Episode 211: Gina Kirschenheiter, Star of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Co-Founder of CaraGala

We were so excited to welcome Gina Kirschenheiter to our live recording and launch party for Facing the Seduction of Success, the recently released book inspired by our podcast.

While the situations Gina faces on The Real Housewives of Orange County are obviously contrived, throughout her starring role on the show Gina has managed to face them in an open, vulnerable, and authentic way that clearly resonates with the show’s viewers. Now also a skincare entrepreneur with her CaraGala line, Gina generously shares the challenges of celebrity, single parenthood, hands-on entrepreneurship, and staying true to yourself.

Dan Hodgdon
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Hi, Esperanza.
Esperanza RosenbaumHi, Jodi. How are you?
Jodi KatzI am so excited to talk about this episode that everyone’s going to really enjoy now. It was super special.
Esperanza RosenbaumIt was super special.
Jodi KatzSo this was recorded at our book launch party, which was at the Allure store in New York City in June. And our guest was Gina from The Real Housewives of Orange County. And you know how much I love The Real Housewives.
Esperanza RosenbaumAbsolutely. I feel like this was something that I knew about you before I met you.
Jodi KatzSo, of course Gina was the perfect partner to launch this book because now she’s a skincare entrepreneur, and she, on her show, is so vulnerable and authentic. And I just feel like I’m our industry’s Gina. I relate to her so much.
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah. I mean, you were like two peas in a pod on the stage. And it was really fun to watch live.
Jodi KatzShe’s very funny, has incredible comedic timing, really shares a great bit about her journey as an entrepreneur and as a television personality. So, should we let everyone get to the episode?
Esperanza RosenbaumYeah, I think let’s hop in.
Jodi KatzOkay. Enjoy episode 211.
Gina KirschenheiterHi, everybody. What’s up? First of all, the crowd is giving. The faces are sitting. Honey, this is just like, probably the most beautiful audience I’ve seen ever. So, Jodi, you just, I guess, attract beautiful people. This is really a special event. I’m so proud of Jodi. I’m very honored to be here. So, I’m going to do a little spiel, just a little intro before she takes the stage. And I wrote it in my notes on my phone because I was that, I don’t know, serious about it. I was like, I don’t want to mess up. This is a really big deal. So I’m going to refer to my phone a lot, so bear with me.

Okay. I am so incredibly honored to be a small part of this huge, major feat. Any creative will tell you that creating a project, especially a book, is no easy undertaking. I’ve been writing one for about 10 years now. I’m on page two. So, congratulations, Jodi, on the launch of Facing the Seduction of Success. Yes. We can clap. And it’s all the more special because the author is so, so very special.

So, one thing that I personally love about Jodi is her authenticity and her sincerity, not just in her work, but also in her interactions with people. Media, beauty, entertainment, it can be a very shallow industry, a very ego-driven industry. But Jodi is what I like to call good people. You know, she’s just good people. She’s interested in people beyond the surface, beyond their profession, or who they work for, or their accolades. She’s interested in your experience, your own perspective, and what you have to say. And that is very rare. Her book, which is a collection of gems and tips, is so on brand because at her core, she really just wants to help people and empower people.

And don’t get it twisted, okay? She has all the receipts to write something that could have been very self-serving. She could have been very justified in amplifying herself. But instead, she chose to amplify a bunch of people, guests on her podcast over the years, me included. And she shared those words to help a bunch of other people. And I think that is a true testament to her character. And in the era of the overused, over-hyped phrase “girl boss,” that selflessness and sincerity that she has is actually girl boss, okay? That’s actually what it is for those tuning in, wherever you are, all right?

So, I am very honored to have been a guest on her podcast and to have been included in this book. And I’m very grateful that she thought of me to have this full circle moment and introduce her. So, without further ado, because I want to get all the titles right, I would like to introduce the founder of Base Beauty Creative Agency, host of the Where Brains Meet Beauty podcast, and now author of Facing the Seduction of Success, Jodi Katz.
Jodi KatzWow. That is—I’m going to listen to your words again later. What a moment for me. Welcome. Thank you for all coming out in real life to a party. And it was raining! And look at how many people are here. This is incredible.

So, we’re here to celebrate the release of this book. It’s available now on Amazon pre-order, so I have to do a little selling. And it actually officially comes out on Tuesday. So, I’m super excited. And we’re here, and I’m really having this sort of “pinch me” moment. So, bear with me. I just have some remarks before we get on to our main event.

So, thank you to Essence for being here and for being here always, because I do feel like you’re always there for me. I want to acknowledge my writing partner, Jan. Will you please stand up? Today it’s Jan’s birthday, so happy birthday, Jan. Jan has been by my side for over 10 years writing with me. So, she knew me before my daughter was born, right? And she’s a meticulous researcher. A meticulous note-taker. And it made this process super easy for me and super fun. And she really respects my point of view and helps me bring it to life, and I’m so grateful for you. Thank you, Jan. Another round of applause for Jan.

I want to ask everybody to turn around to that nice handsome man in the back. That’s David, my husband. I don’t do anything alone, and David’s such an incredible partner to me. And we met when we were 16 years old. We dated our senior year of high school. Went to different colleges. I gave him mono during one of the breaks. And then we broke up. And then there was a lot of years of dating and breaking up and dating and breaking up. And I’m grateful that the universe kept bringing us together because we were meant to be together, and thank you, David.

I’d like you to turn your attention right here to these two adorable young faces. These are my kids. And probably not very happy to have the spotlight on them right now, but thank you. They are so supportive of me. I’m going to always think of this moment and seeing your faces here, so thank you for being here.

