Jill Zarin Heads Back to ‘Housewives’ After Building Business Empire: ‘it Was Like I Never Left’

Jill Zarin, the original Real Housewife of New York City, has always put business first, so it’s not surprising that she has avoided the cameras for the most part.

After nearly a decade away from TV screens, she said it felt like “home” to be the star of Peacock’s “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club” on the Bravo network.

“It’s like I never left,” Zarin told FOX Business before joking that the cameras weren’t completely shut off over the last few years. “I have been around, you know. I did BravoCon a few years ago.”

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Jill Zarin Heads Back to ‘Housewives’ After Building Business Empire

After appearing on “The Real Housewives of New York City” in 2008, Zarin quickly rose to become a fan favorite and a fixture of subsequent seasons.

For four years, cameras followed Zarin as she raised her daughter Allyson and worked alongside her late husband Bobby at their Lower East Side institution, Zarin Fabrics Warehouse, and Home Furnishing store, which opened in 1936.

Zarin was a perfect fit for “Housewives” thanks to her years of experience in the fashion industry and her bulging Rolodex of high-end contacts, as evidenced by her slogan, “I run with a fabulous circle of people.”

After a major cast reshuffle at the end of season four in 2011, Zarin was able to put her career and the Zarin brand on the fast track, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales across multiple platforms.

The successful businesswoman debuted her line of reasonably priced, high-end rugs under her own name in 2016, and soon after, her wares could be found in stores as diverse as Macy’s, Kohl’s, Home Depot, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Jill Zarin Heads Back to Housewives
Jill Zarin Heads Back to Housewives

She aimed to provide high-end amenities at a reasonable cost when she furnished and outfitted the kitchen and bar. Skweez Couture Shapewear and Hosiery was another side of her business, complementing her interior design work.

Zarin was able to spend more time at home with her family because of the pandemic, and she and her daughter, Creative Director Allyson Shapiro, started the Jill & Ally brand with the help of Ally’s tie-dyed face masks, which quickly became a sensation on the internet.

The mother and daughter team took swift action by starting the Noshes for Nurses crowdfunding campaign to help feed hardworking individuals. A total of over 25,000 masks have been distributed to medical staff as of this writing. They have also collected and distributed over $70,000 and over 200,000 meals to first responders such as doctors, police officers, and firefighters.

It’s clear that business is still booming for Zarin, so she’s returning to the channel that first made her famous.

“I had already seen the ‘Ultimate Girls Trip’ to Turk’s and Caicos, and I’m not going to lie – I did have a little bit of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out.) I’ve been known to have ‘FOMO,’” she said. “And, I’m like, you know, I want to do it.”

Zarin agreed to star alongside Brandi Glanville, Vicki Gunvalson, Phaedra Parks, Tamra Judge, Eva Marcille, Taylor Armstrong, and Dorinda Medley at Medley’s famous Blue Stone Manor in the Berkshires.

She stated her “reservations” regarding the program’s actual filming, production, and casting plans.

“I was like, ‘Should I wait and see … Is it going to happen again? Maybe it’s not going to do well, and they’ll never do it again,” she said. “Or, do you do it? And I jumped in and said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

True fans of Bravo know that drama (especially at the Manor) can derail even the most stalwart housewife, but Zarin was happy to be reunited with her on-screen family.

“I loved every minute of it. I mean, I didn’t love every minute — I gotta be honest. There were a couple of minutes I didn’t like it, but, for the most part, it was a great experience.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat, and, if I could just do those kinds of shows, I’d be very happy.”

While rumors swirled of “Real Housewives of New York” legacy castings, Zarin couldn’t offer a comment. However, she was more than happy to discuss the success of her recent handbag collection at Saks, the popularity of her crystal manifestation candles, and the “Housewives” line of clothing she designed as a throwback to an iconic era in her life’s narrative.

The Bobby Zarin Community Trust, established in memory of her late husband after he passed away from thyroid cancer, will be the recipient of proceeds from the annual Jill Zarin Luxury Luncheon, which she plans to hold in The Hamptons once again this July.

Although she has a lot on her plate, the ultimate businesswoman said she is happy if she can squeeze in a game of tennis with her boyfriend Gary Brody.

“I just try to get through every day and finish all the things on my list tomorrow to look forward to playing tennis,” she said. “Because, at the end of the day, Gary and I love to play tennis together, and that’s really what I want to do every day.”

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