Successful entrepreneur, loving mother, reality tv show star, Vicki Gunvalson is all that and even more! Vicki is a self-made entrepreneur who founded one of the biggest insurance and financial advisory companies on the West Coast. She started her professional career on her own over 20 years ago and now she is experiencing a huge success. Vicki is mostly known for starring in the Bravo TV franchise of The Real Housewives of Orange County where she always shows her kind-hearted, energetic and fun-loving spirit. She is the one and only original housewife who has been on the show ever since its debut in 2006. Vicki is a great role model and an example of a successful businesswoman who will definitely inspire you, our readers!
Q: Vicki, you’re an incredibly ambitious and successful businesswoman and you’re a great inspiration to all of us. How do you manage everything you have on your plate? What is in your mind the key to success as grand as yours?
Hard work, plain and simple. I’m a mid-western girl with a mid-western work ethic. My father ran a successful construction business and he always taught me to work hard and work for yourself. I think of my dad every day as I run Coto Financial.
Q: The COTO insurance and financial services company that you founded is experiencing enormous success. Recently, you have expanded to an even larger setting. Did you ever think your business would be this successful? What were some of the hardest challenges you had to overcome, especially at the beginning of your career?
In the early years, it was tough to be a woman in the financial industry. One of the first policies I sold was to a woman whose husband died shortly after he bought life insurance. My world changed when I was able to tell her, “yes, you can stay in your home, thanks to the policy your husband purchased to protect you and your three children.” I was a young mom myself at the time and that became my mission, to help women and families secure their future. It’s a great thing to be able to bring comfort and help to people when they are at their lowest. Financial security is so important to everybody especially women. That’s what keeps me going in this business.
Q: The Real Housewives franchise has been an important part of your life and career. What initially made you decide to sign up for this Bravo project?
When the creator of the Franchise Scott Dunlop first approached me, one of the things that set me apart was that I ran my own business and was really more than a housewife. I’m an entrepreneur and business owner, so naturally, I couldn’t pass up something so new and exciting. It’s been an incredible experience and journey, and after 13 years I’ve never looked back.
Q: As the OG OC (you must get that a lot) in what way did the show change your life, apart from the obvious fame?
When I first started filming, I never would have believed I’d still be here 13 years later. It’s been an amazing gift in so many ways and also a challenge. The world has seen me go through some of the lowest points of my life on air, and that’s something I think you don’t necessarily get used to… but then a woman will come up to me and say, “you know, I just got divorced too” or “my mother just passed away too…” and in those moments I’m so glad I have been able to help others. The show has given me opportunities to connect with other people that I would never have imagined and that has truly been a blessing.
Q: The show has been renewed for another season! We can’t wait to see you on screen again! How do you feel about taping another season, for you 13th in a row now?
I love it! I want to keep doing the show until the viewers don’t want me anymore. It’s a great experience and I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.
Q: Can you maybe recollect any of your favorite past moments that you’ve experienced with the cast, that we haven’t heard of before?
Stay tuned… Let’s just say our first cast trip turned out to be a remake of the movie “The Hangover”.
Q: We’re used to always seeing you in an amazing shape, looking stunning. Especially lately, you just seem to be glowing! Do you maybe have some beauty/lifestyle tips that you could share with our readers? Just for once!
It’s important to take care of yourself. As women, we get busy with careers, kids, grandkids, we tend to take care of everybody except ourselves and we just can’t do that. You have to take time to take care of YOU, I schedule that time every week. Eat right, exercise, just get your nails done – it makes a difference and allows you to do everything else in life with more energy.
Q: You’re always open about what’s happening in your life and share so much with your fans. How do you manage to find the balance between your reality show exposure and private life?
It’s hard, but after 13 years it’s my new normal. Having Steve in my life has been such a blessing. He’s a very private person, naturally, having been a detective, so we balance each other. I’m showing him how to Whoop it Up, and he helps me slow down and enjoy more time with family and friends. He’s been a good sport about it all though, and sometimes you need people in your life to share the downtime with and just enjoy a quiet glass of wine at the end of a long week.
Q: Thanks to the show, we’ve been able to follow some aspects of your family life. Even though it’s unbelievable, you have two adorable grandchildren now. How are you coping with the role of being a nana?
Coping? It’s the best thing that ever happened to me (aside from Michael and Briana of course). I love my Grandbabies and Troy and Owen are amazing! People can tell you how great it is to be a grandparent but you don’t really know until you’ve experienced it. I’m going to visit them soon and can’t wait to give them both a great big hug and spoil the heck out of them.
Q: Do you have any future plans or goals that you would like to achieve at the moment? Business or personal life-wise?
I always have a lot going on. I have some pretty big projects in the works that I’m not at liberty to discuss at the moment, but once I’m am I’d love to come back and share with ONN.