Love her or hate her -- "The Real Housewives of New York City's" Bethenny Frankel is definitely a driving force on the Bravo show.
Media and fans alike seem drawn to everything about Frankel: Her fast-approaching wedding, her pregnancy, her "Skinny Girl" diet and her cutting commentary on the fellow housewives.
"I wasn't always this person. It's amazing," Frankel tells Zap2it about the attention she receives. "I think I'm like a mirror to certain people. I think I say what people are thinking, for better or for worse. I sometimes get in trouble with it, but I say it like it is."
We talked to Frankel recently about her feuds, her castmates and why she feels people are so obsessed with her love life.
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Jill really took that "get a hobby" voice message to heart. What do you think about her keeping it that long and the fact she plays it for people?
I know. That to me is shocking. Yeah, at a certain level, I have trust in people. So, I was just completely shocked. The thing is I say it got disproportionate to what it originally was. It escalated. I meant everything I said on that message. She didn't play the entire message. I'm not sure why she didn't want everyone to hear the whole message. I meant everything I said, but the playing for other people is like somebody opening up your journal. I didn't blast it out to 20 people.
Why do you think that part of the message resonated with her so much?
I don't know how self-aware she is. I mean I'm a pretty self-aware person. I get that I can be abrupt and abrasive and that I'll always take the snarky route and sometimes hurt people's feelings. I get it. I'm not sure she's totally self-aware, but maybe on some subconscious level she thinks it's true. You know they say, thou doth protest too much. Maybe, it meant something....If somebody told me to get a hobby, that might be one of the more nicer things people have said about me in the last couple weeks.
Knowing how much she cares about that line, have you apologized at least for that part of the message or are you going to?
You know what I say on marriages and relationships? It's never about what it's about. Something small happens and there's something much more massive underneath it. Sometimes the aftershock is worse than the original earthquake kind of thing. I think that what happened after became so much more enormous, as you'll see throughout the season, that I was reaching out. To get to the place where I am now, where it's become a much different thing. Other things were said. Other things were done. It really became a whole other issue.
Kelly recently posed for Playboy. Would you ever pose for Playboy?
At this point in my life, not even because I'm pregnant, that would not be a good business decision for me. With business, it's like a thread. Everything needs to adhere to that line. There would be no reason, no upside to posing for Playboy for me. It would not be good for my brand. I think for somebody like a Heidi Montag, where she was sort of on her way down, I think that was a good thing to do. It depends on what your endgame is. Posing nude for PETA, that was for charity and not really about business, but it wouldn't hurt my brand. I just don't think that posing for Playboy has anything to do with anything that I am.
What are your thoughts on Kelly posing for Playboy?
To her, I think she thought it was a really big honor. I don't think she was thinking long term. I don't think it will hurt anything for her. I don't think it's damaging to her. I think it might even have been helpful for her. For her, it might have been a smart business decision. I don't have a problem with it, because of her kids. It's not like her kids are fourteen and their friends are buying Playboy. I understand her reasons for doing it. You get a lot of opportunities and you sometimes get excited about the moment. You want to say yes to a lot of different things. But as you become more successful, you have to become more strategic about the decisions that you make. And that's the kind of decision that could have repercussions.
Last season, you had a problem with Ramona's statement that Jill likes to adopt the underdog and she was referring to you. Do you see some truth to that statement now?
It happens with girlfriends all the time. When you're down and out, people rally around you. It's easy for you to be the one that's the needy one. When you're not the underdog anymore, things shift. Yeah, I do think there was something to what Ramona said. I didn't see it at the time or I didn't choose to see it, but I can understand why she said that. Absolutely.
Some people believe that Jill is attracted to LuAnn right now, because she's the underdog at this moment. Do you agree with that?
Well, it's not that I think she's particularly vulnerable, but she's newly single and she needs friends and she needs people to hang out with and Jill has a lot of free time and likes to spend it shopping and gossiping and plotting and all that kind of stuff. So, you need a partner in crime in that. I got really, really busy. I've always been busy, but it got to a different level. I was trying to manage a relationship while marketing a book, a liquor brand and my own television show and just all these different things. So, I wasn't able to indulge in all those things I was able to indulge in before and LuAnn maybe has more free time, since she's not married, to do that.
