Earlier this year, the Bravo Network announced a whopping seventeen new shows to their 2013 lineup; among them was the sure-to-be hit, Untying the Knot.
I was immediately excited at the opportunity to interview the uber-fab, Vikki Ziegler on her career and future of her growing business empire. Needless to say… it’s an interview sure not to be missed; from her past, present, and future — we covered it all:
Oh, where to begin? You have such a unique story and you’re such a multi-layered talent that it’s difficult to choose a starting point. Did you always want to be a divorce mediator? What inspired you to take that route?
My parents divorced when I was 12 and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with. They fought for custody of me and it was my first induction into the legal world. I truly believe that everything happens to you for a reason and I had to endure the divorce pain so that I could help others during their difficult divorce. Mediating allows me to help people divide their stuff in a non-acrimonious, more integral fashion. Its more in line with who I am as a person and as a lawyer.
Well, not all mediators are media personalities — nor do they have their own show (Untying The Know on Bravo), but you do! How did you begin to build a name for yourself in the entertainment industry as well as the legal industry? It must have been a lot of work.
I met a Fox News booker eight years ago who asked me “why aren’t you on TV?” I thought he was joking and just hitting on me quite honestly. But he was persistent, we exchanged cards and he called me the next day. I went on Fox News and debated a legal topic and that’s when I fell in love with TV. Since then, I have been a talking head and have aired on over 1000 shows. From these appearances, I was noticed as talent and was blessed enough to shoot a pilot with a production company that believed in me. Then, Bravo saw it and picked my show up. Its still surreal and feel humbled every day that my dreams are becoming a reality. I credit the beginning of my TV career to Eric from Fox News who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself back then. But I can tell you now, TV is my destiny.
Your book, The Pre-Marital Planner is known as “a complete legal guide to a perfect marriage”. How do you feel about the hot topic of having a prenup?
Crucial. I think almost everyone should have the discussion and most need a prenup. One out of 2 marriages fail and it only goes up for second marriages! People need to get emotionally and financially naked before they walk down the isle. Prenups protect both parties in some fashion in the event of long, costly divorce battle and even in the event of death. It can be worth discussing it and how things should be divided now – when a couple is in love vs later when love turns to hate.
If you could give any newlyweds any advice (before their big day) what are the three biggest advice tips you’d give them?
Discuss all money matters. Discuss your roles – who will work, who will stay home and if things change how will you handle them and discuss the emotional commitment you have for your partnership. Get clear on what it takes to be in a successful marriage and vow to work on it daily. Nothing comes easy. Marriage is a two way street and you get out what you put in. We all want to be happy and that is the reward for hard work in a marriage.
In addition to your role as mediator, TV star, writer, and producer (we’ll get to that) you’re also a very active philanthropist; what are some of the charities you work with most, and what do you love most about their efforts?
I love Make a Wish Foundation. I saw the money actually go directly to the children. I ran fundraisers and took dying children to get their wishes granted. It was the most difficult but rewarding charity I have ever been involved in. I enjoy donating my time to the soup kitchen in NYC – StreetProject as well as giving meals to the elderly; I have worked with the RedCrossduring Hurricane Sandy to deliver food to those in need along with donating 10 bags to those in peril. I have worked with Chai Lifeline and Toys for Tots. Charity is the best way to give back and focus on others.
Okay, producer. Let’s talk about your new movie Love, Lies, & Litigation. What is it about, and what was it like creating a movie?
This is my baby. I wrote this book which was adapted into a manuscript as a movie. I have been working with some very talented people to make this movie come to life. Its a about a divorce attorney in NYC (shocker [Laughs]) who is looking for love through the eyes of her clients. Its a sort of romantic [chick-flick] compilation- a cross between the Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City. I cant wait for it to come to the big screen next year!
Before you go, tell us what’s next for you. What can our readers expect