What RHOD Star D'Andra Simmons Does For A Living

Although the premise of the Real Housewives franchise is to document women living their real lives, being a star of the show is a job in and of itself. It's not something that's usually acknowledged in the actual episodes (minus the reunions, of course), but it is a time-consuming experience that the women get paid to be a part of. It's also a great platform to promote their existing businesses and to promote new ventures, with Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl empire serving as the go-to success story. However, she's not the only Bravo celeb killing the game as a businesswoman.

Before D'Andra Simmons ever joined Real Housewives of Dallas, she was mentioned by name by LeeAnne Locken and Cary Deuber during an argument at the Season 1 reunion. They mentioned her as an example of one of the "It Girls" in Dallas society, which is in part due to her well-connected family. When D'Andra joined the show for Season 2, fans learned more about the Simmons family, which included glimpses at D'Andra's complicated relationship with her mother, Dee Simmons, who also owned the company D'Andra worked for at the time.

In 1996, Dee started the company Ultimate Living, which makes supplements and skincare products. D'Andra had been working with Dee to run the company for years before she started her own branch of the business, Hard Night Good Morning, which focuses on aloe-based skincare products. However, the seemingly perfect job setup isn't all it appears to be — here's an inside look into all of the difficulties D'Andra has faced running the company.

D'Andra Simmons and her mom fought about money

D'Andra Simmons' main storyline on Real Housewives of Dallas has been her complicated relationship with her mom, Dee Simmons. At the end of Season 3, Dee handed over the company to D'Andra, which was a touching moment. However, Dee didn't tell D'Andra about the company's financial struggles, and in Season 4, fans saw D'Andra get thrown off by the situation. In October 2019, she told The Daily Dish, "I still don't know why she didn't let me see the numbers and why she kept that information from me. That's a question I don't think I'll ever have the answer to." 

In addition to supposedly keeping D'Andra in the dark, Dee wouldn't give permission for D'Andra to take money out of the family trust to keep the company afloat. "If I could sell my house, I probably would have sold my house. But I can't because it's in a trust," D'Andra explained to the outlet. Although that situation seemed very stressful on RHOD, D'Andra said, "I would have loved for my mother to help me out when I needed it, but she didn't, and I've gotta just pull myself up by my bootstraps, like my dad used to say, and get on with it."

When D'Andra got the keys to the company, she only had three months to turn things around before it went bankrupt, which is a lot of pressure to deal with on top of filming a super stressful reality TV show.

D'Andra Simmons left politics to run the family biz

It seemed like D'Andra Simmons was upset with her mom for not giving her money to save the family business, but the story is much more layered. D'Andra's version of events? She gave up her career in Washington, D.C. to help Dee Simmons run the company in 2004, which was a pretty big deal considering D'Andra had been appointed the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. She was working with Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham under President George W. Bush and had aimed to become a lobbyist. 

But just because D'Andra comes from family money, it doesn't mean she was handed this position. During a 2018 Watch What Happens Live appearance, D'Andra revealed that she interned for George H.W. Bush, stating, "I've been working since I was 14." D'Andra elaborated on the situation to The Daily Dish, "I never thought my mother owed me anything or [she should] give me money."

So why did D'Andra feel upset with her mom about the job change? She said, "It was about changing my career in the middle of my 30s for something that was promised. That was really the whole upset for me. I really wish people would understand that, and it's not about the money." She emphasized to DuJour, "My mother said, 'You're never going to have another chance to have your own business,' so I came home." 

D'Andra gave up a lot for Ultimate Living and it's been far from easy, but she's been innovative enough to turn the situation around.

Has coronavirus affected D'Andra Simmons' business?

In November 2019, D'Andra Simmons admitted to Medium that she did The Real Housewives of Dallas "to get my brand name and awareness out there." She added, "The money I made on the show, I put back into my business. And that rebranding and the marketing, it's all part of the plan I had made for myself in order to be successful."

Although the show brought more eyes to the business, the exposure wasn't enough to fix the company's problems. And then the coronavirus pandemic presented additional challenges, bringing potential opportunities to a "screeching halt," as she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. As result, she adapted her marketing strategy and began doing weekly live sessions on Instagram and Facebook. She also purchased stocks during the pandemic to save the company. The reality star also revealed to the website that her mom felt bad about handing over the company in that way, and, in response, she "took responsibility" and provided some financial assistance. What's more? D'Andra promised that she and her mom don't talk about the business at all on Real Housewives of Dallas Season 5, which is a major change.

As for the future of D'Andra's business? Whether it's successful or not remains to be seen.