I recently had the chance to chat with former RHONY Star, Jill Zarin! We talked about what she’s been doing recently, her involvement in New York Fashion Week, the drama on RHOBH, what’s going on with the filming of Season 6 of RHONY, her WWHL interview with Andy Cohen, and of course, her shocking departure from the show! Read our interview below!
ATRH: Hi Jill! How are you today?
JZ: “I’m great! How are you?”
ATRH: I’m doing really well! I know you have a lot projects in the works! Can you tell us about the Skweez Couture Fashion Show that just happened?
JZ: “I do! The fashion show was last week. It was the first fashion show of the week for New York City Fashion Week. It was held at Hudson Terrace.”
ATRH: So you have your Skweez Couture and Jill Zarin Jewelry?
JZ: “I do, and we had that at fashion week as well. We hosted the daily gifting suites, so we were able to meet a lot of the press and give jewelry to the press and celebrities and socialites who were attending Fashion Week.”
ATRH: That’s great, where can people find out more information on Skweez Couture and Jill Zarin Jewelry?
JZ: “With the jewelry there are different pieces on different websites. JillZarinJewelry.com has a collection, Macys.com has a separate collection on their website, and Lordandtaylor.com has a separate collection. Some of the pieces are the same, there’s 250 pieces, and I put out 75-100 pieces every 8 weeks so everybody kind of picks and chooses what they want.”
ATRH: It sounds like you keep very busy! Are you still working at Zarin Fabrics?
JZ: “Yes, that’s where I am today! So I work at Jill Zarin Jewelry a few days a week, and I work at Zarin Fabrics a few days a week, and I have Skweez Couture. I’m on the phone all day managing all three! So yes, I’m very busy! I love to work; it gives me a lot of satisfaction. I think it also inspires my daughter to be the best that she can be.”
ATRH: How are Bobby and Ally doing?
JZ: “You’re very sweet to ask, thank you. Bobby is great he is also here today. He works primarily at Zarin Fabrics. Ally is in college at Vanderbilt studying film. I think she’s going to be a documentary filmmaker. She’s in her third year and she’s going to graduate next year, I’m so proud of her! This weekend is her sorority’s parents weekend, so I’m going to be flying down and meeting some of her friends and friend’s parents. It’s exciting!”
ATRH: How is Gloria doing?
JZ: “She’s the leader of the pack [laughs], she’s great! Bobby and I are actually taking them on our annual cruise. We take them away every year. We are taking them away for Passover, because my mother refuses to come to New York before April, so we are going to have our Passover dinner on the ship!”
ATRH: I have to ask about RHONY. Your departure from the show was one of the most shocking in the history of the Franchise. Why do you think Bravo made the decision to cut half the cast?
JZ: “I have no idea. I don’t know if it was the smartest thing they ever did, but I’m happy where I am in my life right now. The show definitely changed my life in different ways, but staying on it [the show] wasn’t a passion of mine anymore. Four years on a television show is four years more than anyone could ever hope for. Most shows come and go, so the fact that I was a part of one of the biggest shows on television today, was an honor. I’m so grateful for what it’s done for me and my family.
I feel like I had two great Seasons and a rocky third Season. I can relate to what Adrienne Maloof is going through on Beverly Hills. I feel like she and I have similar “characters,” but what did she really do wrong? She was a victim of somebody saying something about her and her family. It’s terrible watching what’s happening to her.
I think that coming back for another Season, wouldn’t have been the best decision for me. So I have to say, ‘We make plans and God laughs.’ So the fact that I was not asked back is what was meant for me, it was over, it was done. I had the best run of my life, and it wasn’t going to get better.”
ATRH: What do you think affects friendships between the women that appear on The Real Housewives?
JZ: “I think that jealousy is very common among these shows and with women. You cannot prevent it. They’re jealous of each other! I’m not jealous of anybody. I’m happy for people and for all my friends, obviously with Bethenny, I wanted her to succeed. I’m the first person there at my friend’s book signing or at an opening party. But I think jealousy and protecting their turf is a very common threat with these women. It’s hard to live, but fun to watch [laughs]!”
ATRH: Do you think the ratings drop in Season 5 had anything to do with the cast shake-up?
JZ: “I don’t know. A part of me would like to think so. I know I got a lot of fan mail saying they weren’t going to watch the show without me, but I don’t want that to happen. I want the show to be successful. I’m a part of that brand, I don’t want it to end on a bad note. I want the girls to do well, I want them to take away from the show what I did.”
ATRH: What do you think about the controversy surrounding Season 6 and why production keeps pushing filming back?
JZ: “I have no idea, but what it tells me is that New York is not an important city to them anymore. It tells me that it’s all about Atlanta, Beverly Hills, and New Jersey. New Jersey caught up to New York. New York is on Season 6, and New Jersey is filming Season 5. New York came out two years before New Jersey. They keep putting Jersey back to back, and they’ve never taken a break from New York this long.”
ATRH: In my opinion, Seasons 1 & 2 of any of The Real Housewives Shows are the best, because they are the most raw, and there aren’t as many story lines being pushed by producers. Would you agree with this?
JZ: “Yes. I actually think Season 1 is the best. All of the story lines are driven by the cast.”
ATRH: Which Season of RHONY was your favorite to film, Season 1?
ATRH: Your interview with Andy Cohen on WWHL was a first. Are you happy with the way you were portrayed?
JZ: “Yes it was fair. What did you think?”
ATRH: I was glued to my television. I feel like as a viewer it gave me some closure and answers too.
JZ: “Do you think that’s why he had me on?”
ATRH: I think he had you on for ratings. I believe people tuned in to get answers as to why Bravo got rid of half of the cast when they’ve never done that before. Are you in touch with LuAnn, Ramona or Sonja?
JZ: “Yes to LuAnn, I ran into Ramona recently and we’re fine, and Sonja I haven’t seen. We were never friends before the show, we don’t run into each other, but I really like Sonja. I ran into Alex, and she looked really good! I also speak to Kelly sometimes. You know I made some really good friends with the show.”
ATRH: I know you’re a New Yorker at heart, but if you could join the cast of any of the other Real Housewives cities, which show would you want to be a part of?
JZ: “Ohh! Beverly Hills is too tough for me. I think I’d have to say Orange County? I like Orange County, I do, and I’m friendly with some of them.”
ATRH: Can we ever expect to see you return to Reality TV?
JZ: “I wouldn’t say no, but I would say that Reality TV isn’t there to make anybody look good. It’s to exploit whatever they can to make ratings. So I’d say unlikely, but you never know.”
ATRH: Do you have anything you’d like to say to your fans?
JZ: “I love to hear from all of you, and I read everything you send me. I get letters in the mail, I get packages, and presents. From The UK, Australia, different countries, and I’m so grateful, I love them! I just love my fans, and they’ve become friends!”
Photo Credit: Jill Zarin