Rosie Pope, star of Bravo reality show "Pregnant in Heels," stopped by the Rye Free Reading Room Tuesday morning to talk about her experiences running a growing maternity-focused company and raising her own family all while starring on a reality television show.
True to form, Pope is currently expecting her third child and wore a fabulous pair of black suede stilettos as she talked about the growth of the maternity business she started in 2008 and the positive impact the reality television show has had on its growth.
"A lot of women tell me they've been helped by the show," she said. She hopes to use the success of her high end clientele services to offer free online classes and expert access as well as an affordable product line for mainstream moms.
Pope offers a range of maternity concierge services, from Momprep classes and her own line of maternity wear at her Madison Avenue store to personal consultations and professional referrals.
"Pregnant in Heels" debuted last year on the Bravo channel and immediately became a popular culture hit. Pope was even spoofed on Saturday Night Live by comedian Abby Elliott. The skit was a surprise to Pope, who watched the episode and took the ribbing in stride.
"I thought it was the best thing that ever happened. I didn't know it was coming on and I was watching," said Pope. "Abby Elliott also wrote me a thank you note."
Pope also laughed about the portrayal of her distinctive lispy speaking voice. "By the way, on season 2, I'm going to speech therapy!" she said.
The show follows Pope and her staff as they offer maternity concierge services to expectant mothers in New York City. The sometimes outrageous requests and flamboyant personalities of the women who hire Pope quickly struck a chord with audiences. Pope said the out-sized personalities and requests were all real and captured by a production staff of 20 who shoot 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.
"I think I'm the voice of reason," Pope said about her role working with staff and clients on the show who often come across as eccentric. While the requests of her clients are often a bit incredulous, Pope says their anxieties about pregnancy are universal. "They are all real, but I think they have the same problems we all do and that's what people connect with."
Pope says she was approached by producers to do the reality show after she worked for Bethenny Frankel of the popular "Housewives" franchise on the Bravo cable network.
While reality television sometimes damages the reputations of the people who sign up, Pope says she is glad she took the opportunity because it has catapulted the growth of her three-year-old maternity business.
"It was a really tough time in the economy. I thought it was the quickest way to make things happen for my business and my family," said Pope.
And her gamble seems to be paying off. Her husband has left his Wall Street job to help her run the business full-time.
Pope has plans to open 10 maternity retail studios in cities around the country and has already increased her staff from four to 12.