During a telephone interview at 10 a.m. on a recent Tuesday, TV star-turned-entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel was having what most people would call a chaotic morning. For her, though, it was light duty.
Frankel, 40, originally of “Real Housewives of New York City” and more recently of “Bethenny Ever After,” recently sold her Skinnygirl Margarita brand for a reported $120 million. She writes books and magazine columns, creates exercise programs and rarely stops to catch her breath.
On Monday, Frankel said, she had been in Los Angeles, shooting a pilot for a new television show. After taking the redeye home, she went to bed at 3 a.m., then got up the next morning to pack for a trip to Canada to launch Skinnygirl Margarita there.
In her bedroom, she also was supervising two assistants who were helping her pack for another trip to Los Angeles as she prepared to take her 1-year-old daughter, Bryn, to the doctor for a checkup. Later that day, Frankel said, she had to write several magazine articles, meet with someone about a new product idea, work with Clorox on a promotional deal and figure out topics for the next three books she’s contracted to write. She had a conference call that afternoon about fitness accessories she’s adding to her line and another to approve bath and body products.
“Actually, it’s a pretty relaxed schedule today, because I don’t have to be in 10 different places,” she said, crisscrossing her room while talking on speaker phone.
Q: Why do you think you were you so successful, a breakout star on “Real Housewives”?
A: You know, I think that Bravo is a lot about affluence and keeping up with the Joneses — and a lot of people are under pressure to look like they have as much as everyone else — and I wasn’t doing that. I was just kind of living my life, which was in a one-bedroom apartment. I was single, and I was being honest about it. I wasn’t pretending that I had more than I did, and I was just kind of living truthfully. And it somehow seems like it resonated with people.
Q: What is your secret to staying healthy and thin?
A: I’m just pretty balanced. I wrote my book “Naturally Thin,” which kind of taught hundreds of thousands of women how to never have to diet again, not be obsessed [with food]. And I live by everything I write, which is that your diet is a bank account and not to get overly worked up about it. ... It’s checks and balances.
Q: What are some suggestions for the average working mom?
A: Now I understand how hard it is to go to a gym. I never go to the gym anymore because it’s hard to get out of the house, because you want to be with your baby and you’ve got to do laundry. But you make it work for yourself. Now instead of going to the gym, I do my yoga DVD at home or I do my elliptical at home. You make it work.
Q: What’s the new book about?
IF YOU GO
- What: She: An Expo for Women
- When: July 16-17
- Where: Chattanooga Convention Center
- Special guests: Martha Stewart and Bethenny Frankel
- Tickets: $25 online, $30 at the door
- Web: www.timesfreepress.com/news/she2011
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A: I have to decide. I’m writing three more, and I have to decide what they’re going to be about. Well, it could be anything from a novel, to something on a naturally thin pregnancy to sex and money and relationships. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to write about yet.
Q: A lot of people have seen you in “Real Life” on TV, but is there anything that would surprise people to learn about you?
A: People probably already know this by now, but I’m extremely bargain savvy and I don’t pay retail for anything. I always find good deals. I’m online a lot. If I want something, I go find it online; I don’t just buy it the second I see it. That’s becoming more difficult as I have less time, but I still somehow manage.
Q: What are some of your favorite low-calorie recipes?
A: I just make low-calorie versions of everything. My books have renovated recipes. Every recipe I make, I just think, ‘OK, I want to make fettuccine alfredo,’ and I’ll go into the kitchen and figure out how to make it low-calorie, or macaroni and cheese. That’s what I do.
Q: Have you kept up with fellow She special guest Martha Stewart after your time on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart”?
A: I do not keep up with Martha Stewart.
Q: What will you be talking about when you come here in July?
A: I talk about the 10 rules in my book, how to get what you want out of your life, kind of how I’ve done that. A little about weight and “Naturally Thin.” Just kind of everything from money, to sex and relationships to gossip — a little of everything. It’s about finding out how anything is possible.
Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...