Okay. So now one quick story about why we’re here and why this book came to be and who this book is for. When I started my business, Base Beauty, 15 years ago, I left a full-time job in a more corporate environment because I wanted to be the mom I wanted to be. And I wasn’t even pregnant then. I didn’t know what that looked like. But I knew I couldn’t do that in the restrictions of the place that I was working. So, my dream was to be able to do Mommy and Me gymnastics on a weekday, right? So, I had friends who had kids, and they could only do that on the weekends if they had a full-time job, right? So, that was my dream.

So, fast-forward. I get pregnant. I have a child. I’m going to Mommy and Me gymnastics on a Tuesday morning. And I wasn’t feeling good about it. There was something inside of me that wasn’t connecting. I would get really anxious and overwhelmed before and during this class. And I really had to kind of look inward and say, “Why do I not love this? Because this is all I wanted.” And I realized it’s because I had this phone in my pocket that was going off in emails, and I was trying to respond to all those work emails while I was being at gymnastics with my child. So, where is that balance? My whole goal was to just be able to do this and have flexibility and freedom, yet I was letting work creep into this moment that was so precious to me.

So, I did a reset, and I put that phone, and I actually left it in the car. Has anyone ever done that when you really need to focus? I left the phone in the car. And guess what? I started to love gymnastics with my children. So, this is the reason for the book. The book is here because we all need a little help and guidance, and not just for me, but for my 200 podcast guests, to help navigate what you want out of life, what you want out of your career, and what you want out of your personal life, and to be able to have an experience that feels right-sized for you. So, there is no one true definition of success. You create your own, and you get to change it. That’s the other thing, right? You get to change your mind. So, that’s what we’re here to celebrate tonight, and thank you so much for being here with me.

