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September 1, 2014

Top Reality TV Gretchens

by Jane Murphy, posted Oct 29th 2010 1:30PM
Gretchen. It's an old fashioned, salt-of-the Earth name. Of German derivation, it means "reality show star." OK, it means "pearl," but are we the only ones who've noticed that some of reality's highest profile provocateurs over the years have gone by the name "Gretchen"?

We don't know if producers actually seek out potential cast members with this admittedly memorable name (not as memorable as "Mondo" or "Omarosa", but pretty memorable). Whether or not Gretchens have an inside track when it comes to casting, they almost always deliver the drama.

Attention-grabbing Gretchens. Fetching Gretchens. Designing Gretchens. Here's a list of some Gretchens whose lives you may have have followed on network TV or basic cable.

Gretchen Jones from 'Project Runway'. "I'm so glad [the judges] gave me a second chance like you guys got," sighed season 8's Gretchen (above) to fellow contestants Michael, Andy and Mondo -- all challenge winners. Her relentless insincerity, gamesmanship and fault-finding were exhausting not only to viewers, they seemed to wear her out. She was lucky to get a Fashion Week slot -- and then ended up winning season 8, to many viewers' disappointment. The wearable, organic creations that are her signature call out to that most rare of creatures: the hippie Mean Girl. When your tactlessness makes cool Tim Gunn see red ... well, just take a look.



Gretchen Cordy from 'Survivor.' A breakout star on the very first season of CBS's reality titan, Gretchen Cordy was friendly, confident and competent -- and therefore a huge target. Her midseason ouster left behind a motley crew of players, including eventual winner Richard Hatch, "Rat vs. Snake" philosopher Sue Hawk and Dr. Sean Kenniff, innovator of the never-duplicated "alphabet voting" strategy.


Gretchen Bonaduce from 'Breaking Bonaduce.' A quirky flame-haired beauty and mother of two, Danny Bonaduce's wife parted with the child star, radio DJ and Johnny Fairplay nemesis three years ago, after their stormy marriage was documented by VH1 in the mid-2000s.


Gretchen Rossi from 'Real Housewives of Orange County.' The SoCal ladies chirped about Rossi's relationship with sickly Jeff Beitzer. Soul mate or sugar daddy? After Beitzer passed away in 2008, Gretchen bounced back with 'Real Serial Boyfriend of Orange County', the unnerving Slade Smiley. In this clip from a year ago, she recaps her turbulent first season



The Amazing Race's Gretchen. Inspirational Racer of a Certain Age from season 7, Gretchen and her devoted husband Meredith surprised everyone with their perseverance and top four finish. In the clip below, the Marylanders contend with their greatest challenge -- the "Bad Elephant".




Gretchen "Gretta" Monahan of 'Tim Gunn's Guide to Style'. You have to be pretty stylish to stand toe-to-toe with unerring tastemaker Tim Gunn. Boston-bred beauty entrepreneur Monahan jumped aboard 'Style' in its second season, replacing model Veronica Webb; Monahan proved to be a welcome presence. For all things Gretta/Gretchen, she maintains her own website, grettastyle.com


Gretchen Wilson. Nashville's resident Gretchen has tweeted (or is that twanged?) about her upcoming reality show. There's no premiere date set for the Redneck Woman's TV effort; her anthem celebrating "keepin' it country" can be seen below.



Have we left out any reality "Gretchens"? Can you think of other names that dominate reality show casts? Share your thoughts below!

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