Looking back at our Bravo shows, we often wonder about the people who've left. Where did they go when their moment in the spotlight was over? What are they up to now? Each week, we'll be looking into the lives of one of these familiar faces. Today, it's Julie Plake from Bethenny Ever After.
Julie Plake knew how to get things done. Her old boss Bethenny Frankel even dubbed her "the coordinator of chaos." As Bethenny's personal assistant-turned-business manager, Julie was right by her side and did everything she could to help Bethenny, from launching and growing her Skinny Girl brand to providing her with a bucket to pee in just minutes before she walked down the aisle on her wedding day.
After working for Bethenny for three years during her first run on Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny Getting Married and then Bethenny Ever After, Julie—who is also godmother to Bethenny's daughter Bryn—broke the news in the spring of 2012 that she was leaving New York City and returning to her native Pittsburgh to be closer to her boyfriend and her family.
Julie made the move in 2012 and says she's been loving life ever since. First, she joined advertising agency MARC USA, where her expertise in public relations, marketing and social media quickly got her promoted to her current role as a senior account supervisor in the PR department.
Success is a feeling that you have, not something you can touch.
Then, she got her happily ever and married her boyfriend of more than 12 years, Robert Morris University men's lacrosse coach Drew McMinn, in August 2013. They welcomed their first child, a daughter, on Nov. 5, 2014. It's a date that has an extra-special meaning for Julie and Bethenny both now: "WOW! I share a birthday w [Julie's] baby Josey Catherine McMinn," Bethenny tweeted of the unbelievable coincidence.
Julie and Bethenny have remained close since they ended their professional relationship. A few weeks before Julie returned to work in January following her brief maternity leave, she and Bethenny and their daughters got together. "OMG my baby [Brynn] is giving [Julie's] baby a bath!!! #timeflieswhenuramommy," Bethenny tweeted.
Julie also says she's learned a lot from her old boss. "As I have grown—working for Bethenny and beyond—I define success as not as tangible. Success is a feeling that you have, not something you can touch," Julie told the Across The Hall blog. "I now measure success by looking at what I am doing and thinking how it compares to what I really desire in life. Not just at work."
Although Julie admitted to her local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that there are a few things she's been sad to give up—"I walked two miles a day [living in Manhattan] and I miss that here"—she has no regrets about leaving behind her fast-paced NYC life behind. "Everyone is here," she added. "All my family and friends are here; it's just great."
Now in her early 30s, Julie's just like every other working mom who's trying to balance it all. "Costco on a Saturday. By myself. With baby," she tweeted on Feb. 7. "Never again."