Before the main event, I am super excited that on this [inaud.] [00:10:50], that the name of the book is not alone. Do you see another word up there? Shout it out!
Gina KirschenheiterI’m so excited to be here. And thank you for choosing to not go out to watch Housewives instead. Yes. I appreciate that. Yes.
Jodi KatzI just love these shows.
Gina KirschenheiterYou know what? We’re here for you.
Jodi KatzYeah. They’re my happy place. And this is not part of the script, but I want to actually say this. I feel like I can teach a college course on why these shows are so meaningful, so I’m just going to give you a little section of it. And this is something that Dave and I talk about all the time. He’s like, “It’s so contrived, Jodi. It’s all set up.” I’m like, “Yes. These situations are set up. But those humans are having those emotions in those ways and in as authentic a way as possible.”
Gina Kirschenheiter100%.
Jodi KatzAnd we’ve all been that person, not happy. We’ve all been that person who’s upset with their spouse. We’ve been that person who feels like they were just trampled on. And I think that’s why these are so meaningful to us.
Gina KirschenheiterI think 100%, yes. And then you light it on fire with alcohol and you have yourself a good show. Yes.
Jodi KatzWell, I want to add to that, because I’m a non-drinker now. And David and I would also talk about this. It’s glorifying drinking. And I actually that, yes, maybe the first season feels like that. But let’s look at all these people who’ve experienced recovery because they saw parts of themselves that they didn’t like anymore, right, because of alcohol.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah!
Jodi KatzSo I do think if we look at it in the long-term way, it’s really addressing people’s relationship with alcohol and asking them to look in the mirror.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. Or they choose to ignore it and you just see what that looks like too. Personally, I haven’t drank since December, because mostly I just needed a break, you know? But yeah, I do think that, I mean, it’s everything. And when I look around now too, my girlfriends, my friends, and my community, it’s not just like Bravo [?Leopardese] [00:14:48] are the only people out at lunch having cocktails. I mean, I’m at Friday Night Lights, and these ladies are getting pretty lit up. So, I mean, it’s everywhere, but yeah.
Jodi KatzWell, okay. This is super exciting for me. Thank you all for being here. Let’s get to the meat of the interview, okay?
Gina KirschenheiterOkay.
Jodi KatzSo, the first question I ask all my guests, because this is a career journey show, is if you go back in time, think about your 11-year-old self, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Gina KirschenheiterSo, first of all, why 11?
Jodi KatzI think it’s just sort of formative. If I asked you when you were six, you’d say you wanted to be an astronaut, right?
Gina KirschenheiterYeah.
Jodi KatzAnd if I asked you when you were in high school, it might be actually the path that you’re going to pursue in college. So, I think that there’s this part of it that’s not exactly 100% fantasy. It’s not 100% reality. It’s sort of this in between stage.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. For me, honestly, I just really tend to be a very present person in the moment which is probably why it took me a really long time to declare my major in college, you know? And so, I never really was that little girl who was like, “I want to be this when I grow up,” or “I’m going to go get married.” And honestly, I feel like, though, being that kind of person is probably like, “Surprise, I’m a celebrity,” you know? Because I just kind of go with my gut. But if I had to really pick something, my young self, I probably thought I was going to be a professional soccer player. I thought I was going to be Mia Hamm. So, I’m quite sure that was probably what it was at the time.
Jodi KatzWere you good at soccer?
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. I mean I like to think I was, yeah. I mean, I played through high school and then I burnt out, but yeah. For a minute when I was 11, I was Mia Hamm. Yeah.
Jodi KatzSo, a lot of times when I ask this question, what happens is the answer becomes very full circle. And there’s elements of that fantasy job at 11 that are actually coming true in the careers that the people I’m interviewing have right now. So, what do you think about Mia Hamm? I mean, she’s a celebrity. She’s super famous. Is this possible, that you became Mia Hamm?
Gina KirschenheiterOh my God. I mean, I guess I am Mia Hamm, yes! I mean, if we’re gonna—this is like a therapy session. But yeah, I mean, I guess really—and it’s hard work. And I know a lot of people think, oh, it’s a silly show. But there’s a lot more that goes into it than anybody knows. And you really—you know what? I’ve had to put it all out there and be very vulnerable. And there’s a lot of times that you have to kind of—you need a lot of grit to get through a lot of it. And I guess it is kind of like—what is it? Like, wipe off the dirt, leave the blood? Is that what they say?
Jodi KatzHas anyone ever heard that before?
Gina KirschenheiterWhat were those shirts, those Umbro shirts that we used to wear, you know?
Jodi KatzI did not wear that shirt.
Gina KirschenheiterWe had different childhoods.
Jodi KatzI did play soccer, actually. I was not good at it, though.
Gina KirschenheiterOh, okay. Well, that’s okay.
Jodi KatzI played lacrosse. And I wasn’t super good at that, but I really loved that.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. Well, that’s good. Yeah. Good enough.
Jodi KatzSo, just a little reminder, we’re hosting CaraGala giveaways.
Gina KirschenheiterYes.
Jodi KatzSo, that’s Gina’s brand, and we’ll be talking about that. So, if you’re listening in on the Instagram Live, we’ll pick a few questions from Instagram Live. And those people who wrote those questions, we will send you products. You have to stick around and know that your question was asked. We’ll call you out, and then we’re going to be asking you to DM us your address. And then for people in the room, we’re also giving away—we’ll be passing a stick mic for questions, so you’ll have a chance to get a nice package from Gina, which is exciting.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. For regimen, yeah. Great.
Jodi KatzOkay. Question number two here. What was the first job that you got paid for?
Gina KirschenheiterI was a bus girl at the boat house on Long Island. It wasn’t very glamorous. But it was a cash job. I’ve had a lot of jobs. But a lot of them were in the food industry. I worked at Pizzaiola behind the pizza counter for a long time, and I was a hostess. I was a really crappy waitress through college. Very friendly. I still got decent tips because I would talk to everybody. I just didn’t bring them what they ordered, so, yeah.
Jodi KatzWith that first job as the bus person, do you remember what you did with that money?
Gina KirschenheiterOh no. I mean, the same stuff—I mean, it was very—I still am best friends with my girlfriends from that time, from elementary school. So, it was just all about getting that money to go to the movies on Friday night, or walk down to Sunset Plaza to do whatever we were doing down there. It wasn’t anything ambitious. Or a little outfit from Rainbow Shops, you know? And it was also, my parents really instilled in me at a young age that I had no choice. I mean, I had to work. So, I think that that is a good thing. And I don’t know. Still not, I’m not really a—except for those 529 plans now. I save for my kids. But other than that, I don’t know. I’m not really a big one shiny thing.
Jodi KatzAre you a saver?
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. I mean, when I can. It’s hard to save. Life is expensive. But yes, I mean, I save for the important things. I’m a saver for college for my kids and for retirement. But I like to spend money too, I’m not gonna lie.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, let’s talk about defining success, because this is a large part of the book, right? So, when I started out in my twenties in this career, I thought success meant rolling in it, like having so much money. I also thought it was kind of robotic. So, I over time redefined what that means to me. And for me, it’s just joy, right? That’s what success is for me, just feeling joyful. I’m curious, how did you define success when you started on The Real Housewives? And then looking back, I mean looking ahead years later, how has that definition changed?
Gina KirschenheiterYou know what? When I first started on this show, it kind of happened to me by accident, honestly. And they only had ever asked me to be myself. And I found success with that. And that made me feel really good, because I know we’ve discussed before too, it’s really a vulnerable feeling to just be yourself and put yourself out there because then people really can attack you for who you really are, and that sucks. But then when you start to get a positive response from that, it’s very rewarding. And then I just have stuck to that. I’m not perfect, obviously. We’ve seen that from my tracks, my bad hair choices in the past. But I don’t pretend to be, and I’m okay with who I am. I think that for me is a measure of success, right, is just to know you’re not competing with anybody else except yourself, right? So, it’s like, if you feel good about yourself, if you’re comfortable with who you are and you’re okay with showing that, I think you’re winning.
Jodi KatzWhen I’m the most vulnerable in my career, I can feel these tingles in my arms. I’m getting, here’s the goal, and then I’m so close to it that my body has a physical reaction to it. And I get kind of tense and shaky and tingly. And I think it’s my brain and my heart’s way of saying, “You’re there.” But then it’s the shadow behind me, like people telling me I was wrong all those years, saying, “Are you sure?” Did you ever have these feelings when you’re being super vulnerable that first season, right, when you were probably surrounded by a lot of people who were being fake all the time, right?
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. I mean, it’s scary to be on the show. It’s scary to put yourself out there. And people can be mean, you know? So, I definitely felt very vulnerable and it definitely was scary. Really, at the beginning, a lot was just—it was terrifying. You do it, and you’re just living, and you’re in all these situations, like you said. And whatever happens, happens. And then you have no control of what the output is. And I remember before it actually was airing, there’s this whole other element of oh my God, now I actually have to watch this. And you don’t always love what you see.

But I truly feel like, for better or worse or anything in between, obviously, we’re all sort of concentrated or exaggerated characters sort of on the show. But it’s me. And I mean, yeah, I wish I didn’t call a grown woman a sloppy chihuahua. But you can’t win ‘em all. And sometimes, you get a little—it just comes out, and it is what it is. But I think it’s okay. And now, as time has gone on, I’ve become really—I’m just comfortable. I’ve accepted it for what it is. I’ve accepted that it’s a part of my life.

