The Stunning Transformation Of Dorit Kemsley's

The "Real Housewives" franchise is packed full of colorful characters, but some stars of Bravo's hit reality TV universe stand out more than others. Since Dorit Kemsely joined "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" in 2016, she's proven to be one of the sassiest and most glamorous ladies in the business (and that's saying a lot when you're up against the likes of Lisa Vanderpump). It's not easy to join an already-established show in its 7th season, but Kemsley took to it like a duck to water. 

Kemsley's success is hardly surprising, given her roots — she has an incredible backstory, and it seems like the blonde beauty was born to be phenomenal, going on to conquer both the business and entertainment worlds. The mom-of-two had quite the journey to the top, but that's what sets her apart from the rest. 

When it comes to transformations, Kemsely has just kept on getting better and better, going from a young professional jet-setter to a mother, to a reality star and sadly, in more recent years, a home invasion survivor and PTSD advocate. Let's take a look at the twists and turns that have propelled her forward, and how Kemsley got to be as fabulous as she is today.

Dorit was born to travel

As "Real Housewives" fans, we are used to hearing some pretty interesting backstories. Kyle and Kim Richards were once popular child stars, and their family feud with Kathy Hilton (aka Paris Hilton's mom) was a hot topic. There's a lot of competition on "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," but just because Dorit Kemsley wasn't previously famous doesn't mean her childhood was boring. 

Kemsley was born in Connecticut, but neither of her parents was originally from the United States. Her father hails from Israel, while her mom is from Tangier, Morocco. This culturally rich union meant that Kemsley grew up speaking multiple languages. That's not a leg up everyone gets, but maybe it was this fusion that also made her keen to travel. Some people are anxious about getting on planes and leaving the country, but as a youngster, Kemsley didn't let it stop her from achieving her dreams.

As she grew up, she went on to spread her wings and even lived alone in another country for almost a decade (but more on that, later!). Alongside her siblings, Kemsley was blessed with world-wise parents who passed on that adventurous spirit to their kids. Even her name has a special meaning in Hebrew. Dorit means "of this generation" which is a perfect moniker for someone looking to make their mark.

Anything but an ordinary childhood

Because of where her parents were from, Dorit Kemsley got to do some pretty impressive things growing up that some people may only dream about. She mentioned a couple in an interview with US Weekly, explaining that she got to travel to Israel a few times as a child thanks to her dad's connection to the country. "I've visited Israel a handful of times. My favorite memory is when we took a [big] family trip there when I was about 8. We covered everything. It was a magical summer."

If these Middle Eastern jaunts weren't enough, Kemsley confessed in another interview with E! News that she even won a dance competition in Israel when she was just 6 years old. Apparently, she was quite the mover and shaker as a kid and was a natural at breakdancing. Aside from her travels and accomplishments, Kemsley also had big aspirations as a child that were more rodeo than Rodeo Drive. 

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cowgirl," she told US Weekly. "And then when I realized you can't make any money as [one], I wanted to be a lawyer. I had an obsession with 'Divorce Court.'" Other kids might have been busy playing with Barbies or trying to solve a Rubik's Cube, but Kemsley was busy traveling the world and thinking about her future, which sounds incredibly on-brand for her!

She had a stellar education

As we've previously mentioned, "Real Housewives" cast members come from all sorts of different backgrounds, which is what makes the franchise so interesting. Not all of the cast members are college-educated, with some having spent their youths as actors. Dorit Kemsley made the most of her time in school though, using it to help propel her forward into the business world. 

Prior to meeting the love of her life Paul "PK" Kemsley and settling down to raise a family, Dorit Kemsley was busy studying at Quinnipiac University in her home state of Connecticut. Not only did Kemsley gain a degree in marketing design and communications, but she also got a chance to study at the University of Florence in Italy. It sounds like a great time, but if you're thinking Kemsley enjoyed a kegger as much as the next college kid, you're way off. In an interview with US Weekly, she explained, "My college experience was studying and working — not partying." Kemsley's work ethic and determination certainly stood her in good stead for the future. 

She launched her career in Italy

Dorit Kemsley's time at Quinnipiac University, coupled with her experience studying in Italy, landed her a job with an Italian company. She told Business Insider, "I took a job in an international marketing position for a very successful swimwear company, and they brought me on board to expand their sales internationally."

