For the girl who wanted to see the world at a very young age, Dorit Kemsley—Bravo’s newest member of the hit franchise series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”—has accomplished this goal. And then some!
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While fans of the show caught a glimpse into her glamorous life last season, Kemsley’s been living her dream for quite some time. After graduating college with a degree in marketing, design, and communication, she traveled throughout Europe and eventually settled in Italy where she spent the next 10 years working for a global swimwear company.
It wasn’t until 2009 when the future entrepreneur (who speaks four languages!) returned to New York City and began designing her own Italian resort and swimwear line called Dorit, International.
“It was difficult to leave Italy, but I was looking forward to coming back home and being with my family,” says Kemsley. “I had been away from them for such a long period of time.”
New York City not only fulfilled Kemsley professionally, it’s where she met her husband Paul “PK” Kemsley, an English businessman. The couple married in 2015 and moved together to the West Coast where they co-run an entertainment company (Boy George is one of their clients!) along with various other business ventures. They also have two young toddlers.
BELLA met up with the blond beauty/super mom for an inside look at her life, both on- and off-screen…
Traveling the world was something you wanted from a young age. Did your adventures live up to your expectations?
I was a very mature and determined 19 year old, so for me it felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do and I was where I needed to be at that time. It definitely lived up to my expectations—and more. Along the way, I attended school and I loved meeting new people.
Along with travel, you have a deep love for fashion. Do you plan to return to designing?
Yes! I’m in the process of revitalizing my business; it’s something I am extremely excited about. I’m starting with my swimwear line and down the road I’d like to explore an adult line and even a line for kids. My children, Jagger and Phoenix, inspire me every day, so creating a line for young ones is something I’d love to try my hand at.
Who are your favorite go-to designers?
I have so many! At the moment, I am having a love affair with Gucci and Givenchy, and I’m definitely a McQueen girl. I absolutely love to play with fashion and mix in couture with mainstream brands like Zara, Topshop, and H&M. Nowadays, I justify buying something knowing that Phoenix is going to ultimately inherit it.
Has your fashion style changed over the years?
My style has definitely evolved. I’d always loved to play with fashion and been a bit fashion-forward, and that hasn’t changed. I don’t have a signature style per se, but I would say I am a blend of classic and trendy. Depending on my mood, the way I dress will reflect how I am feeling that day.
Did you have a favorite look that stood out for you on your first season of “RHOBH”?
I had a few, but the look I loved most was at PK’s birthday party. I was wearing a dark green Valentino dress, my hair was half up, and I had a dark green smoky eye. I just looked and felt like a Barbie doll that day.
Speaking of the show, what were your first thoughts when you were asked to be a part of it? How would you summarize your first season?
I was very hesitant when they first asked but my husband was all for it and eventually convinced me to give it a shot. It turned out to be nothing that I had expected, but then again I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into. If I had to describe it, I’d say it was a very bumpy roller coaster ride as well as a great learning experience.
You and PK are good friends with Lisa [Vanderpump]; did she share any advice with you?
No, she didn’t share too much with me. I think Lisa wanted me to have my own experience without having too much influence from her. In hindsight, I wish she would have prepared me a bit better [jokingly].
Along with the inevitable drama that comes with being a part of the show, there is also criticism on social media. How do you handle that?
I think you need layers of thick skin to handle some of the things people say. You don’t realize how hurtful and mean some people can be until you’re actually going through it. Luckily, I have incredible support in my husband and so much love around me that I was able to grow the Teflon I needed to get through it. And there was a time when it was not equally balanced, but I had a lot of people around me who had been in the game for a few years—they told me to stay away from social media and not let it affect me. When you hear that advice from people who’ve gone through it themselves, it resonates.
Do you find it exhausting at times to justify why you do certain things?
I realize that it’s a show and it only showcases snippets of your life. People pass judgment because they only see what the editing room wants them to see. I learned to get over their comments rather quickly.
Season 8 has started filming and you are coming back. What can fans expect?
The viewers will get to see a lot more of who I am, especially as I reignite my swimwear line; it’s documented in real-time. You’ll see the complications and the hurdles one goes through in business, along with a glimpse of the finished product. It’s all very exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.
There is also an epic surprise 50th birthday party that I threw for my husband this past August, so viewers will see the entire planning process and, of course, the fabulousness of the party itself.
Has life changed for you since joining “RHOBH”?
Somewhat, but we are still the same close, tightknit family we were before it started. And for the children, the show is really all they know. When the kids are on camera, it almost disappears for them, they’re not conscious of it. My son Jagger is made for this life; he’s a real showman. I wouldn’t do this if I thought it was something they were uncomfortable with or was going to have a negative impact. They love being a part of it.
Tell me something your fans would be surprised to know about you?
That my favorite night out is actually a night in, watching TV with my husband after putting the kids to sleep. We have the same taste in shows, and I just love cuddling up close and having that time together.
You’re also an active philanthropist; which organizations do you work closely with?
For the past few years, I’ve been involved with the nonprofit organization, Safe Kids Worldwide. Their mission is to help keep kids safe from preventable injuries, which is the number one killer of children in the United States. There’s so much we can do to avoid these preventable injuries, and as a mother it’s very near and dear to me. I am proud to work closely with them.
As a working mother who is involved in a variety of projects, how do you stay grounded for your family?
It truly is a balancing act, but I’ve always been a multitasker and thrive in those situations. Family means everything to me and they will never come second. If I’m passionate about doing anything else, I’m going to have to find a way to have that balance. It doesn’t come without its challenges, but my husband is extremely supportive; he really is the best. He is everything I could have dreamed about in a husband and a father.
Photography: John Russo, Getty Images
Stylist: Jazmin Gonzalez
Hair: Justine Marjan
Makeup: Carlene Kearns
Location: Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, Penthouse