The scariest part for me was navigating through my personal stuff, my personal journey, with my ex-husband, and then being very afraid to, on one hand, okay, I’m doing this for myself. I’m sharing openly what’s going on in my heart and my world, but then being very scared that the catch-up and now the show releasing would affect my relationship there because of my kids. And that was actually—a lot of that was pretty terrifying. But we got through it, and I everything, I feel like, landed where it should. And now we’re in such a good space and I’m personally in such a good space. So, it’s hard to have regrets when everything’s landed where it should.
Jodi KatzYou just described the ultimate situation of that seduction of success, right? Here you are on the show, advancing your career, advancing your notoriety, knowing that this is going to help you, because you have a platform now, with whatever other endeavors you dream of, but yet it’s pushing into your personal life in the most severe and aggressive of ways, right?
Gina KirschenheiterYeah.
Jodi KatzBecause this is not an easy situation. This is why the book exists, because people need help here. You can’t be alone in your head during these moments. So, you’re advancing your career, but you’re terrified of what it’s doing to your family.
Gina KirschenheiterRight. But I think then that’s why your book is very special and very important, because hearing that other women have those same fears and that that’s okay, and then it just gives you that little push that sometimes you need. And there’s a lot of women, I’m sure, at home who are kind of at a precipice moment, right? And they need a little push. And sometimes just knowing that other people go through the same thing, experience the same fears and anxieties and stress, and they’re not all put together like they may seem, is really powerful to know, and helpful for not just women too, just everybody, honestly.
Jodi KatzThe podcast is about career journey. But I mean, people share and open up about divorce, infertility, health issues in a way that’s so fascinating, because we really can’t separate our careers from our personal lives, right? If we’re ambitious and passionate, they’re intertwined. You just can’t separate them, right? So, it’s not a surprise that in this moment where you’re building your career, your family life is tied into it. It’s braided together.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. And I think like this morning, we were on the news. And scary, but.
Jodi KatzIt was WPIX, and I’ve never been more famous to my parents and my grandmother as I was this morning.
Gina KirschenheiterI talked to Grandma, yeah. She’s loving it. But yeah, I feel like it’s kind of like water skiing. So it’s kind of like one ski is your personal life and one ski is your career. And it’s a really hard task to water ski. And I think that it’s really a good thing to just focus on getting up. Get up on those skis, find that balance. You can’t go unless you balance it. And they don’t have to be perfectly balanced. I mean, watching me try to do that would be hysterical. First of all, I’m afraid of the water, so I don’t know. Of course, it’s a water analogy. But it’s like, just get up and get going. Just tread the water. And don’t worry about being the fastest skier in the water. Just get up on the skis. And that should be the initial goal.

And then I feel like once you get up and you calibrate and you get a little momentum, you’ll find that over time, you get faster and faster and faster, and then you’re just ripping it. And also, you can go at a slow pace. You can putt putt through the water if that’s what makes sense for you. You can be the fastest one out there if that’s what makes sense for you. But it’s finding the balance that allows you to go.
Jodi KatzI love that. You said to me, when we first met, this incredible analogy. And I just feel like it’s the best sound bite for where we are right now. And it involves something that’s really obviously part of your world, which is taking selfies and stuff. So, can you share this insight?
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. I mean, I think this is why I loved you instantly, Jodi, because the thing that strikes me about you is just you really—and obviously, your friends and everybody agrees—that you’re very authentic off the bat, and you are very vulnerable, and you’re putting it all out there. And I feel like today, in a world where everything is so filtered and so perfect, and everybody’s—and they’re even changing—they design who they are, right? It’s exciting and it sets you apart to be okay with being unfiltered and being who you are. And it’s sort of like being unfiltered is the new filter. And I do think that’s powerful. I think it’s okay. It’s the only thing that’s going to set you apart from everybody else who’s just perfect, you know? And I think that everybody could use more of that. So, it’s almost super unique to just be comfortable with who you are and lean into that.
Jodi KatzI love this line of thinking because until five years ago, I mean, until three years ago, I thought that I could never really be me in this industry, right? It’s super façade. And you mentioned this as well. And I thought if I didn’t go to college with this super famous person, I’m never going to make it. And if I don’t have cool furniture in my office—this is what I thought success was in my twenties, expensive furniture in peoples’ offices. That’s just not who I am. I would be faking it, right, if I all of a sudden built the office with the famous Dutch furniture, or whatever it was.

So, I love hearing this from you because for 15 years, I’ve been just kind of alone in my head around, well, just being who I am. And some people didn’t like who I was. Some people didn’t like it, and they told me so.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. And not everybody will.
Jodi KatzI got my hands slapped a lot by people in this industry, So, to hear this now, that this is the time when people really crave honesty and vulnerability, it’s very reassuring. So, thank you for saying this.
Gina KirschenheiterThat’s great. You know what I was thinking about this morning, just to interject? It’s like this idea. Because I have a daughter, but I have two sons too, right? And I was thinking about this balance between—because now after reading the book, it’s all I’m thinking about, right? So I’m like, this balance between career and personal life. But then I was thinking, it’s almost kind of sad. For women now, yeah, it’s really hard to find the balance. Of course it is. But it’s kind of a privilege to be able to say, oh, you know what? As a mom, it’s assumed that I get to have this relationship with my kids, and now I’m going to try to figure it out with my career, where for my boys, I don’t want them to grow up feeling like it’s already this trajectory for them of have a career and work, work, work, and take care of your wife and your kids. And basically, that option is you’re sacrificing a real, true connection and relationship with your kids, potentially.