Kemsley loved the position and continued to work in the marketing sector for the next 10 years, making Italy her home away from home and traveling to other parts of Europe while she was at it. In an interview with Bravo, Kemsley explained that while she speaks fluent Italian, it's not always perfect. "My Spanish gets very confused with the Italian because they're so similar and I speak better Italian than I do Spanish," she explained. "But I spoke Spanish before Italian." 

Back in 2020, Kemsley helped design a room at Robert Earl's restaurant Buca di Beppo in Encino based on her own experiences in Italy. Kemsley shared a snap of herself with Earl on Instagram, explaining, "I spent most of my 20s living and working in Italy. It's a place that is very close to my heart and a lot of who I am today is reflective of the time I spent living there. Capri is still one of the places I enjoy visiting the most ... I began designing what is now called the Capri Room."

She broke out on her own

Considering she had a successful career working with brands and traveling across Europe, Dorit Kemsley's next steps must have taken a lot of guts. It's commonly said that 20% of small businesses cease trading after the first year as they're unable to get off the ground. That statistic would be enough to give anyone pause, but Kemsley saw an opportunity and took it. In 2009, she returned to the United States and founded her own swimwear line, Dorit International. The brand thrived for four years and even appeared on the iFashion Swim Week runway in 2010. 

Although Dorit International was retired after 4 years when Kemsley got married and started a family with her husband, she's still a businessperson who believes you get out what you put in. In an interview with Business Insider, Kemsely explained, "I'm a big believer in passion and hard work," she says. "I think those are two key ingredients." She went on to explain that natural talent isn't enough to make something work since it won't result in success with a strong work ethic.

This first foray into running her own fashion label at a relatively young age (Kemsley was around 34 when she launched the business) gave Kemsely a lot of experience that she would later pour into other entrepreneurial pursuits. When it comes to making money moves, this was just the beginning.

Dorit almost turned down true love

Fans of the show might find it hard to believe that Dorit and Paul "PK" Kemsley have only been married for 8 years. The dedicated couple tied the knot in 2015 in a lavish ceremony at the Rainbow Room in the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Although they're the picture of marital bliss now, the reality star almost turned down true love before it could even get off the ground. In an interview with Wedding Style Magazine, the couple shared how things went down. 

PK happened to be in New York for business when they were introduced by mutual friends. But when he bit the bullet and asked her out, Dorit turned him down as she was about to travel to Hong Kong for a work trip. "He asked me to postpone my flight," explained the future Mrs. Kemsley. Although she initially said no, she remembered that her grandmother, who had recently passed, had promised to send Dorit her soulmate. She agreed to a date and the rest, as they say, was history. "We went out and have been inseparable from that first night," Mr. Kemsley shared.

It's incredible to think that Dorit almost said no to true love, but some things are simply meant to be. When PK proposed, it was while they were out for dinner with both of their parents. Of course, Dorit said yes as the other patrons at the restaurant cheered around them. A rom-com-worthy moment!

Her life changed forever in 2014

Some people might tie the knot and then have babies, but traditional timelines aren't for everyone. A year prior to her lavish NYC nuptials, Dorit Kemsley welcomed her first child, Jagger Kemsley. Her husband, Paul "PK" Kemsley has three kids from a previous relationship, but Dorit's first son totally changed her outlook on life, as Kemsley shared in a throwback snap posted to her Instagram in 2018. In the sweet photo from Jagger's birth, Kemsley sports a neat blonde bob as she cradles her newborn son lovingly to her chest. 

The caption read, "The day Jagger was born was the day I was born; the day a special kind of love transformed me forever. Becoming a mom was the greatest moment of my life, one that has given me the most continuous joy and happiness I could ever wish for."

Kemsley took to being a mother so much that it wasn't long before she welcomed her second child, a daughter, Phoenix, who came into the world in early 2016. Becoming a parent is undeniably one of the biggest things anyone can do in life, and this role suits Kemsley down to the ground. The star frequently shares snaps and videos of her kids, including one in November 2023 which saw them rate her past outfits.  

A real housewife is born

For a certain type of lady in certain big cities, landing a spot on a "Real Housewives" series can be totally life-changing. While these ladies are used to a certain amount of luxury, the show can make them household names while also allowing them to pursue other revenue streams thanks to their newfound notoriety. In short, it's a pretty big deal.

