There isn’t a big enough business card to fit all of Gretchen Christine Rossi’s titles. On any given day she gracefully weaves between reality television star, philanthropist, entrepreneur and devoted partner.
A fan favorite on The Real Housewives of Orange County, Rossi quickly made an impression on viewers and used that to indulge her entrepreneurial side with a line of luxury products. From cosmetics, to handbags, to swimwear, and now luggage, Rossi has launched a line of products that are as glamorous as her Orange County lifestyle. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her recently and here’s what she had to say.
Do you have a favorite TV show?
Yes “This is Us” is by far my favorite show on TV right now. It is real, raw and relatable.
I actually have a funny story about this show; the other night Slade comes upstairs and he’s like, “Oh my gosh, what’s wrong honey?” (because I am crying hysterically) and I respond with “Oh my God, this show is just so good but it also makes me cry like crazy.” The show is surreal and it’s very emotional. Kate had just lost the baby in the scene and being that Slade and I are trying to have a baby it just really hit home with me. Obviously Slade was relieved I was just crying over a show, but man it is a damn good show.
It’s Friday night. Dress up and go out or order in and cuddle up?
It really just depends on how my work week has been. If I had a really hectic, long work week and I’ve driven to LA multiple times that week, doing photo shoots or taking work meetings, then I’m definitely staying in, cuddling up with my fur babies in front of the fireplace and ordering in some gluten-free pizza or something like that. But, if it wasn’t a crazy work week then I definitely want to get dolled up and go hit the town with my girlfriends or with my man.
I try to mix up my cardio. I will do my elliptical machine or run on the treadmill at home. I also love long walks with my dogs. Recently I tried boxing and I gotta tell you, my hands hurt so bad right now, but it was actually a lot of fun and now I feel like I can kick anyones ass. I’ve also recently taken up pilates at Pilates Plus OC and man is that a workout! It works every part of your body, but I really have been enjoying it and I am sore for days after, so I know I got a full body workout.
Is that your preparation for handling the TV world?
You have to know how to box these chicks. Box those housewives.
What is your favorite cheat meal?
I used to have a lot of favorite cheat meals. I like a gluten-free pizza, ice cream or Oreos, like an entire bag of Oreos is what I’m talking about here. But unfortunately, I found out that I have the gene for celiac disease. So my doctor has said to me, “You have got to cut out all of this gluten, or you will eventually get full blown celiac’s disease”. I can’t really have a cheat day anymore. It’s really hard to cut out all gluten and it’s a bummer because I am a foodie. [chuckles]
If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
I wanna be a lioness. [roars] [laughs]. My hair is like a lion right now [laughs]. I love dogs. Dogs are my favorite. They’re just so sweet and warm and cuddly and always bring a smile to everyone’s life. I feel like I’d be a combination between a tiger/lion and a dog. I wonder if they could make an animal like that? They’ve put two animals together before and come up with a padoodle? I think that maybe we could create an animal that’s a lion and a dog combined.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
The last gift I gave someone was actually part of the new Gretchen Christine for Twila True Beauty nail polish collaboration I did. I curated 3 different sets of four beautiful nail polish colors that actually match the color schemes of my handbag collection. We recently launched them at a Pop Up Party I did and they were a huge success. Thankfully everyone loved the colors. I gifted many of the influencers that day with a set from the new collection. I just love gifting other people, it just makes you feel good.
What would they title a movie about your life?
I think the title of my movie would be something to the effect of “Despite All Odds, she always bounced back” I don’t know, something cheesy like that. Basically no matter what life has thrown my way or how many people have tried to hurt me or take me down I always find a way to come back stronger and even better than before. I am thankful God has given me the quality of resilience and tenacity.
Favorite Disney Princess?
My favorite Disney character would be Cinderella, for sure. Funny though people more recently have told me that I resemble Elsa, so I feel, like, modern-day would be Elsa. But back in the day, I loved Cinderella.
Who are your biggest influences?
My parents. I grew up under two amazing, wonderful parents that were entrepreneurs themselves. They taught me about having a strong work ethic and living with integrity every single day. I look up to a few people in my life as mentors, like Kathy Ireland. I think she’s such an amazing, smart and driven businesswoman. And honestly, I look up to Slade. Every single day I wake up and am just happy to be around him. He teaches me and inspires me every single day.
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success is happiness. I think that a lot of people try to find success through money, or wealth, or through a degree or a title that’s put on them, like CEO. Success is when you truly wake up every day and you’re happy, and content. I can honestly say that happens for me right now and it’s the best feeling in the world.
How has your experience on television and as a public figure transformed you?
Being on TV definitely can be a very difficult process when you first start, but for me thankfully it never really changed who I was at the core. I have a family that has always kept me grounded. I think the only change that really happens is now you can’t go to the grocery store without somebody recognizing you, wanting to take a picture.
