolded.
According to producer Doug Ross in an interview with E News, each housewife gets to record five or six taglines, and the producers chose which one best fits their narrative for the season.
7. They have to keep the same look, the whole season.
After binging 20 episodes, these women can seriously start looking the same. That’s why each housewife is required to keep the same hairstyle and look the whole season!
No wonder some of them come back to the reunion with a nose job, or two...
8. They can only have three interview looks.
To make us all believe that the interviews are real-time reactions to each episode, the housewives have to wear the same three outfits, hair and makeup for all of their in-episode interviews.
Vicki Gunvalson told Glamour, "You wear the same outfit all year long. You get three looks [total]. But for three months, you have to wear the exact same outfit, same hair, same makeup. You can never cut your hair in the middle of it because you're supposed to look the same.”
9. They must pay for their own glam team!
Their face - their responsibility! The housewives actually have to pay for their own glam squad while filming.
Erika Jayne was actually the first housewife to expose the network for not paying for hair and makeup. She even flies her glam team out to every cast trip.
10. Housewives must be available for reshoots, at all times.
A lot of work goes into filming reality tv, and sometimes production doesn’t get the cut it wants the first time.
So, each housewife must be available for reshoots of key scenes. Not very real, is it?
11. Their promo looks must coordinate.
At the beginning of every season, we all look forward to seeing the cast in their promo shoots.
For obvious reasons, the ladies are required to all wear coordinating outfits for the promo photos.
12. The producers force staged phone calls to fuel drama.
What production wants; production gets. Each day of filming, each housewife is given a brief of the day.
Oftentimes, the producers stage phone conversations to poke-the-bear and push juicy confrontations or storylines that come into effect later.
13. A housewife must not break the fourth wall.
As much as they want to, the housewives can’t address the audience while on camera.
Doing so would break the fourth wall, and it’s a big no-no in reality tv. If the stars address the audience, it will totally break the illusion that all of this is happening in real life.
14. Those Exotic trips are only partially paid for by the network.
Even though they’re strongly encouraged to go on cast trips, the housewives have to pay for part of the trips themselves.
Maybe the housewives’ taste and vacation necessities are so outrageous, the network just can’t possibly cover it.
15. A housewife can pay to upgrade their accommodations.
Proving our point, if an accommodation isn’t up to standard, a housewife can use her personal funds to upgrade as she wishes.
It pays to be a housewife!
16. Attending cast trips is optional, but really expected.
If you’ve ever wondered why the girls torture themselves on these turbulent trips, it’s because they’re actually extremely encouraged to go on the trips. At least it's a vacation!
17. While vacationing, alcohol is always bottomless.
What better way to get the drama mill going than unlimited alcohol? Alcohol is always available to the housewives while on holiday.
In fact, if they run out or don’t have the alcohol of choice, production will go get their preferred drinks immediately.
18. Bravo gets a cut of all businesses promoted on the show.
If you think all that free advertisement for housewife product lines were free, you thought wrong!
Each housewife’s contract specifies that the network receives a cut from all products and businesses promoted on the show. There truly is no such thing as “free” anymore.
19. Not all housewives are paid the same.
Where’s the drama if every housewife is compensated the same? Each housewife negotiates their own pay, and the terms that come along with that pay.
New housewives are paid substantially less than OG housewives and fan favs.
20. The housewives can’t sue each other.
Those catfights and verbal assaults go unpunished for a reason - the housewives can’t sue each other.
This is pretty insane, however if you watch the show (like us) you know that the housewives have their own ways of serving justice...
21. Production will work around prison time.
Lock her up! Some housewives' lives have seriously spiraled out of control in complete view of the public. What’s juicier than the show's villain finally facing jail time?
While unfortunate, it just makes for good TV. That’s why production absolutely goes out of their way to film the train wreck.
22. Andy Cohen decides who returns each season.
Andy loves his housewives, that’s why he has the final say on who comes and goes from the show each season.
So if you’re ever in the position to be a Real Housewife, make sure to keep it interesting, or you just might get the chop.
23. Instigating drama is highly encouraged.
Drama is the fuel that keeps the season going, and the housewives totally get brownie points for keeping it all going.
Afterall, friendly luncheons and charity events are boring - we want that hot gossip, girl!
24. Housewives sign a non-compete agreement when they leave.
While on the show, each housewife builds a name for themselves.
That’s why Bravo makes each housewife sign a non-compete for up to one year, barring them from going on another show. Afterall, they really wouldn’t be famous if it wasn’t for Bravo anyway.
25. Housewives can’t speak to each other at the reunion before on camera.
Tensions are at an extreme high by the reunion, and that’s why the housewives aren’t allowed to speak to each other on set before filming.
Save it for the stage ladies! We need to see what’s going on… for information purposes of course!
26. Each Housewife has an assigned seat at the reunion.
Yes, where each housewife sits at the reunion is totally strategic.
Whether it’s to show who ended up on who’s side of the fight, or to place enemies right next to each other - there is always an angle production is trying to spin.
27. A housewife can totally be fired.
Sometimes a housewife can take it too far, and we’ve seen them fall from grace.
Moving from housewife, to friend of the housewives. Keep it classy ladies!
28. A housewife is paid in a lump sum by the network.
Each housewife receives a lump sum for their time filming, each season.
Friends of the housewives are only paid per episode. So if it seems like their friends are clawing for airtime, it’s because they totally are!
29. You can’t mess with the OG Housewives.
The unspoken rule among housewives - don’t mess with the OGs. Seriously, when the new girl starts messing with the queen bee, there can be some severe consequences amongst the other housewives.
They could even get demoted; the housewives always need more friends after all.
30. Family drama can absolutely be part of the plotline.
We’re taught to leave family drama alone amongst friends, but that just isn’t the case when it comes to reality TV.
As much as they try to keep personal family drama off the air, production can absolutely use it to move the season along.