And I thought about that, and I was like, you know what? It’s really hard. I’m not taking away from it. But it’s kind of cool to be a woman in our day and age, to be able to have the privilege of finding a balance. And if I had to pick one, I’m going to pick mom. So, I just thought that was something I was thinking about this morning, is like, it’s really hard to find balance, but it’s like a privilege to have that.
Jodi KatzYes. It’s really a struggle.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah.
Jodi KatzOkay. We’re going to really switch gears here and talk about your hairstyles on the show.
Gina KirschenheiterOkay. That’s always fun.
Jodi KatzSo, I think it’s so interesting to watch your hairstyles during the course of the years that you’ve been on the show because from my interpretation, it’s like your hair is speaking your feelings.
Gina KirschenheiterYes. Oh my gosh. Yes.
Jodi KatzAnd speaking where your heart and your head were. Is that how you interpreted it too?
Gina Kirschenheiter100%. Yes! Well, first of all, at the first season, I just didn’t know anything about a lot—I never had extensions. I look at the first season and I was like, girl, why’d you mess with that? You should’ve just left it alone. And then you do. You have people coming at you, and you kind of drink the Kool-Aid a little bit. But then it was like, I was going through some of the worst times of my entire life. And for me, if people can do that and look stunning through that, kudos to them. That’s amazing. But I just can’t. That was not a priority to me. I got in over my head with this endeavor of get these extensions, and then everything fell apart, and so did that. It just wasn’t a priority to me to go and look fabulous. I was literally just treading water. And trying to get through the show during those times, it was hard for me even be like, “Okay, I have to go where? I’m going to go to this lunch,” when I really just wanted to be home and cry and drink wine and eat Cheetos and take care of my kids, and rinse and repeat. It’s really hard to get through things. And for me, I wear it on my head, I guess.
Jodi KatzThe look you had in this past season, this hairdo with the little studs here, is so adorable, and I think about it all the time.
Gina KirschenheiterWith the pearls?
Jodi KatzYeah, the pearls, yes.
Gina KirschenheiterYes. Wasn’t it fun? I did a thing on my Instagram on that because that was really Melissa, who is my hair and makeup girl in California for the show—she is brilliant. And she broke a necklace, and she used eyelash glue and just glued those to my head. But that’s the part that I love. It’s so fun. It’s fun to be a girl. It’s fun to get dressed up. I love getting dressed up. But I’m always going to be who I am. I was flying here, I was trying to get here. This is a press-on, because I lost one nail, and I was like, “I can’t go on TV with one missing thumbnail!” And that’s just who I am, and I’m okay with that. So, it is what it is.
Jodi KatzOkay. Let’s talk about you as an entrepreneur, right? We talked about you as a TV personality. Why launch a skincare brand?
Gina KirschenheiterThis was really exciting for me. Well, first of all, I have to take care of my children, right? The show was great, but it won’t be forever. And I really am truly a product junkie. Being here today, I’m like, oh my gosh. This is exciting. And I want everything. And I’ve always explored. But really, for me, it actually was more of a deeper level thing. I, like my hair, when everything’s falling apart in my life, it really—I was trying to put the smile on, and everything’s fine, everything’s fine. But it came out in my skin bad. And I’m a picker, and I was stressed. I was making it worse. And that had such a huge effect on my confidence levels. And then when everything started to get better, and I was like, okay, now I need to figure something out to take care of my kids and take care of myself. What do I want to do? And I was like, you know what? I want to fix my skin. My goal was, I want to walk out of the house without makeup on and feel okay about that. And that to me—I don’t know if that’s a big deal, but to me, that was a big deal, because I couldn’t do it. And I was chronically walking around with the concealer all the time to patch up.

And I went out, and I found incredible products. I did that for literally a year-and-a-half of just trying and sourcing different products. And I found things that genuinely changed my skin and repaired a lot of it. And then I thought, well, you know what? Now I can take this and I can share it and give this gift to other women. And I want other women to—our—I want to say tagline, because that’s what I say on Housewives, but our motto is “Radiate confidence.” Because I really believe that. I believe that when you feel healthy, your skin is healthy. You glow. And then people tell me that now. They’re like, “You’re glowing. You look so happy. And I am, but it’s radiating, I feel like, from the inside out. But it helps to have flawless skin, you know? It’s not flawless, too. I mean, we all have problems. But even now, I have issues. But it made me feel good about myself, and it makes me feel good to give that to other women.
Jodi KatzSo, this is your first time starting a business.
Gina KirschenheiterYes. It is so hard.
Jodi KatzThank you for answering the question I was going to ask you next.
Gina KirschenheiterSo hard. Yes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, honestly, too. But it’s been a really good learning experience for me. And it is hard, because I get it. I’m on the show, and people are like, “Oh, is this a new toaster” or whatever? And it’s important for me to let people know that I really have done this myself. I put in the work. When you’re on the website, if there is a typo or something, that was me. I’m the one typing everything up. I’m the one putting it in. I’m the one who’s figured out my models. And I wanted it to look a certain way. And I had some issues with my models that I’m working on to fix now. It drives me crazy. And I’ve learned a lot.

