Bethenny Frankel: I Used Reality TV to Make $120 Million
For a Skinnygirl, Bethenny Frankel has a fat wallet!
The 40-year-old entrepreneur was hesitant to participate in reality TV when Bravo executives approached her in 2007; now, the natural-foods-chef turned mogul tells the Hollywood Reporter it was her screen-time that provided her the platform to launch a $120 million empire.
"I was worried [joining the cast of Real Housewives of New York] would ruin what I had going," says Frankel, who at the time was a Pepperidge Farm spokesperson and appeared on NBC's Today show for a cooking segment. "I went on the show single-handedly and exclusively for business… When I went on the show, no one was going on for business, no one had done anything."
Throughout three seasons of Real Housewives, Frankel maximized her screen time and promoted her now-famous Skinnygirl product line. In 2010, she got her own reality show: Bethenny Ever After.
Under her own personal business umbrella, she's launched a successful publishing franchise, a Body by Bethenny workout DVD and scored one of the most lucrative liquor deals in the industry with her calorie-conscious mixes.
Before her success on reality TV, Frankel's pitches to liquor companies for a low-calorie margarita went unheeded. "Now, every company I pitched this idea to has either tried to buy Skinnygirl or has copied it," she relishes. "I created a sub-category that never existed. I wasn't an expert--I was just another person bothered by a 700-calorie margarita."