Fans Didn’t Know Ree Drummond Was Famous Way Before Food Network’s ‘The Pioneer Woman’

Ree Drummond has gone from humble Pioneer Woman to Food Network sensation seemingly overnight. She’s been a part of the network for years and has grown a steady fan base ever since. Thanks to her stories of her husband, Ladd, her four children, and how she came to live on a ranch in Oklahoma instead of the city (which was part of her original plan), fans have fallen in love with Ree’s candidness — and they also love the food she cooks, too.

While many had no idea who Ree was before The Pioneer Woman, it turns out she was famous way before her show took off. Here’s how she gained notoriety before her food program.

Ree attained fame as one of the web’s most popular female bloggers

Food Network picked up The Pioneer Woman in 2011, but Ree was gaining fame as early as 2006. Forbes notes she began her famous blog, which is also called The Pioneer Woman, early on in the 2000s, and she’s since become one of the most famous female bloggers in the nation. She made No. 22 on the list of Forbes’ 2010 Web Celeb 25, and her blog was also named the Weblog of the Year in 2009 at the Bloggie Awards. While Ree may be concentrating more on her other projects nowadays, her work on the web continues to rake in millions of page views per month.

As for why Ree started the blog, her husband, Ladd, mentioned she wanted a place to put her musing about living on a ranch in Oklahoma. Ree has mentioned in the past that when she was younger, her ultimate goal was to move out to the big city — but everything changed when she met Ladd in a smokey bar one night. “I think she just had all that creativity bottled up of 10 years of living out here with not a lot of extra adult conversation,” Ladd told People. “Being a mom and wife is very fulfilling but she obviously has a lot of creative talent and it needed an outlet.”

Her blog wasn’t originally about food

We may know Ree best for her food now, but her blog originally had nothing to do with her recipes. When she began The Pioneer Woman site, it was her musings of life on the ranch, photography, and talk of her family that originally brought readers in — and the food aspect came much later. And her first food post was actually regarding how to properly cook a steak.

So, what was so compelling about Ree’s blog that drew readers in? She told Forbes, “It’s a few moments of lightness in a day, and I think a lot of people enjoy the slice of ranch life that they wouldn’t get to see.” And she also added that she thinks she writes about content that’s relatable to those living in either the city or country, making it more accessible to all. “I would have thought that there were more rural-minded people, but it turns out all people can find something to relate to on the site, whether it’s the food or the ranch life or the photography.” Ree also reads the comments she receives in comments and emails to constantly optimize her content.

Ree is continuing her success as a businesswoman through her ventures aside from Food Network

Ree still runs her blog and creates new episodes of The Pioneer Woman for Food Network, but those are far from her only money-making ventures. The Drummond family also runs The Mercantile, which is a restaurant, bakery, and general store that’s become one of the biggest draws of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The Merc is two stories and has fans waiting outside of it before opening hours most days, so planning a trip ahead of time is vital.

In addition to their huge store, Ree and Ladd recently took on another huge project — and that’s their “cowboy luxury” hotel. It’s called The Boarding House and contains eight rooms that have all been personally decorated by the Drummonds. It’s certainly creating even more draw for their small town and has served as a passion project for Ree and Ladd, too — and, of course, it’ll be another successful business venture under Ree’s belt.

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