Bethenny Frankel Was Advised Against Joining the ‘Real Housewives’ Franchise: ‘Everybody Told Me Not To Do It’

Bethenny Frankel just launched her new reality show, The Big Shot with Bethenny. After making a name for herself on Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of New York, Frankel has grown quite comfortable within the reality television space. Knowing the franchise could be her ticket to fame, Frankel revealed that she ignored the original advice she received about being a part of the cast.

Bethenny Frankel smiles on the set of 'Mornings With Maria' at Fox Business Network Studios
Bethenny Frankel | John Lamparski/Getty Images

Bethenny Frankel joined the ‘RHONY’ cast in season 1

Frankel was on Bravo TV’s radar after appearing on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart in 2005. Though her main goal was to land her own show on Food Network to show off her culinary skills, the reality star was intrigued by the opportunity to join RHONY as a means to market her personal brands.

Real Housewives of New York was initially called Manhattan Moms, and [the cast members] had no preconceived notion about what the show was,” Frankel told Vanity Fair. “Real Housewives of Orange County premiered first, but it wasn’t very widely watched. My naïve goal was to be on the show to promote the fact that I was a food chef… Every time I was on camera was going to be about that. But I didn’t know what this medium was.”

Frankel had just gotten a deal with Pepperidge Farm when RHONY came calling, and was worried that the reality show may put a damper on her new partnership with the food giant. Her agent adamantly advised her against joining the series.

“[It’s] going to be a train wreck of a bunch of people drinking alcohol and making fools of themselves — which it became, in many ways,” Frankel told Marie Claire. “Everyone told me not to do it.”

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Bethenny Frankel kept it real on ‘Real Housewives’

Frankel went with her gut and joined RHONY in 2008. She discovered that her authenticity was her greatest asset in creating a fan base.

“I remember it hitting me that people were going to tune in to watch this show I was on,” she explained. “And I thought, ‘If they’re going to tune in, I’m going to give them the honest me.’ Like, reveal myself. But it was hard.”

Viewers soon found Frankel to be the one to watch, mainly due to how relatable she was on and off camera.

“I didn’t realize the power of of being the vulnerable one,” the RHONY alum remarked. “So just revealing myself was what ended up being the reason for my success in my products. Not the products themselves. Anybody can put a product on TV, but being the person that people trust or feel is revealing themselves… Like, if my logo’s ugly, I’m not pretending it’s not ugly. It’s ugly, and here we are on TV talking about my ugly logo.”

‘RHONY’ alum has ‘a gift’ for reality TV

Frankel left Real Housewives of New York in season 3, then returned in season 7. She made her final exit last year and began her partnership with Shark Tank creator Mark Burnett for The Big Shot with Bethenny. Now with years of television experience under her belt, Frankel realizes what her strengths are.

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“I remember when I came back to [the franchise], I was talking to Andy [Cohen] on Watch What Happens Live,” the Skinnygirl founder recalled. “And Andy was like, ‘You know, you’re really good at this.’ And the funny thing is, I know what I’m good at. I know what I’m not good at.”

With her new series recently premiering on HBO Max, Frankel is clearly at home in the reality space and intends on sticking around.

“I happen to be excellent at this form of television, whether it’s The Big Shot or any of these unscripted shows,” she said. “Finding the emotion, the humor, the connectivity, the entertainment, crystallizing what’s going on, and connecting to the audience… I have a gift for that.”