Honestly, the most thing that I’ve learned too is to trust my gut and my instincts. That, for me, in life, in being myself as just like a person, I am pretty confident and comfortable with who I am. But this whole role of being a boss was—I didn’t know if I was doing things right. And it was scary. And even this morning, you were giving me advice. And I’m like, oh my God, that felt so good, because you don’t always know. And it’s a lot of work and a grind. But like you talk about too, it is very rewarding when things do go well and they start to get momentum, and you go, go, go. That feels really good, and I do crave that, and I do like that. So, it’s a lot. It’s a lot of things.
Jodi KatzI want to clarify, because I was actually surprised by this. So, Gina is not just the name for a brand that’s manufactured by some company that puts out brands. She literally researched all this stuff herself. So, the actuators and the pumps, she picked those, right? So, this is the worst part of launching product, is the packaging is very complicated. And the fact that you were doing that yourself and never did it before is really, I think, a testament to how passionate you are about doing this. Because you could have taken a much easier path here and just put your name on somebody else’s products.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. I also didn’t really realize that at the time, but. I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. No, I really did. It was important for me to do it myself and to do it, because really, if I just go and I put my name on somebody else’s stuff, then what? Then what do I have? I can’t run a company. It’s not an education. I can’t really take pride in that. And now it’s like, even if there are issues, even if there are things that you always have to work on and refine, it’s me. And that was important to me. And I can say I stand by every one of those products. They are amazing. And to be able to say that confidently is important, so yeah.
Jodi KatzI told you this this morning and I think it’s worth noting on the show. I don’t believe that there is perfection. I don’t think the word should even exist.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah.
Jodi KatzBecause why is there a word for something that doesn’t exist? I believe in unicorns, but I don’t believe in perfection. And I think it’s so important because you’re an entrepreneur and new to this industry that you understand that there is no perfection, and you’re just doing your best. And wherever you are right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be, and what you’re supposed to learn right now is exactly what you’re supposed to learn.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. But having someone like you tell someone like me that, it feels great. It feels very good. It’s hard.
Jodi KatzShe just said somebody like me telling somebody—this is weird, right? I mean, I look up to you so much for your vulnerability and the way you navigate the show with people who are obviously not willing to be vulnerable. So, thank you for just comparing us.
Gina KirschenheiterWe both have a real house, right, so we can respect each other for what we can contribute to each other, right? So, yeah, I think that’s rad, yeah.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, we’re going to just shift gears real fast. Usually I’m obviously asking all the questions, but you actually have some questions for me.
Gina KirschenheiterI do.
Jodi KatzAnd then we’re going to get to a fun game.
Gina KirschenheiterThey’re not that tantalizing, but. Okay, so right off the bat, why did you write this book?
Jodi KatzI was so lonely in my head when I started the podcast, so unsure of myself, so much self-doubt, like really crippling self-doubt. I mentioned people were slapping my hands. I literally had, through my career, the heads of the biggest beauty companies saying, “No, you can’t do that,” right? I can’t be myself. I can’t navigate situations my way. So, I was really frozen with a lot of those shadows. And after 200 episodes of this show, I’ve learned so much from my guests, right? And the universe brings me the guests when I need to hear their messages. It’s incredible how this works for me. So, this is not just insightful wisdom for the beauty industry. This is incredible wisdom for anybody, anywhere, doing anything.

