Kim Kardashian's 72 day marriage was a big topic of conversation at my dinner table last night. While those of us sitting around the table maybe wished we weren't letting her short lived marriage dominate the conversation, somehow it kept coming back up. These days it seems reality TV is taking over—this yenta is the first to admit she watches a lot of it, even though she knows she shouldn't. But it's mindless entertainment and it's not all that bad. Some reality stars are actaully famous for what they do professionally and not just because they are on a TV show. And while Kim and her ex may not be MOTs, many other reality stars these days most definitely are and in some cases (for better or worse) Judaism plays a large role on their shows.
Here's my list of the top Jewish reality stars. I know I'm missing some faces (I don't actually watch ever reality show out there), so please add your favorites to the comment section below.
Either there are a lot of them or I just watch a lot of Bravo TV, but from real housewives to top chefs and celebrity stylists, Jews are representing on Bravo's reality packed channel.
The Rachel Zoe Project
Rachel Zoe's (sort of) eponymous show (her real name is actually Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig) follows the trials and tribulations of LA's biggest celebrity stylist and her loveable husband (also Jewish) and staff (many of them Jewish.) Last season, Rachel took a day off from her grueling schedule of picking out clothes for herself and others to actually cook her family a Passover Seder. This season, pregnant Rachel following tradition, refused to buy anything for the baby till he was born.
The Real Housewives of New York and Beverly Hills and Bethenny Ever After
Jill Zarin, a former Real Housewife of New York, has probably played up (and capitalized on) her Jewish roots more than anyone else. She, with the help of her sister and mother, published a book titled, "Secrets of a Jewish Mother" and she frequently brings up her Jewishness on the show.
Kyle Richards, though somewhat less vocal, has shared her own Jewish back story on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kyle converted to Judaism when she married her husband. They've reared their daughters in a Jewish household and send them to Jewish Day School.
Though Bethenny Frankel (formerly a Real Housewife of New York and now star of her own show) is not raising her daughter Jewish, I'm still including her on this list. Whether she admits it or not, everything about Bethenny is Jewish. From her perfectionist ambition, mad Jewish mother cooking skills and desire to always feed people, I wish she would just embrace her Jewishness full-time. And I love here, so she's here. Go ahead, argue with me.
For better or worse, anyone who has seen Millionaire Matchmaker knows that Patti Stanger is Jewish and more frequently than not, so are the millionaires she is trying to fix up.
Watch What Happens Live
I adore Andy Cohen, Executive Vice President for Original Programming and Development at Bravo aka the guy behind the real housewives shows. A few years back, he got his own half hour TV show that runs a few times a week with special guests ranging from reality stars to real celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker. From his "mazel" of the week to standing up and bringing attention to any kind of injustice, Andy is a super Jew and uses his show as a funny vehicle for good.
I don't actually watch Top Chef, so I'm not as well versed on the contestants. I'm sure quite a few of them are Jewish. I'm just going to mention one of them here. Season 7: Washington D.C. Contestant Alex Reznik currently runs a kosher restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles. Doesn't get much more Jewish than that!
The Bachelor/Bachelorette Franchise
Again I'm sure I'm missing several of the Jewish contestants, but I'm just going to focus on the more memorable cast members (those cast as leads or who became engaged on the show.)
Jason Mesnick was the runner up on season four of the Bachelorette. He went on to star in his own Bachelor franchise. Jason's season was one of the more controversial seasons in Bachelor history. After choosing Melissa Rycroft for his final pick, he later changed his mind, broke up with her and went back to the runner up from his season, Molly Malaney, who he married on TV in a Jewish ceremony.
JP is the most recent winner of the Bachelorette, not only did he win the heart of lead contestant Ashley Herbert, but the hearts of most of the (Jewish) women tuning into the show last season.
American Idol/The X Factor/Dancing with the Stars/The Voice
The talent shows are chock full of Jewish representation. Some of the people listed here are actual celebs, but since they are participating in reality shows, I've decided to include them in this post.
Adorable Adam Levine, lead singer for Maroon 5, also appears as one of the four judges on the new singing show, The Voice. During the first season, Adam mentored the eventual winner of the show Javier Colon. Good work, Adam!
I think everyone knows her, so I'll keep this short. Now on her third show, Paula is the kooky, nice judge countering Simon Cowell's harsh critiques.
A former Dancing with the Stars contestant, Brooke Burke is now a cohost on the show. She's also one of only two Jewish contests to ever win Dancing with the Stars. Jennifer Grey also won her season. Some other Jewish contestants who've appeared on the show, include Ian Zering, Kelly Osbourne, Marlee Matlin, Jane Seymour, David Arquette, Jerry Springer, Steve Guttenberg, and Marissa Jaret Winokur.
A few others…
Ace of Cakes
Admittedly, I've never seen Duff Goldman's show about his bakery, so I took this from his bio page on the Food Network website. "Meet Chef Duff. Shaping cakes with drill saws and blowtorches, and staffing his bakery with fellow rock musicians, he's not your typical baker. However, he's one of the most sought-after decorative cake makers in the country. Every week at Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, Duff and his team of artists try to meet the demands of creating up to 20 cakes a week, some of which take up to 29 hours to build!"
Man vs. Food and Man vs. Food Nation
As a longtime vegetarian, Adam Richman's shows tend to gross me out. I appreciate what he does (sort of), but I usually can't make it through a whole episode. Each week, Adam goes to a different city to try the food and compete in a challenge to eat a ridiculous amount of something. It's a pretty amazing spectacle to watch that proves some Jews have tough stomaches.
Michael Kors is one of the three main judges on Project Runway. Always dressed in his signature black shirt and blue jeans, Michael's been dishing out criticism and occasional compliments to the shows contestants for the past nine seasons.
I think this is a good place to stop. Please let me know who I've neglected to include in the comments below, just don't call me yenta.