Work Lessons from Reality TV

August 04, 2011 12:21 AM

Reality television set in the workplace or offering insight into different fields of work is our version of sports.  I was on a reality show called Fashion File Host Hunt where I competed for a job and I can tell you that the challenges, the pressure, the judgment – it was all very real. So, I love watching other people hustling to get the job done.

Here are some of my favorite reality television shows set in the workplace, plus what we can learn from them and their stars.

1. The Apprentice & The Celebrity Apprentice

Best business reality show ever.

What we learn from it: How to manage people (from the challenges) and how to express yourself effectively in meetings (from the boardroom).

Favorite characters: The celebrities, of course. The claws have really come out over the years on this show – some of our favorite rivalries include Joan Rivers vs. Annie Duke and Nene Leaks vs. Star Jones vs. Latoya Jackson.

The City

Whitney Port has left The Hills to face the big, bad ,beautiful world of the New York fashion industry. We get to see the office intrigue at  Diane Von Furstenberg, People’s Revolution and Elle magazine.

What we learn from it: Don’t be soft – it not only allows pushy friends and socialite frenemies to f–k you over, it’s also really annoying to watch.

Favorite characters: Kelly Cutrone, co-owner of People’s Revolution, because she’s a PR genius and her zero tolerance for incompetence has her saying things we wish we could pull off. We also love Olivia Palermo because it’s nice to have a villain to channel all our work rage towards.

You can still watch The City online at

Life in the Fab Lane

Kimora Lee Simmons is the ex-wife of Russell Simmons and the head of Baby Phat fashion. She’s a “model, a mom and a mogul”. She’s also excellent TV. She makes grand demands and plays the supreme diva, but every business call she makes is right on the money.

What we learn from it: How to do things right. Kimora doesn’t care if it’s the eleventh hour or if she’s driving everyone nuts – if she’s not happy, the job is not done. Her ideas are big and she forces people to rise to the occasion to execute them according to her standards.

Favorite characters: The only people Kimora would ever let upstage her: daughters Ming Lee and Aoki Lee. They’re confident, creative and gorgeous, just like their mamma.

Keeping up With the Kardashians

It’s the modern version of the family sitcom and it’s turned the Kardashians into a huge international brand. Consequently, the show’s now very much about running that brand and the various careers of the clan members.

What we learn from it: Eyelash implants are da bomb. Seriously though, the women of the show are dedicated to taking care of themselves, which is an essential part of personal branding for everyone.

Favorite characters: Bruce Jenner, because of his Olympic athlete work ethic. He’s downplayed as the bitch in a female-dominated household, but he’s often the voice of discipline and brutal honesty.



Comments are closed.