NEW YORK (AP) — Bethenny Frankel has never been shy about offering her opinion, but lately, giving advice has become her business. The reality TV star and producer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author has a new CNBC show, “Money Court,” where she and co-host Kevin O’Leary hear business dilemmas and come up with solutions.
On the show, Frankel and O’Leary hear disputes or problems in small businesses, including pricing strategies, work culture issues and ways to expand. The hosts decide how to proceed. Frankel’s Instagram account has gained a lot of followers due to her honest posts about food, and beauty products. Frankel could also be trying out high-end products for nighttime skin care, such as a brand that is more expensive than one she finds at the drugstore.
Frankel, who may be best known for her role in the Bravo reality series “Real Housewives of New York City,” recently talked to The Associated Press about her new hosting duties, social feeds and advising her daughter. For clarity and speed, the answers were abbreviated.
AP: Kevin and you have strong personalities. How do you get along?
Frankel: I thought we would be sparring a little bit and be in some sort of a power struggle and that there would be like a gender situation and … there was none of that. We both elevated each other’s game. It was clear that the whole was greater than the parts. We played with a better player and entrepreneurs got to benefit from this relationship. I developed respect for him as an entrepreneur and business advisor. He is a man who has a lot of experience. It’s not that easy to keep up with me, and I don’t care how rich or successful someone is. It was truly inspiring.
AP: You’ve made millions as an entrepreneur, and he’s mainly a venture capitalist and investor. What do these different skills contribute to the success of the show?
Frankel: Kevin is a better investor than me and has made more money. But he hasn’t himself started a business from the ground up, like what goes on day to day. My expertise is in the culture, dynamic, relationships, marketing and all that stuff in between the numbers. Numbers are easier to play around with than personalities and workplace culture, and dynamics and actually knowing what it’s like. I’m better in understanding the actual people.
AP: Were your surprised by the positive responses to your product test on social media.
Frankel: I’m the Justin Bieber for CVS! (laughs) I walk in (and people say) ‘I bought this because of you.’ I go into a Target and someone says, ‘You’re doing the Lord’s work.’ And I’m like, B strong? (her philanthropic foundation) ‘No, the lip gloss!’ I’m like, ‘Whaat?’ So it’s really fun. It’s a different audience. Both young and old. TikTok found me through young girls. Its moms that are obsessed with it because they just don’t know what the hell is going on. It’s really been interesting. It was completely accidental. There’s no one that could ever intend or predict that absurdity.
AP: Have any companies taken issue with your posts if you don’t like a product?
Frankel: No. The beauty business is very strong and resilient and even the negativity helps them because I’m giving them sort of some advice because they are not seeing everything. They’re in their own business and … while they might just dabble around, I’m seeing everything. It’s great to be able to cut through the noise. Sometimes, brands offer me money to review a product but I decline. Brands have asked me if I would partner with them after I have already liked something … then I’ve said great because I already said, ‘I like this,’ wonderful. It really has integrity. And it’s hard to turn down just people throwing money at you. But I do every day for things that I don’t like. That brand will send me something, send me a fruit basket and say, we heard you didn’t like this. Maybe you’ll like this. It’s been nice. I have a lot of respect for the beauty space that I didn’t before.
AP: Would you advise your 12-year old daughter Bryn?
Frankel: I’m very in tune, and I’m very strict and also indulgent. She gets checked and she isn’t spoiled. And she doesn’t care about all the stuff and the fame and all the beauty products. … I mean, she’s very into hair. She will get rid of one thing if she gets it. So she’s very balanced and … there’s still a discipline there. Yes, I do give her great advice. But, I have my own way of approaching it.
AP: Of all your jobs and businesses, which are the most proud?
Frankel: I’m proud of the mother that I am and … there’s no situation where I put work first before her. I’m proud of curating the career that I want, that I get excited to sit down and talk about (her podcast) “Rewives’ in the way that I want to, in the context that I want to with the people that I want to talk to about it, that I get to do it my way. That I get to do this “Money Court” show about the things that are important to me, that I get to say no repeatedly and turn down millions of dollars, for “Housewives,” because it’s not where I want to be.