So, that’s when Jan and I sat down together and looked at what are the themes that people keep talking about? And these themes are universal. Everybody wants to live a better life, to know what makes them happy. And that’s what this book is all about.
Gina KirschenheiterAll right. That’s rad. Yeah, that sounds great. Okay. What was the hardest part of writing the book?
Jodi KatzI think Jan would agree with me, there’s just so much great content and so many pearls of wisdom from our guests. And our guests are people who are household names. They’re people who work behind the scenes at major corporations. And they’re entrepreneurs who have yet to reach their goals. So, everybody just comes with these topics of life/work balance and finding success in different ways. And 200 episodes, that’s almost 200 hours of transcripts to read, right? It’s a lot of content. But we whittled and whittled and whittled into these incredible themes. And I love it.
Gina KirschenheiterSo, what was the first part that you wrote, though? I’m always curious about that when people write books.
Jodi KatzThe intro, which is—
Gina KirschenheiterYou did. So, you started at the beginning.
Jodi KatzYes. Well, I started with an outline. We started with a lot of notes. Yeah. So, all the mishegas that I’ve lived through, and the things that I saw, and the way that I felt.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah. Kind of laid an outline for you there, and then, yeah.
Jodi KatzYeah. I mean, I’ve had a lot of jobs through the years. I mean, I’ve gotten fired a lot, laid off a lot, right? So, there’s a lot of source material for difficult situations. And like I said, I’ve had a lot of encounters in just growing my own business that I guess I thought was okay or normal back then, and I realized, once I started to get a little bit more confidence, that that’s BS.
Gina KirschenheiterOh my God, it’s total BS. But you know what? Also, getting fired is just like, you weren’t right for that company. But now it’s like, okay, those people who told you know, you’ve just taken it and you’ve done your own thing, and now people are following that thing that they told you was a no. So, it turns out it’s a yes, so that’s great.
Jodi KatzYes. It’s hard to know that when you have to pay your rent in New York City, right?
Gina KirschenheiterYes. Definitely, yeah. You can’t cash a check on that, yeah, but. Okay. And then what do you hope that your readers will learn from the book?
Jodi KatzThat they’re not alone, right? So, that’s number one. And number two, that they really can drive their career tied to their passions and their joy, and whatever that looks like, and however they define success. There’s not one way to do this, so I think it’s really important that we all learn that. There’s a story that always comes to mind of this woman I met a party. She’s, let’s say, in her early fifties. She’s a physician. And she was telling me she doesn’t want to be a doctor anymore. I’m like, “So why are you still a doctor?” And she just felt like she had to be so rigid to this vision of who she was at 19 years old when she was heading off to medical school, right? She thought she had to be that forever. But I think we can change our minds.
Gina KirschenheiterOh my God. So, Susan Bender, she’s a designer in Manhattan. I met her, of course, through Heather [?DeGraux] [00:44:08] last year, my fancy friend. But so, Susan was a friend of Heather’s and she’s a very successful designer. But Susan—I find this—same thing. She was older. I think she was even in her late forties or fifties. She was in corporate America crushing it, and she wasn’t happy. And she went to her husband and was like, “I’m just not happy. I’m not happy. I really—I have a passion. I want to design.” And he supported her, and she walked away from her career. And now she’s Susan Bender New York, you know? And she’s happy. And every time I see her, she makes me happy, because it’s the same thing. She gives me just—you know when people are happy, they want to share that happiness with other people, and that feels really good. And she’s definitely one of those stories. So, I love that. It’s like, find what you really do love and do that. It’s just hard to figure out what you love, right? I think that’s one of the hardest things to do.
Jodi KatzBut we can be patient with ourselves. I don’t know that these answers have to be ready-made.
Gina KirschenheiterYou kind of have to be patient, right, because there’s nothing you can really do to speed up that process, so. I mean, I found it eventually, but.
Jodi KatzWell, now we’re going to shift gears to a new segment of our show that we started this year in honor of our fifth anniversary, which is games.
Gina KirschenheiterOh, I love games!
Jodi KatzOkay. So, Andy Cohen is actually a big inspiration for us and our silly games. We’re not actually out to get anybody, though. We’re not like, you know. Some of the questions they ask in these games on Watch What Happens are—they could be kind of cruel in the responses. We’re not looking to do that. We’re just looking to have some fun.
Gina KirschenheiterOkay.
Jodi KatzSo, Esperanza is going to help us here. Hi, Esperanza. What we’re going to do is play a game called Long Island In Real Life.
Gina KirschenheiterOkay.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, okay, here are the rules. This is so ridiculous. Okay. So, we know you’re from Long Island, right? That’s part of the story. The instructions. We’re going to show you a celebrity. We want you to tell us if they are born in Long Island, lived there full-time, or if they just summer there.
Gina KirschenheiterOkay. Okay.
Jodi KatzOkay, so Esperanza will hold up the sign. She’s right next to you. I don’t know if that’s a weird angle for you. Okay, you ready?
Gina KirschenheiterYes.
Jodi KatzOkay. Lindsay Lohan. Is she born on Long Island, live on Long Island, or summers on Long Island?
Gina KirschenheiterBorn.
Jodi KatzLet’s see, Esperanza. Yes!
Gina KirschenheiterIt’s hard to claim that one, but yes.
Jodi KatzOkay. Our next celebrity. Gwyneth Paltrow. Is she born on Long Island, live there full-time, or just summers there?
Gina KirschenheiterI’m gonna say summer.
Jodi KatzLet’s see, Esperanza. She summers! Okay.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah!
Jodi KatzNext celebrity. Mariah Carey. Born, lives, or summers?
Gina KirschenheiterI’m pretty sure she was born.
Jodi KatzDo you think she’s right?
Gina KirschenheiterOh my God, this is so hard for Esperanza.
Jodi KatzShe’s born there. Okay. Next celebrity. So, you’ve gotten them all of them right so far.
Gina KirschenheiterI love Long Island. I have a lot of strong Island friends.
Jodi KatzOkay, here’s so Long Island. Victoria Gotti. Born, lives, or summers?
Gina KirschenheiterWell, lives, right? Because those boys, I remember my friends, their daughter—they were trying to keep those boys, the Gotti boys, away from their daughters. Yeah, lives. Yeah.
Jodi KatzOh my God, you’re getting them all right. Okay, next question. Michael Kors. Born, lives, or summers?
Gina KirschenheiterOoh. I think he—oh, I’m caught. I think born. I’m gonna say born, but I’m not sure. Yes!
Jodi KatzBorn! Oh my God, you got them all right! Okay, is there one more left? Okay. All right, last celebrity guess. Beyonce. Born, lives, or summers?
Gina KirschenheiterSummers, yeah.
Jodi KatzLet’s see. Yes, you got them all right!
Gina KirschenheiterI really am very Long Island to the core.
Jodi KatzThank you for playing.
Gina KirschenheiterYou’re welcome.
Jodi KatzThank you, Esperanza. Okay, now last segment, and then you can mix and mingle and take pictures. Fan questions. So, we have a stick mic that we can walk around. Raise your hand if you have a question for Gina, please, and don’t be shy. All the way in the back.
AudienceSo, in the creation of your skincare line, when was the first moment you felt successful in it?
Jodi KatzGood question.
Gina KirschenheiterHonestly, you know what? And it’s kind of crazy, but it is very—like today, don’t you feel successful, because this is a celebration.
Jodi KatzThis is amazing.
Gina KirschenheiterRight? So, honestly, the launch party, and it’s on the show. I was so scared. First of all, I’ve never thrown a party. I’ve never even thrown anything on the show because I’m like—
Jodi KatzOh. That’s something that was pointed out on the show.
Gina KirschenheiterRight. I’m like, okay, but just, I was going through a hard time. Sorry about that. But yes, but that was a really big deal. And I’ve never thrown a party that size. And so, I really was mostly just so scared and stressed. And all my friends and family were there. And then right before it started, I just really resigned to the fact that, okay, but we’re doing this, and I just decided to enjoy it. And honestly, it was such a special moment. And I really just leaned into that moment. And I obviously cried like a baby. I could cry now. But because that really did—that really made me feel everything that I put into it. And I really enjoyed that night. And I looked around, and I really just saw all my family and all my friends were there to support me. And none of the ladies even got in a fight that night. I was like, this is so great. Thank you, guys. But that was a big deal. I feel like that was the first moment I felt kind of successful.

