We just got our first glimpse of the new "Real Housewives of New York," but former "housewife" Jill Zarin proves fame (and fortune) can be found after the cameras stop rolling.
The reality TV star/entrepreneur -- who was featured on today's episode of "The View" -- has become a name in the world of fashion, thanks to her shapewear line called Skweez Couture. Her namesake jewelry collection is available online and launches in department stores this fall.
toofab recently caught up with Jill, and she talked candidly about life after "Housewives," whether or not she'll be watching Season 5, and even revealed her reality TV crush! Plus, check for a special surprise at the end of her interview.
toofab: Of all the products out there, why did you decide on a shapewear?
Jill: I felt that there was a gap missing in the shapewear market. I wanted to design a line of shapewear that was fabulous, feminine and fashionable while being competitively priced in the market about offering high quality, design and function.
toofab: How did you come up with the name "Skweez"?
Jill: I literally was in a dressing room one day trying clothes on and yelled out, "I need something to Skweez me in!" The name was born!
toofab: What’s your favorite “Skweez” product?
Jill: I have a few favorites. I absolutely love "Short Order" because it’s a lightweight shapewear short with beautiful lace on the edge of your thigh. I'm never embarrassed if I am wearing a dress; if my shapewear shows because it is sexy and pretty. My other favorite is called the "Peek-A-Boob," it's a wear your own bra shaper slip dress with lace detailing on the bottom. It is truly a miracle worker under a dress. The best part about this product is if you are wearing a simple black dress, you throw on the "Peek-A-Boob" underneath and let the black lace show at the bottom and you instantly have a new dress and have spruced up your simple dress.
toofab: Who did you draw inspiration from stylistically?
Jill: It is not a "who" answer but a "where." I travel the world with [husband] Bobby and are always taking photos for inspiration of anything ... from an animal (for a good print!) to Elizabeth Taylor's caftan at a Christie's Auction ... from the runways in Paris or Milan, to the streets of NY, inspiration is everywhere.
toofab: On your website, you mentioned you don’t always have the time to work out. Even though Skweez is shapewear, is it a substitute for fitness?
Jill: I believe fitness is important, but it doesn't have to be necessarily clearing a chunk of time out of your day to do it. Sometimes it can be as simple as talking the stairs instead of the elevator or deciding to walk instead of taking a taxi or driving. My favorite way to get motivated in the gym though is to load my iPod with new music and dance while I workout.
toofab: What’s been the most challenging part about launching the line? The most rewarding?
Jill: The most challenging part about launching a line is to create a brand statement and to make sure that all of your products live up to it and are cohesive and represent the brand. We do significant testing on our products and continue to strive for products that are innovative and solve a problem. The most rewarding thing for me is when I get fans who write to me telling me how much they love my products and how it has changed the way they feel about themselves and what they wear.
toofab: What’s more exciting – shooting for “Housewives” or HSN?
Jill: Tricky question! They are both exciting, but both extremely different. HSN was definitely more nerve wracking because it was live and so much fun to do!
toofab: Would you ever do reality TV again?
Jill: If the right opportunity presented itself I would consider doing reality TV again. I am addicted to "Shark Tank." I think Mark Cuban is so hot! I think being smart and successful is more sexy than anything and he has it all.
toofab: Will you be watching the upcoming season of “Real Housewives of New York City”?
Jill: I am sure I will watch. I love Luann [de Lesseps] and want to support all of her projects.
toofab: What’s next for Jill Zarin?
Jill: I like to live in the present and can honestly say that I am happier than I have ever been. My family is healthy and am looking forward to having a great summer in the Hamptons.
If you love Jill and her Skweez Couture line, come back to toofab next week -- we're giving away one lucky winner two pieces from the collection!
© 2013 EHM Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.