 A lot happened in a relatively short period of time for Dorit Kemsley. She became a mom in 2014, got married in 2015, welcomed a second daughter in 2016, and just a couple of months later, she was called up to the frontlines of reality TV as a new cast member of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Though it's not clear exactly how Kemsley landed her spot on "RHOBH," it's not hard to see why she was chosen. OG cast member Lisa Vanderpump explained in an introduction video for Bravo that she had known Dorit's husband Paul "PK" Kemsley for "quite a few years" before she gushed about how much PK adores Dorit and how happy they are as a couple. 

This marked a huge moment in Kemsley's life: Going from being a successful businessperson, wife, and mother to an internationally known television personality. While it can be said that she has always been glamorous, Kemsley stepped up her fashion game and soon became known for her jaw-dropping sense of style.

New show, new business

With a newfound boost thanks to her starring role on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" the time was right for Dorit Kemsley to dip her toes back into the fashion pond. A year after joining the show, Kemsley launched Beverly Beach by Dorit, a collection of modern swimwear that included one-pieces, barely-there bikinis, and more. The brand's debut event was even captured on the show, with all of her fellow housewives in attendance. It made for an interesting backdrop for the Season 8 finale, which producers titled "The Runaway Runway."  

This marked Kemsley's return to an industry she had been out of for five years, but her comeback didn't stop there. Just a year after the company's launch in 2018, it was announced that Kemsley was also adding an athleisure line to her portfolio, which went on to be sold at a boutique in Beverly Hills called Kitson. Kemsley shared her love for the project on her Instagram page with the caption, "I had so much fun designing my first Beverly Beach window for [Kitson Los Angeles] ... My new #beverlybeachbody line of athleisure is available exclusively at Kitson on Robertson Blvd along with our B|B swim and coverups for a limited time only." 

Dorit Kemsley was officially back in business! Even Serena Williams has been known to wear a Beverly Beach piece, choosing the brand when she appeared on the cover of Allure in 2019.

The evolution of a style icon

There's one thing that most cast members in the franchise have in common: Real Housewives love to get dressed up and spend money while doing it. There are even entire Instagram accounts dedicated to their Housewives' outfits! Dorit Kemsley has always had a penchant for fashion, which explains why she worked in the industry for so long. However, when she joined the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" she took things up a notch. Considering that she was only added to the cast in Season 7, Kemsley quickly made her mark. Now, she's a bonafide style icon that viewers absolutely love to watch, even if it's just to find out what she's wearing. 

Whether she's attending an event or talking to the camera during confessionals, Kemsley always looks immaculately turned out in designer gear. It's not just her couture wardrobe that gets people talking, but her outlandish hairstyles that seem to get crazier as the seasons roll by. The mother-of-two has been known to rock both short and long 'dos, each one as unique as the last. 

Kemsley's glam team deserves an award for being so consistent with their magic, but let's not forget that the star herself is a driving force of artistic creativity. Even fellow fashionista Erika Jayne doesn't outshine Kemsley, and that's really saying something! 

A true survivor

There's no denying that Dorit Kemsley's life has been full of dramatic twists and turns that have taken her all over the world. She blossomed from her early days as a curly-haired youth to an international woman and businessperson, with two babies and a husband whom she adores. Now, she's a TV star and her list of accolades continues to expand, but it hasn't always been sunshine and roses. In 2021, Kemsley went through something totally horrific: Three armed men invaded her home in the middle of the night, while she was home alone with her two children. 

Kemsley was asleep at the time of the incident and was awoken by the assailants, who held her at gunpoint as she begged, "Don't hurt my babies. Don't kill me, I'm a mother," according to the Daily Mail. They went on to steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and handbags, but they left Kemsley and her children, who slept through the ordeal, unharmed. 

This terrifying experience changed Kemsley's life, and she has been vocal about her struggles since the event. It's not a transformation Kemsley asked for, but her latest label makes her even stronger: She's a true survivor. While appearing on "Watch What Happens Live" in June 2022, Kemsley explained, "I have good days, and I have really, really bad days ... I'm doing what I have to do and I'm doing it for my family, for my kids."