Despite being a bestselling author, journalist and former reality TV star, Carole Radziwill hadn’t given a lot of thought to being an influencer.
With 665,000 Instagram followers, she certainly qualifies. A year out from exiting Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City,” she is already immersed in the next phase of her career. She is crafting a scripted TV comedy based on a former reality star who is president of the co-op board of a little West Village apartment building; she also plans to develop a true crime show. Her third book is in the works, as is writing a column recommending products for her best friend Cassandra Grey’s Violet Grey site. Radziwill is considering pitching an advice column in the media universe. “I give a lot of advice. It’s a fundamental flaw in my personality that I don’t like to take advice. But I like to give advice. On Instagram, people will DM me for advice. I thought, ‘I could probably turn this into some sort of career.’”
Reminded by WWD’s Ellen Thomas that she is in fact an influencer, she said, “I hope I influence people to be better versions of themselves or to be curious about life,” she said, “I don’t think of myself as an influencer because I’m super old-school from network news. When I was at ABC, it was NBC, CBS and ABC. Then came CNN. It was like ‘Wow, CNN. Who is going to be interested in watching the news 24-7?’”
Joining “RHONY” is what got her interested in social media. Even still, Radziwill said when she decided to leave the show, it hadn’t occurred to her that she would keep her audience. “When you were a journalist at ABC on any of the shows, once you left, you left — and the audience stayed with the networks. Now you leave with the audience. This is a whole new game. Now I get what it means to be an influencer because we leave with our audience. I think about that audience. They are mostly women 24 to 50. They skew a little younger than me. I think about what they’re interested in, what they want to hear from me.”
Her approach to the influencer game is to go with what feels organic. “I really just post what I use and like,” she explained.
After a 15-year career at ABC News and still trying to process the death of her husband Anthony, Radziwill stepped away from journalism. During that time, she wrote “What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Loss.” While diving into reality TV may have seemed like “a left turn,” Radziwill said she had known Andy Cohen a bit beforehand. As for her six-year run on Bravo, she said, “It’s one of those careers that’s like a merry-go-round. Once you get on, it’s hard to jump off. It helped to sell a lot of books and I was building this audience for my future work.” (Her second book, “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating: A Novel,” was published in 2012.)
Radziwill said, “It was a pretty interesting, weird, fun kind of thing to do. Even though I wasn’t used to speaking the way a lot of the women spoke on the show. I don’t like the name calling. I knew I wasn’t going to get drunk, black out or be naked…But I was kind of just having fun. I never felt that I was above the show. In the last two years or so, starting with the election, something shifted a little. I felt, ’I don’t know if I want to be contributing to this conversation as much.’ Then I was having tons of arguments — not with the other cast members, with the executives at the network. It was time to go. They knew, too…Ultimately you do know when something is behind you.”
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