Zora Avoids Limelight

By Laura Pelner


Nine months ago Zora Andrich was a household name, bigger than big, as famous as anyone.

The Lambertville resident was literally catapulted to superstar overnight as she won the hearts of millions of viewers and the faux financier Evan Marriott on "Joe Millionaire," Fox’s biggest reality-TV hit.

At the time, Andrich was having fun with fame. But now, as the second season of Fox’s for-love-or-money challenge begins, the dark-haired beauty is relishing a lower profile.

"I’m doing so many things," Andrich said yesterday. "I took a little break for a while, I was just so completely overwhelmed, but things have finally gotten back to normal."

However, normal for Zora Andrich is by no means ordinary.

Since winning $500,000 and many fancy necklaces on "Joe Millionaire," the Colorado native has been going in a million different directions.

Andrich said people still recognize her in public and ask her questions about reality television, though not nearly as often as before.

"For a while I didn’t tell people I was (myself)," Andrich said, adding she would acknowledge she looked a lot like "the Zora," but that she wasn’t her.

"People wanted to ask so many questions and I was so burnt out on that."

Fox offered her a spot on the new "Joe Millionaire II," but she turned it down.

"They wanted me to make a cameo, they weren’t really specific," Andrich said. "I kind of feel like, I have nothing to prove to go back and make another appearance. It’s just not necessary."

And then there are the four jobs and projects she’s juggling.

This summer Andrich started a charity for animals, Pawz, through which she aims to pair homeless dogs and cats with seniors living alone. It’s reminiscent of her pre-TV days when Andrich worked as an aide to the elderly.

Andrich is also doing publicity work for her mother, a scientific astrologer. And she’ll be in front of the camera again soon, in print and television, as a spokesperson for the Nutri System Weight Loss company.

After the winter, the TV veteran says she’ll also open a contemporary clothing store on Long Beach Island. She’ll be the owner of the store.

One thing is clear in speaking with Andrich, she’s moved beyond "Joe Millionaire." She has gotten her prize money and said she’ll probably be selling her "Joe" jewelry soon.

The Rutgers graduate is back in New Jersey, though she wouldn’t say where, and she is happy.

Andrich said she doesn’t really speak her former Millionaire-mates. Though she did see one of the girls, who was voted off the first episode, last night when the two watched the first episode of "Joe Millionaire II" together for Access Hollywood.

"We’re all just so busy now and it’s all behind us," Andrich said in explaining why she doesn’t keep in touch.

When Zora turned down the offer to appear on the second season of Fox’s reality show, the runner-up, bondage film star Sarah Kozer, accepted it. The two connected briefly over e-mail to discuss it, Andrich said.

And even though he picked her as his love, Andrich said she hasn’t spoken to Evan Marriott -- the $19,000-a-year construction worker who posed as a millionaire for the first Joe Dough show -- in a long time.

"The last time he and I spoke, it didn’t really end on friendly terms," Andrich said. "It wasn’t bad terms, but he was offended about something he thought I said in an interview. It was silly, because out of anybody, we should both know how things can get misconstrued."

Andrich said she probably won’t watch much of this season’s "Joe Millionaire." Though she predicts it will be a popular show.

In reality, Zora said reality TV is too much for her.

"I don’t watch a lot of television and I don’t really care for reality TV, which is ironic," Andrich said. "But people like it, I guess it makes for interesting viewing. But personally, I feel bad for the women."

Last season’s "Joe Millionaire" winner had one piece of advice for the newest crop of ladies competing for the new Joe’s heart -- have fun.

"If I were going through it again, I would try to have more fun with it and not take it all so seriously," Andrich said. "People have no idea how intense it was at times."

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