Cristy Rice, the ex-wife of retired NBA player Glen Rice, made a name for herself on the debut season of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Miami. After leaving the show following the first season, she wanted to pursue her love of fashion and sought out to become a swimwear designer. Inspired by her Cuban-American heritage, the aptly-named line Cuban Rice and the current collection "Cubanita Gypsy 2014" is filled with Miami excess, with lots of bright neons, animal prints and flashes of bling. After her bikini-clad models walked the runway at the unofficial Swim Week kick-off event SPLASHION, we managed to pull her away from her friends at her VIP table to share a few words about her collection.
Why did you choose to go into fashion?
I was born and raised in Miami, grew up on the beaches of South Beach. Apart from that, my passion is traveling and I usually travel to beaches or exotic places, somewhere where there's sunshine and water. I figured if I was always in a bikini, I might as well create the ones that I love.
What inspired your latest collection?
The collection was inspired by the fact that I was born in Miami but of Cuban parents. Being from Cuba, you're an island person and along with that comes a very casual, laid-back, very free-spirited kind of attitude and that's what I kind of bring into my line. A lot of color, a lot of life. A lot of [the collection is] handcrafted in the country where it is manufactured, Colombia, where people are very gifted and they work with their hands. They have a big huge talent for this, so I decided to bring my heritage, which is Cuba, and a country like Colombia which I could travel to and put it all together and make a very colorful, light, free-spirited.
What do you hope people think after seeing your collection?
What I hope people can grasp from seeing my collection is that beauty comes from within. I don't necessarily design for just one specific physical body type. I design for the woman that believes beauty comes from within and that your attitude is everything. I have all different kinds of designs of which fit to different kinds of body types The most important thing for me from the beginning, and I hope it will stay through in whatever I continue to design for this line, is that your attitude is everything and it's all about how you feel inside and that's what'll you'll portray on the outside.
Where do you hope to take the collection in the future?
For me always in everything I do, the sky's the limit. If the [collection] stays with just bikinis [that would be great] but I really truly doubt it will be [just bikinis in the future]. The sky's the limit for me.