From reality TV projects to a matchmaking app to her own body-products line, Vikki Ziegler is always creating
When Vikki Ziegler was 11, she walked into a courtroom and told a family law judge that she felt her divorcing parents should have a 50/50 custody split; their houses should be within a three-mile radius of each other; and she should remain in her current school district.
“I brokered my own custody,” she says. “And as sad as it was, that moment became a springboard for my career. It is such a terrible task, healing from divorce as a child, and I knew that I wanted to help children in that way.”
Was she nervous? “I was trepidatious, but I spoke frankly, because it was critical to peace in my family,” she says.
Lawyering wasn’t her career choice back then, though. “I was always obsessed with fashion,” she says.
But she was “cerebral, always a good student, always studying,” she says. “Because of that, and of my experience with my parents’ divorce, the law was natural. But I was also open to the broadcast world, and fell in love with it.”
She can thank Bill Murray for marrying those two interests.
About 10 years ago, she was invited to a party for Murray; and another guest—a rather determined young Fox News staffer—followed Ziegler around all night. “He kept saying, ‘I heard you’re an attorney. We always need attorneys,’” Ziegler remembers. She finally gave him her phone number. “I never thought he’d actually call,” she says.
But a few days later, Britney Spears suffered her infamous head-shaving/umbrella-wielding meltdown, and Bill O’Reilly needed a lawyer to talk about the possible ramifications on Spears and the welfare of her children.
“I was nervous as heck,” she says. “It was a scary situation. But I got through it.”
If you asked the networks, she more than “got through it”—it wasn’t long before CNN and HLN came calling. Her resume now includes work for E!, CBS, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Dr. Oz, even the FOOD network and ESPN. “It all came so organically,” Ziegler says. “I wasn’t going after it. The law will always be my first baby.”
She did have to have the lawyers at the firm she co-founded, Ziegler & Zemsky, do a little babysitting here and there while she starred in Bravo’s reality show, Untying the Knot, which sent Ziegler all over the country and put her at the center of couples’ uncoupling. “We had two seasons on Bravo, filming for about five months,” she says. “If, say, I was working on the show for a New Mexico episode, I’d film all day, get back to the hotel, then begin going through emails, making phone calls … it often resulted in working 16-hour days. But when you love what you do, you make it work.”
Ziegler is in the process of pitching several TV shows with a large production company in Los Angeles. “I would really love to tell you because you’d probably go, ‘No way!’, but I can’t say anything yet,” she says.
She’s also got her hands in about a half-dozen other projects, too, like her iOS and Android matchmaking app: Divorce Dating. “It just came to me in the middle of the night,” says Ziegler. “My clients are going through such difficult times that it would be so nice to, instead of having just a corner of eHarmony or Match, to have a whole site devoted to divorced people.”
Then there’s Lavish, her hair and body fragrance line that has picked up a few celebrity endorsements. “We’re currently selling in 50 salons, and hoping to land on QVC,” she says.
The list goes on. “I have created a shoe [prototype] designed exclusively with the courtroom and a lawyer’s unique needs in mind; I have two books; a movie … I like to fill my time. And if I can’t find something, I like to make it happen,” she says.
She’s also mom to a young daughter. “I want to show her what it means to be successful, to have a strong role model,” she says.
As for her law firm, she spies expansion in the coming year.
“We are just about to take on more space and more family law attorneys, and I’m hoping to add a real estate closing wing,” she says. “I’d like us to be a concierge service. It’s all about client relations.”