Original RHOC Star Jo De La Rosa Turns 40: 'Don't Ever Let Anyone Take Away Your Sparkle'
Jo De La Rosa was only 23 when she began filming the first season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, which premiered in 2006
Original Real Housewives of Orange County star Jo De La Rosa is 40!
De La Rosa celebrated the milestone with a festive photoshoot, which she posted to Instagram on Thursday.
"Don't ever let anyone take away your sparkle," De La Rosa captioned the post, loosely quoting the late Marilyn Monroe. "#ThisIs40," she added.
In one photo, De La Rosa posed with a glass of rosé, sitting on the floor of her apartment surrounded by pink, white and silver balloons. Above her was an additional display of balloons that spelled out "Happy Birthday." In a different shot, the star pouted in bed, holding a teddy bear.
For the occasion, the reality star wore a pink tulle skirt paired with black heels, and of course a tiara.
De La Rosa is most known for being one of the first Housewives in the O.C. She was only 23 when she began filming season 1, which premiered in 2006.
De La Rosa appeared on the reality show alongside her then-fiancé Slade Smiley. In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, De La Rosa said she participated in the first-ever Real Housewives series for "love."
"I kind of [wanted] to look at it as an amazing experience we could do together as a couple, having no idea what it would become," she told EW.
Of being on the show at such a young age, De La Rosa said: "I didn't even know who I was at 23. I was literally growing up in front of America."
At the time, De La Rosa was a recent college graduate who had dreams of going to law school. However, Smiley — who now had a child with former O.C. Housewife Gretchen Rossi, whom he's been dating since 2009 — wanted her to stay at home.
"If I'm honest with myself, absolutely, 100%, [the critics] were right," she told EW of the backlash the couple received. "One: I wasn't ready for marriage, and two: Slade didn't deserve that. They're right. But I was being 23, and I was finding myself."
De La Rosa starred in RHOC for the first two seasons and made appearances during 3 and 4. She also briefly had her own spinoff, Date My Ex: Jo & Slade. She has since moved to Los Angeles and hosts a podcast, Pop Candy.
Back in January, De La Rosa paid tribute to her former costars and expressed gratitude for her time on the show.
"It's crazy to think how my life would've turned out had I never been put together with these 4 incredible humans and never been cast on Real Housewives of OC," De La Rosa captioned an Instagram photo of herself alongside Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough, Lauri Peterson and Tammy Knickerbocker.
"Would I have moved forward on UCLA’s dance program I had just gotten accepted into? Would I have gone to law school at USC which was also one of my dreams?" De La Rosa continued.
"It’s funny how one decision you make has the potential to change the course of your entire life. I don’t have any regrets over the decisions I’ve made and I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be but if I could do one thing all over again, I think I would have loved to experience going to UCLA and moving forward with their dance program #funfactoftheday," she added.