August 13, 2010
It gives insight into my businesses, my family, how I became one of “The Real Housewives of New York City” as well as a few of my favorite places and things.
Hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!
All the best,
Woman Around Town:
Ramona Singer—The REAL Real Housewife
Real Housewife Ramona Singer recently returned from a four-country tour of Africa. She toured as part of a group supporting AfricaFoundation.org, whose mission is to empower people in poverty-stricken countries via education, healthcare and sustainable, income-generating activities. Ramona supports other charities, too, but this recent excursion was both surprising and revelatory. When she saw the living conditions the children were made to endure, Ramona was saddened. “People living in third-world countries need more than money to be helped. The kids need an education, most of all, and one of the things AfricaFoundation.org does is build schools from nursery through primary and secondary levels,” she says. “It’s incredible.” Ramona was invited to participate in the trip by a friend, Krista Krieger, the Chairman of AfricaFoundation.org. The group visited five schools in four countries. “We built a kitchen so the children could have fresh food every day. A healthy body creates a healthy mind,” she says. “Some of the schools even have gardens.”
Ramona spent those two weeks in Africa away from husband Mario and daughter Avery – something she’d never done before to such an extent. And, she traveled with eight other women of whom she knew only one. “I was a little nervous at first but it was a life-changing experience,” she admits. “Just to be so close to nature, the air was so fresh, to see the lions and cubs and elephants. It was amazing. If I were an animal, I’d definitely be a zebra because they’re social, they’re smart, they hang out in packs with giraffes who can see oncoming danger and they’re chic. They stand out in the crowd!”
The most amazing part of the journey for Ramona was speaking with the children who seemed happy despite their circumstances. “These children don’t have what we have and yet they’re always happy and smiling,” she says. “It showed me that money really can’t make you happy if you’re not happy within yourself. You could see it in the faces of the children how happy they were just to be in a school, learning, and on their way to having a better future. So many people in America are driven by making money. I’m not saying that I don’t like to be successful because I do, but it’s not the end all. Health and happiness are more important than money.”
Ramona’s success was a journey of its own. She grew up in Dutchess County, NY, the oldest of four children (she has one brother and two sisters) with a father who had an abusive temperament, particularly toward her mother. As a result, Ramona felt like a caretaker. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and graduated with a four-year business degree in fashion before working in the industry for Macy’s, Calvin Klein and French Connection. When she was 30, she started her business with a $70,000 loan from her father. “It was the only good thing he’d ever done for me,” she says. “I paid him back, in full, with interest, within a month.”
Ramona’s business (as a fashion distributor) is now a multi-million-dollar enterprise. It was in the early years of her business that Ramona met and married Mario and eventually had Avery, who’s now 15. Her segue into the world of reality TV occurred after a series of twists and turns. If you’re wondering how one becomes a Real Housewife, in Ramona’s case, she was spotted on another woman’s demo tape about Manhattan moms. Ramona had no intention of going on the show but had done the demo tape as a way to record herself with Avery for posterity. “I just wanted the DVD,” she explains. “I loved the way they captured Avery and me. It’s adorable.” (See Avery and Ramona Welcome You to Their Manhattan Apartment! on YouTube.). When Ramona’s friend, Dr. Sharon Giese, mentioned that casting was underway for a new reality show, Ramona’s initial response was that she had no time. Bravo pursued and eventually, Ramona acquiesced, with the condition she could bring her True Faith Jewelry line along for the ride. Although, as she points out, the show is just a glimpse of who she really is. “They don’t show all sides of me,” she says. “But overall, the show has been great and the best thing for my business. The only downside is a lack of privacy at times.”
While we’re on the phone chatting, Ramona tells me she’s packing for the Hamptons, shaving her legs and preparing for her August 11th HSN jewelry show. Apparently, having it all requires doing it all and sometimes, doing it all at once. Ramona’s business has grown over the last 20 years and thanks to the show, in new directions. “It got my creative juices flowing,” she says. She’d begun the True Faith Jewelry line with Mario through his family’s fourth generation jewelry business and then launched Tru Renewal, a natural, eco-friendly skin care line made with green algae (a rich source of vitamin C and other antioxidants).
