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9 Strict Rules The 'Real Housewives' Have To Follow While Filming

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The Real Housewives

Since 2006 the "Real Housewives" franchise has been a staple for entertainment in many households.

Fans have been obsessed with following the lives of rich housewives in wealthy cities, so much so that the show has been filmed in 10 U.S. cities, as well as a few International cities — there has even been a slew of spin-offs.

With all of the chaos that usually follows this reality show, viewers might not be expecting that the cast members do have a few rules they need to follow while filming.

Here are 9 rules the 'Real Housewives' have to follow while filming.

1. All the cast members have to audition.

According to Bustle, many of the women who appear in any of the "Real Housewives" shows have to audition and are handpicked by Andy Cohen, who is the executive producer of the franchise.

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"I am involved in all of it," Cohen said, via Bustle.



Even though Cohen has a big role in the casting process, a Bravo executive on the network's site revealed that a group of people make the casting decision together, and it even involves an audition process that everyone must go through.

2. Everything in their lives has to be filmed.

Per the contract that the women sign to be on the "Real Housewives," the producing and film team are allowed to have access to everything while filming.

"I always ask people what's off the table. [If they] say, 'This, this, this and that,' I say, 'You shouldn't be on reality TV,'" casting director Melissa Stanforth told the New York Post.

Even their phone conversations are televised, which explains why every time one of the women takes a call, it's on speakerphone. 

3. Cast members have to work hard to get screen time.

An anonymous producer told Business Insider that the women on the "Real Housewives" who don't make enough effort to film have less control of their storyline.

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"It's better to be present and show up and have some screen time. The last thing you want is for someone else to tell your story," they said.

4. Cast members are not allowed to change their hairstyle mid-season.

For reasons due to consistency in the interview segment of the show, the women are not allowed to change their hairstyles or other features. 

In an interview with Glamour, former Orange County housewife Vicki Gunvalson explained the rules for no appearance changes during filming.

“You wear the same outfit all year long. You get three looks [total]. But for three months, you have to wear the exact same outfit, same hair, same makeup. You can never cut your hair in the middle of it because you’re supposed to look the same.”

5. They have to pay for their own makeup team.

According to Erika Jayne, who appeared on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," she spent $40,000, of her own money, a month on makeup, hair, and clothes.

According to People, Jayne travels with her own makeup team and has three walk-in closets in her Beverly Hills mansion.

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During an interview on The Wendy Williams Show, via People, Jayne confirmed that she spends a pretty penny to be on the reality show.

"That is true. You know, it can get there for sure,” she said.

6. They cannot break the fourth wall while filming.

The 'Housewives' are not allowed to break the fourth wall while filming, which means no mention of the cameras or the production and film crew.

However, this sometimes leads to confusion with a few dramatic moments.

"Real Housewives of New York" star Carole Radziwill told BuzzFeed that she was told information by a producer that led to her calling Aviva Drescher a liar.

Radziwill couldn't explain her source to viewers without breaking the fourth wall, so she wasn't able to divulge more info.

7. Cast trips are split between the network and the "Housewives."

According to Reality Blurb, Andy Cohen revealed who covers the cost of the extravagant trips the "Real Housewives" take.

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“It’s a combination,” Cohen said during a Q&A, revealing that the bills are typically split between production and the cast. 

8. Former cast members can't appear on other reality shows.

According to Radar, after housewives Tamra Judge and Vicki Gunvalson announced they were leaving The Real Housewives of Orange County after Season 14, they were given 1-year non-complete, which prevents them from appearing on another reality show until the set date.

“They will have to get special permission to film any other television shows for the next year," an insider told Radar.

9. The women are required to keep a blog.

For the women who appear on the show, they are supposed to keep a blog with their reactions to each episode as a requirement. 

For Carole Radziwill, who starred in "The Real Housewives of New York City" for six seasons, she was told to keep a blog where she'd recap each week's episode after it aired.

"Like viewers, I was seeing and hearing for the first time what the other ladies said about each other — and about me, in the scenes I didn’t film. I was also seeing all of those snappy little confessional interviews for the first time. And, yes, I cringed at some of the things I said," she wrote on her blog.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.