Ramona has announced she is going through a renewal. What have you seen of that?
Ramona is always announcing something. She's one of those people. She did cut her hair and she does renew her vows. Ramona is the same Ramona. She really is. She likes to have a thing, which I think is nice, because she's always working toward improving herself whether or not it's really happening. She has good intentions. She isn't always that self-aware in the moment and you can see that she acts crazy half the time. So, her whole thing is she's renewing herself. OK, good for her. For me it's like, you don't have to talk the talk, just walk the walk. But, it's not hurting anyone by any stretch of the imagination.
It's clear you're bothered by Ramona trying to remain impartial. How do you feel about her?
We definitely have our moments. You will see her go off the rails in certain ways this season in ways you will not believe and even more. The tension heightens and it's insane. Here's the thing. I don't think Ramona is malicious at all. She can be mean. She can lash out. She can be unstable, but she's not malicious. When we're out shooting, she's "Bethenny needs to sit down.' She has been very sort of nurturing to me, which is attractive, especially because I don't have a parent or that kind of thing. It's nice when she does that. It's sweet. She has good intentions.
Rumors have been circulating for a while regarding your feud with "The Millionaire Matchmaker" Patti Stanger, but recently she took it public on Twitter. Why do you think she did that?
It probably elevates herself or gets her attention. She doesn't even exist to me. She's not a person I ever really think about. I don't really know her very well at all. She used to be represented by my agent and that didn't work out. A while ago, when first my TV show was announced, she was saying 'it's not official,' 'it's not definitely happening.' She was always very, very, in tune with what I was doing. So, I guess she still is for some reason. It doesn't even register. I honestly couldn't possibly care less about her or what she did. Her whole platform is not something I'm really that jazzed about. She and Jill are best friends and they're the two yentas on Bravo. So, I'm sure it's a lot of good fodder.
Earlier, Alex McCord had an issue with you not being honest with her about not using the logo she created for you. Why didn't you just ask her to redesign it?
You know my partner built Skyy Vodka. They sold 400 million dollars. This is not use your friend as a graphic designer. It's going to be an international brand and I had to listen to my partner. We have a big massive branding company that does the signage and shrink-wraps my car and did the bottle design. It's a one-stop shop place. So, I can't be piecemealing out that. So, it was just a business decision. And it was the right decision, because the logo now is what it needs to be. She would need to have it as a fulltime job working on my marketing and be that equipped to do that. She's not going to be shrink wrapping a car.
About the Skinny Girl car, it was funny to see Jason in it. How does he feel driving around in that car?
He is the most secure, confident person. He doesn't care at all. He doesn't even notice it. It makes me laugh. He's totally well adjusted. Not even a thought. Any other guy would be like, 'no way.' He's supportive. He knows that I'll do anything to be successful and to work hard. And I don't care. Who cares? It's a car. It drives. Three years ago, I wouldn't be able to afford a car in Manhattan. So as I said to LuAnn, 'Why am I going to drive around in a car when I can drive around a car that's a billboard?' I know how much a billboard costs. So, I just thought it was a great marketing idea.
Also, one of the complaints among your critics is that you're obsessed with your fiance and talk about him entirely too much. What do you have to say about that?
When the show was shooting, I was newly, madly in love. It was all I was excited about and I'm sure that will continue the whole season. Also, everyone was fascinated by me and my ex-boyfriend and by me being the wounded bird who was broken up. And everybody was very 'you're our Carrie from 'Sex and the City'' and 'will you find love' and 'we want you to find love' and all that. So, now people are invested in me finding it. You can't win for losing, so it is what it is. It's what really happened. It's my reality. I'm excited about it. You know what, it's boring hearing me talk about work, so let me talk about him and nauseate people with that. No one's ever going to be happy.