Bravo reality television star Bethenny Frankel led off the Fourth Annual Lecture Series on Mon. Sept. 14. The star of “The Real Housewives of New York City” captivated the Great Room of Kelly Commons with stories about the show and tips about how to be a good entrepreneur.
Donning a bright red BCBG jumpsuit fit for the Skinnygirl logo itself, Frankel held the audience’s attention with her lively energy and blunt humor.
“Execution is the most important thing,” Frankel said in terms of becoming an entrepreneur. “I thought I had a great idea and I executed it.”
Creator of the Skinnygirl brand, Frankel has amassed a cult following of people looking for low calorie alternatives to non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and salad dressings. While she owns all of these aspects of the Skinnygirl brand, in March 2011 Frankel sold Skinnygirl Cocktails to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global for $100 million.
During the lecture, Frankel stated that not selling the rest of her brand was the smartest thing she has ever done.
The author of four books, host of the talk show “Bethenny” and finalist on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” Frankel has created an empire and is not afraid to give advice on how to follow in her footsteps.
“You have to have that drive and passion and stamina,” Frankel said. “And never assume someone is smarter than you.”
While a good portion of the lecture was centered on Frankel’s entrepreneurship, some of it focused on her life as a reality television star and what it really is like to be on “The Real Housewives of New York City.”
“I didn’t really have any expectations, but she’s funny,” Sydney Volovski, a senior communication major, said. “I hoped she would drop some jokes and give dirt on all the housewives.”
Frankel starred in “The Real Housewives of New York City” during its first three seasons, and then took a three season hiatus from the show, returning to the show for season seven. “I missed the connection,” Frankel said. “I treat the show like a workplace.”
Frankel has formed a dedicated fan base that watches her every move on the show. On the show, and in person, Frankel is very real and very raw. She tells it like it is and is not afraid to open up about her difficult childhood, which was filled with an unstable home life, her parents’ divorce and her mother’s alcohol abuse and battle with depression. “Stamina and drive pushed me past my past,” Frankel said.
Viewers of the show are able to hear about her past, and then watch her be triumphant. This makes her very relatable and admirable. “She’s very similar to how she was this past season of the ‘Housewives,’ just very real,” Volovski said.
“She’s kind of crazy on the show and I was really excited to see a side of her that wasn’t on the cameras,” Emily Garren, a sophomore communication major, said. “I was really excited to hear about her entrepreneurship and her business side.”
On what is next for Frankel, fans can expect three more books from her, one being a book about business, and her possible return to “Real Housewives of New York City” for the eighth season.
And for the most anticipated response from Frankel during the lecture? “No, Ramona did not cut me a check for the dress.”