Even if you're not a fan of reality TV, you've probably heard of the "Real Housewives" shows on the Bravo TV network. It's trailer park TV in a million-dollar setting. Trash TV at its absolute best, and the franchise is a major moneymaker for everyone involved.  Currently, there are eight incarnations of the wildly popular shows: Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Dallas, New Jersey, New York, Orange County, Salt Lake City, and Potomac. The original is the Orange County show, which premiered on March 21, 2006, and it was spun off to some of the wildest shows in television history.

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The shows are glamourous, and these women throw money around like they've never had to sit in line at the McDonald's drive-thru ever. And the constantly changing casts are what keep the franchises fresh. There are very few cast members who have remained throughout the entire run of the show, and it might be because of the extremely strict rules they all have to follow to remain on their respective shows.

Cosmopolitan has given us a peek into some of the rules you have to follow to be a housewife, and you might be surprised at the lengths these women have to go through. And as much fun as it looks like, I'm not sure whether I could actually do it. Some of them are below.

  • They all have to audition. Regardless of who you are, you still have to send in an audition tape, and go through extensive testing. And Executive Producer Andy Cohen has the final say.
  • Everything in their lives is fair game. You have to be willing to share kids, dogs, closets, inside your refrigerator, phone conversations. The camera crew has to have access to your entire life, warts and all. When Teresa and Joe Giudice's highly publicized financial and legal troubles happened on the New Jersey show, it was all documented.


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  • They can't change their hairstyles mid-season. If you ever see a drastic hairstyle change on a housewife, it's always at the beginning of the season. The network forbids hair changes after that.
  • They pay for their own glam teams. When the housewives travel to all those exotic locations, they usually bring a wardrobe, hair, and makeup team with them. And they have to pay for it themselves. It takes a village to look THAT glam 24/7
  •  Not all of the drama is real. There seems to always be somebody fighting with somebody else on the shows, and occasionally it's orchestrated by the producers.
  • Only part of the exotic trips are paid for by the Show. Andy Cohen has revealed that it's a combination of the network and the cast members who pay for all those amazing getaways. Cast members can always pay for an upgrade to their accommodations on the trip, and they all get a say in where they go.
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      • Alcohol is always available, and free. This probably accounts for all that endless screaming and table flipping
      • The Network gets a cut of all businesses promoted on the show. The only exception in franchise history has been Bethenny Frankel of the New York show, who wrote into her contract that her SkinnyGirl brand was exempt.
      • Not all Housewives are paid the same. Each cast member is paid by the season, and the more popular members can earn up to a million dollars a season.

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