Ramona’s “personal renewal” began two Christmases ago when Mario convinced her to invite her father to celebrate Christmas with the family. Years before, when Mario’s father had passed away and his mother needed help, she lived with the family for 10 years until her death—family was important. As it turned out, Ramona had a great time with her father that Christmas and was sad to see him leave. “I forgave him,” she says. “He died two weeks later.” The reconciliation was cathartic as was watching herself on TV. Together, these things catalyzed the renewal she talks about. “I’m more understanding and not so sharp with my tongue. I’m still open and outgoing but I’m more edited and softer now.”
Ramona’s new line of estate-inspired jewelry launches on Wednesday, August 11th on HSN with whom she has partnered. The new line includes pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings. Pieces are priced from $159 to $600. “They have a red carpet or estate feel and estate jewelry will always be in style. Women will always wear it,” Ramona says. “They can pass these pieces down through the generations.”
Signature pieces in the collection are Cuff Bracelets, one in Turquoise and Sky Blue Topaz with Diamonds ($399) and another dainty Diamond Textured model ($299). One particularly exquisite piece (though rather more expensive) is the Large Hoop Earring set with 1ct. of Diamonds ($549). The target audience is the everyday woman. “It’s great quality and when you wear one of these pieces, it completely changes the outfit,” she says. “You can wear it with a dress or jeans. You can wear it everyday. They’re investment pieces, always in style but without the Madison Avenue prices.”
Tune in to HSN this Wednesday (August 11, 2010) from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm (EST) for Ramona’s live appearance and the launch of her new jewelry line.
Real Housewives of New York City is just a narrow window into Ramona’s world. “There’s a lot people don’t know about me,” she says. “I can decorate, landscape, do construction. I’m a great cook and I can whip up a dinner for 24 people.”
Ramona says she makes a delicious tuna sashimi with grapefruit by slicing fresh tuna thinly and squeezing fresh lime and grapefruit juices over the tuna slices. She shreds a few grapefruit sections (peeled) over the tuna and adds sliced cherry tomatoes and cilantro. The acid from the citrus cooks the tuna. The longer it sits, the more it cooks. “It’s beyond delicious,” she says.
Filming for The Real Housewives of New York City typically takes place from September to December so we’ll have to wait and see what next season will reveal. I ask about the possibility of a Ramona brand Pinot Grigio, in the meantime. “It’s certainly not out of the question,” she laughs. “Maybe.”
Woman Around Town’s Six Questions:
Favorite Place to Eat: The Standard Grill
Favorite Place to Shop: Bergdorf’s
Favorite New York Sight: The Boathouse in Central Park
Favorite New York Moment: Every New York moment!
What You Love About New York: The energy! And you never feel alone
What You Hate About New York: The way it smells in extreme heat
For more information about AfricaFoundation.org, please visit www.AfricaFoundation.org
For more information on True Faith Jewelry, please visit www.TrueFaithJewelry.com
For more information on Tru Renewal Skincare, please visit www.RamonaSinger.com
For more information or to purchase Ramona Singer Jewelry for HSN, please visit www.hsn.com
Photo of Ramona, Mario and Avery at Ramona and Mario’s Vow Renewal Ceremony by Rob Rich
Article source: www.womanaroundtown.com
May 20, 2010
We are still in Namibia but moved to the Wilderness Safaris‘ Desert Rhino camp. Enjoyed a full day of exploring the region. This camp is home to the largest free ranging black rhino population in all of Africa! How cool is that?
I love animals and seeing so many of them face to face in their natural habitat has been amazing! Each camp feels more beautiful than the next. I wish Mario and Avery were here to experience this with me.