I’ve been sitting in church and singing a song and somebody is holding up their phone recording me. That’s hard because there are days that you just wanna walk outside and not be all done up, and just be you, and not have to worry about somebody snapping a picture and posting it on their social media page.
Overall, I really feel like the show has taught me a lot about myself. It’s allowed me to be a little more introspective, and to look inside myself, and grow from it.
Any exciting products coming out soon?
I’m really excited about our new holiday product that’s come out, it’s a two piece, quilted luggage set and it’s beautiful.
It comes in a beautiful white marble and a black quilted material. It’s fabulous and it’s so great for travel because it’s really durable (it’s made of a plush nylon material) and functional as well. It has such a great chic style to it, so it doesn’t feel like your typical luggage set. I know everyone is just going to love it. It’s available at gretchenchristine.com [laughs].
Do you have a favorite career moment to date?
I have a couple. My first one was when I performed on a Las Vegas stage with the Pussycat Dolls. That was very exciting. I had the best time ever. I remember when I was leaving Vegas and was flying back I was like, “You know what? How many people get to say they performed on a Las Vegas stage?” That was really cool.
The second moment was when my company Gretchen Christine was recently acquired. I have worked the last 8 years putting my heart and soul into building my company for that moment and it really was such a personal accomplishment for me.
What would you say your most embarrassing career moment was?
I don’t get embarrassed very easily because I’m a big dork. Honestly, I really am. I’m silly and kind of wacky so if I do something that could potentially be embarrassing, I find it hilarious. I’m very self-deprecating. I just roll with the punches.
What would your best friend say is your worst quality?
I’m very much a black and white girl, there’s no room for gray, like, it’s either this or it’s that. Sometimes I let other people know that [laughs].
What advice would you give to your younger self ?
I would definitely say don’t worry so much. I think as a young girl you’re always worried about tomorrow and what’s happening and if you’re going to make it, if you’re not, if you’re gonna be able to pay that bill or whatever’s happening. What I’ve learned through experience over many years is that you’re gonna be okay. It’s going to be okay no matter what it is. Even if you lose everything, it’s going to be okay. God is always taking care of me and I’ve learned that if I let go and and just give it to God and the universe that it all works out the way it’s supposed to.
Do you have any nicknames?
Nicknames? Okay so, yes. I have like 12. I have Gretchy Pie, I have Grouchy Gretchen, I have G-Money, I have Lady G, Gretchy, Gretch, Gretchster. Yeah. I’ve got a lot of them.
A young person comes to you today and says I want to be the next Gretchen Christine, what advice do you have for them?
Be yourself. That’s one thing that I have stayed true to my whole life. There’s going to be people that don’t like that version of you, but at the end of the day you have to wake up and look in the mirror and be happy with who you are and be okay with that. God created each of us to be unique and special. The uniqueness that you have to offer is the most incredible thing that you could give back to the world.
Who are the three people past, present or future that you would want at your Christmas table?
Three celebrities that I want at my Christmas table are, Kathy Ireland for sure because I just love her. I think she’s just an incredible human being. Oprah Winfrey, I find her to be extremely spiritual and connected to the universe. She’s so interesting and inspirational. And Jesus. That would be so fun. I could celebrate his birthday, we could bring a birthday cake for him and sing happy birthday because Christmas is his birthday. That would be so much fun. [laughs]
Is there anything you’d like to set the record straight on?
How much time do you have? [laughs] Unfortunately it has to do with Housewives because that’s how people know me. I think that there are so many different perceptions of me from Housewives. When people met me on the show they thought I was a gold digger but really I’m a “goal” digger, not a gold digger [laughs]. They always love to think that Slade was this big jerk and that he was a dead-beat dad and all those things, and he’s just so far from that.
Everyone always just says, “Oh she’s just so desperate to be back on the show and so obsessed with being back on the show.” And the fact is, that couldn’t be further from the truth, I am very happy and content in my life right now, and that show would only bring heartache and turmoil back to my life and that is something I am no longer interested in. I’m in the best place I’ve been in my entire life both personally and professionally. I only want to go up from here. That show would hold me back from achieving the next set of goals I have for my life. I am grateful for the time I had on the show, but that is now a part of my past. An appearance here and there might happen because I am still friends with some of the women, but I’m no longer interested in a full time role on the show.
One other thing that drives me nuts too is that people will always have this thing that Slade’s and my relationship was fake for the show, but it’s kind of laughable because Slade and I have been together now for nine years. We’ve been engaged for four. We’re not planning on not being together anytime soon. It definitely was not fake and was definitely not for the show. I have never in my life been more in love. I don’t think I ever truly understood what real love was until I met Slade.