A Real Housewife of Wisconsin
Rachel Campos-Duffy talks about motherhood at home and on the campaign trail.


Kathryn Jean Lopez

LOPEZ: Have you found conservatives reticent to embrace you, your book, your husband, because of the Real World history?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Conservatives who react negatively to The Real World probably never saw our episodes. Sean and I were cast as the “conservatives” on the show. Sean has taken a few hits for it, but by and large, it’s been a positive. When you are on a reality show, it’s a different kind of celebrity than, say, an actor has. If you were on reality TV, people feel like they really know you, and in some ways, they do. Often, they’ve seen your hometown, your family, and your best and worst moments. It’s very humanizing.

When I was promoting my book, I had no problem getting booked on The View, Dr. Phil, and many mainstream-media outlets. The mommy-blogger world was a different story. My publicist had a hard getting them to review my book because my conservative views apparently offended many of them. A lot of them refused. It really surprised me.

LOPEZ: Didn’t you first meet Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan on The Real World?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Yes. He was working at Empower America, and I brought my roommates to one of their conferences at Stanford, I believe. We also met Jack Kemp, who did not disappoint. I received a lot of mail after that show aired from young conservatives who were so excited to see someone like them on MTV.

LOPEZ: What has surprised you most about the campaign-spouse life?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I knew it would be hard on the family and on the kids, but I never realized how hard it would be on me to hear things said about Sean that are untrue and hurtful.

LOPEZ: What’s been the most surprising feedback you’ve gotten about the book?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I’ve been amazed by how many single women and moms without kids have read and enjoyed the book. They tell me the same thing — that my book makes them look forward to being moms. That’s a serious compliment to me because that’s what I set out to achieve. We ought to talk more about the pleasures of mothering. Motherhood isn’t just something we do for our kids and family. It’s also something we do for ourselves.

– Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review.