Here are a few pics of where we are staying:
Tomorrow I head back to Johannesburg where I will be spending 2 additional days before heading back to NY.
This has been quite a journey for me and I would like to thank everyone who has been keeping up with my tweets, blog posts and facebook messages.
The Africa Foundation works in conjunction with the &Beyond Foundation to provide aid to Africa’s children. Visit their website to find out what you can do to help today – www.africafoundation.org
* Photos: Wilderness Safaris
May 19, 2010
We are now in Damarland Namibia but I wanted to share these pictures which I was able to take on our community visits last week.
We saw a total of 6 different schools which the Africa Foundation has helped to build. It is so important for EVERY child to recieve an education as well as a good meal each day – that is why we are working to get more kitchens built along with schools.
While I was saddened at first for the conditions that these children have to endure, their amazing positivity and hospitality showed me that you can truly make the best of any situation. They enjoy going to school and are so appreciative for everything the Africa Foundation has done for them. Please visit africafoundation.org for information on how you can help today.
*Africa Foundation works in conjunction with &Beyond Foundation to provide aid for the children of Africa.
May 18, 2010
We are now in Namibia at camp Little Kulala. This is a desert retreat. We had a full day of guided drives through the towering dunes. Tomorrow we continue on to the Desert Rhino camp. I have included some photos of where we are staying, so you can feel like you are here with me on my Safari.
Africa is such a beautiful continent with so much to offer…
Be sure to follow me on twitter and become a fan on my facebook page for pictures and other updates from my trip!
Photos courtesy of Wilderness Safaris.
May 17, 2010
We are in Zambia at camp Toka Leya. Check out these amazing photos of where I am staying. The Wilderness Safaris and &Beyond camps have been nothing short of phenomenal!! I feel so lucky to be here! I saw some amazing landscapes and experienced nature like you only see in the movies.
It is truly a blessing to experience ALL sides of Africa. It is a wonderful country and the girls and I are getting the opportunity to do and see things that we could have only dreamt of, including the chance to visit with persons/communities who’s lives have been touched by The Africa Foundation.
Please check back tomorrow for more photos and information!
Photos courtesy of Wilderness Safaris
May 17, 2010
Wilderness Safari’s Mombo Camp
Please keep checking my blog for more updates and picture!
*www.AfricaFoundation.org works in conjunction with &Beyond Foundation to provide aid for Africa’s children.
Photos courtesy of Wilderness Safaris and &Beyond
March 6, 2010
I am so happy to have started this blog so I have a place to connect with my fans and discuss the on-goings of my business and the fun publicity I receive. But most importantly, I really like that I have a place to talk about something very close to my heart.
Africa Foundation facilitates the empowerment and development of people living in or adjacent to protected areas in Africa, by forging unique partnerships between conservation initiatives and communities. The Foundation funds projects based on the needs within the communities surrounding conservation areas, specifically in the following three areas:
- Education – school improvement, bursary schemes, conservation lessons
- Healthcare – primary healthcare centres, HIV/AIDs awareness programmes, access to water, sanitation
- Income Generating Activities – agricultural projects, skills centres, entrepreneurial support
A key Africa Foundation aim is to help break the cycle of poverty. They therefore seek to support projects that combine to provide a ‘conveyor belt’ of resources from pre-natal care, right the way through to university bursaries.
This May I am a part of a group of women on a trip to South AFrica, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia to participate in extremely vital community development projects involving education, medical and health care improvements in rural Africa. The major focus of the trip is to expose us to the work of Africa Foundation and to continue to the work of the foundation. Our group will be touring the creche, primary and high schools; visiting health care clinics and learning about HIV/AIDs initiatives. Africa Foundation’s work involves communities that border on conservation areas. A special thank you to Wilderness Safaris and &Beyond for making all of this possible!!
A special thank you to Wilderness Safaris and &Beyond for making all of this possible!!
If you wish to learn more or to see you can be a part of the foundation, please visit http://www.AfricaFoundation.org