That and seeing when I first got my first sample bottles with the artwork on it. That’s a big deal too, because you’re like, oh my God, I did this, you know?
Jodi KatzThat was such a good question. You’re going to get a gift from Gina. Don’t leave yet.
Gina KirschenheiterYes. I will send you a regimen. Make sure I have your info.
Jodi KatzWe’re going to get your address. Okay. We have time for one more question in the audience. Yes?
AudienceOkay. So, if you were going to be—this is kind of cliché, so I’m sorry. But if you were going to be deserted on an island and you had the premonition that it was going to happen, what one beauty product would you bring? And I will rule out your own and also sunscreen, because we know everyone would say sunscreen.
Gina KirschenheiterYes.
AudienceWhat was the other item you would bring to the deserted island?
Gina KirschenheiterOkay. So, I would definitely bring—and if you know me, Marissa knows this, I am obsessed with—Two-Faced makes a lip gloss, but they’re discontinuing it. So, I make a point to say it at every speaking engagement, because I’m like, “Please bring it back.” Yes. And the color is Net Worth. I’m wearing it now. I have hoarded them. Every Sephora, I was hunting down.
Jodi KatzOh wait, there it is!
Gina KirschenheiterYeah, I do. And I found one in a backpack before I left for this trip. I was like, oh my God, thank you, another one. So, I have hoarded as many as I can. And it’s literally—this deserted island is happening to me. It’s just here. And it’s depleting through it. And I’m really sad about it. I’ve been looking into trying to figure out what’s in it to replicate it. I mean, so definitely, my lip gloss, yes.
Jodi KatzIn this business, we call that benchmarking.
Gina KirschenheiterWait, what was that?
Jodi KatzBenchmarking, taking another product and sending it to the lab, and—
Gina KirschenheiterYes. I am going to benchmark it, yes. For sure.
Jodi KatzYou’re going to get a gift from Gina.
Gina KirschenheiterYes. Yes.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, now we’re going to do two questions from Instagram Live before we close everything out.
Esperanza RosenbaumGreat. Okay. Hey. Hey, okay. So, the first question is, how do you deal with negative feedback? In this case, maybe negative comments on social media?
Gina KirschenheiterI mostly just ignore. I really don’t go on it. And honestly, it’s really hysterical. A lot of it is just really ridiculous. I think that being in this industry in the limelight, you really have to have—I have very good family, very good friends, and that is my shield. That is all that really matters. Anything outside of that shield, it just doesn’t matter. So, if some chick wants to tell me that the arch in my eyebrows makes her want to literally kill herself, it’s like a her problem, you know? So, there’s nothing I can do about that.

But yeah, a lot of it, it really is just like, hurt people hurt people, and most of it’s not real. And honestly, there’s something to be said about the more that people are trying to take you down, the more success you’re actually finding. That is kind of a measurable thing, right? It’s like, the more hate you get, the better you’re doing, so, yeah.
Jodi KatzDo you remember the first time we got a bad review on iTunes for our podcast? It was like, oh, we made it.
Gina KirschenheiterYeah, right? You’re like, yeah.
Jodi KatzSomeone took the time to dis us.
Gina KirschenheiterRight. These people really care. You really hate me enough to really go out of your way to say that.
Jodi KatzThe review took aim at—she didn’t like my voice, the sound of my voice.
Gina KirschenheiterI mean, look, that’s how I live my life. I mean, I hear it. It’s not like I don’t hear it, you know? What can we do about it? [Crosstalk]
Jodi KatzThat’s awesome.
Gina KirschenheiterI can’t help it.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, we need to let that person know on Instagram Live that we’re going to send them a gift. Okay, one more question for Gina.
Esperanza RosenbaumAll right. We’ve got one more. Who do you look up to most in your career?
Oh, in my career. I mean, I look up to a lot of people. Like meeting you, Jodi, you are an example of somebody that I really do look up to. And I know that that’s probably very—but I’m not just saying that. Really. I feel like I have a good skill set of finding smart people and people who really know what they’re talking about, and then I will just glom onto that person. I have no shame in that. And I do really look up to you. And honestly, I look up to you, and I know this is controversial, but I look up to Heather on the show.

Heather has helped me tremendously. She’s ahead of me, and she has really built herself up. She’s super successful, and she works hard for it, and she’s always there to help me and try and raise me up in a sea of a lot of women who are trying to drag me down, so. And she never makes me feel less than, even though she has a movie theater in her house. She’s a solid chick. And I just like anybody who is looking to raise themselves up and take you with them. Those kind of people are important to me. And I really see you as one of those people. I look up to you. I enjoyed your book. I think your podcast is great. But also, I consider you a friend, and that’s nice, yeah.
Jodi KatzAw. Yay! This is amazing. I have one more card to read, and then you’re going to read the last card, which is about this podcast.
Gina KirschenheiterOkay.
Jodi KatzOkay. So, I want to thank you so much, Gina, for being here. This is incredible and is literally a dream come true for me. And that my family and friends and team members could be here is incredible.
Gina KirschenheiterFlattered.
Jodi KatzThank you for everyone coming out to celebrate the launch of my book, Facing the Seduction of Success. Oh, you’re all going to get a gift.
Gina KirschenheiterWoo!
Jodi KatzSo, you’re going to get a cute box and stuff, so you don’t have to take these ones. You’ll have something really sweet to walk home with. Thanks again to our sponsor, GRIN. And thank you to the Base Beauty team. Can you all woop woop?
Jodi KatzSo many incredible people. It’s a dream come true to work with these incredible people. And then now to you.
Gina KirschenheiterOh, okay. So, this is what I’m doing here? Please subscribe?
Jodi KatzYeah.
Gina KirschenheiterPlease subscribe to our series on your favorite podcast app, and for updates about the show, please follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
Jodi KatzYay!
Jodi KatzThank you so much!

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