published Sunday, July 17th, 2011

‘Bethenny Ever After’

Reality TV star and author Bethenny Frankel speaks on the Memorial Stage during the She Expo on Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Reality TV star and author Bethenny Frankel speaks on the Memorial Stage during the She Expo on Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Photo by Jenna Walker.
  • First day of She Expo
    The first day of Chattanooga's annual She Expo sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Photo albums

Day one of the She expo

Firefighter's fashion show for charity

Vendors and booths

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Reality television ‘It Girl,’ Skinnygirl cocktail creator and author Bethenny Frankel doesn’t mince words — on television or before a roaring crowd of women Saturday at the She Expo sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The star of popular shows “Real Housewives of New York City” and most recently “Bethenny Ever After” told women packing the Chattanooga Convention Center that she likes to walk around in her apartment naked, taste cocktails at 10 a.m. and go to Starbucks in flannel pajamas.

And in an exclusive interview with the Times Free Press, Frankel said she is relieved to put the drama of “Real Houswives” behind her to focus on her business and on being a role model for her daughter and a growing fan base.

“All they want to show is how rich they are,” Frankel said about her former “Housewives” co-stars before speaking to the audience. “It wasn’t good for me. I don’t think it’s a healthy environment. It’s women being rewarded for bad behavior. It’s embarrassing.”

She rarely speaks to the women on the show or watches it, she said.

On the She Expo runway, Frankel imitated former co-star Ramona Singer’s walk. When Singer texted to ask to be in the delivery room when Frankel’s baby was born, “I said when [my baby] sees your eyes she’ll go right back in.”

IF YOU GO


Who: Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart

What: She Expo

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center

When: The expo, with more than 150 vendors, runs from noon to 6 p.m. Martha Stewart speaks from 2 to 3 p.m.

She also said that while other reality shows are scripted and the women on “Real Housewives” “aren’t really friends,” her current show with her husband, Jason, is as real as it gets.

“It’s painfully real,” she said. “I really do put myself out there.”

Women of all ages packed the She Expo on Saturday to shop more than 150 venders offering everything from makeovers and massages to bra fittings and tooth whitening. The event will continue today with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart speaking to crowds.

Some Frankel fans at the expo said they drink her margarita brand and watch her show religiously. Several said they were inspired by Frankel’s message to go after what you want and never take no for an answer.

“I am so proud of you,” one women in the crowd told her.

Another women cried during a meet-and-greet session and called Frankel her inspiration.

“I love her,” said Victoria Smith, 17, who was among many young women snapping pictures of the star. “I love how open she is ... how she opens up to people and isn’t fake.”

Jason Taylor, president of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, said Frankel’s appearance caused a big stir among local women.

“I’ve been surprised at how emotional people were to meet her,” he said. “They identify with her on a personal level.”

Frankel has been on the cover of Forbes magazine, and her Skinnygirl brand recently was sold for more than $120 million. But when she first pitched the idea to mostly male executives in the liquor industry, she said, all she heard was no.

Now the industry is taking female customers seriously, she said.

“I changed the game of the liquor industry,” she said. “You can’t believe other people are smarter than you.”

Frankel has written several books, including “Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting.” Her new book, “A Place of Yes,” outlines her rules for life.

Fans should be on the lookout for a new season of her reality show and other television shows to come, she said.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
JoeHill said...

It's sad that people wanting to emulate the rich and the famous and to have any level of emotional intimacy with them is so high on our list of priorities that it makes the news at a time of great trouble and turmoil for many people.

July 17, 2011 at 3:12 a.m.
rosebud said...

That's my TFP! We get to see a reality TV "star" who appears to be anexoria walking, and Martha Stewart without handcuffs! Since the TFP believes in the "Right 2 Know" please tell: how much $$$ did you pay these 2 winners to visit? Are you still raising money for Chattanooga's Neediest Cases and tornado victims? How much did Skinny Girl & Inmate # 41243 donate to the funds?

July 17, 2011 at 1:18 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

Wow! There are other people out there who think like I do....

"...to focus on her business and on being a role model for her daughter and a growing fan base."

That quote is just breathtaking. Such role models she and Martha "Pimp My Cell" Stewart are!

July 17, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.
RetAF1stSgt said...

I'm appalled at the cover story and accompanying photo in my edition of the press this morning. If it had been a bunch of middle aged men shown stuffing dollar bills into the pants of a topless female, we would have been outraged! This is done in the name of fun? What an outstanding example to our young people.

July 17, 2011 at 7:51 p.m.
McRand said...

"The star of popular shows “Real Housewives of New York City” and most recently “Bethenny Ever After” told women packing the Chattanooga Convention Center that she likes to walk around in her apartment naked, taste cocktails at 10 a.m. and go to Starbucks in flannel pajamas."

And in the very next paragraph we have:

"Frankel said she is relieved to put the drama of “Real Houswives” behind her to focus on her business and on being a role model for her daughter and a growing fan base."

And I thought, "Role-model? Drinking cocktails at 10am and walking around naked? Wearing her PJ's to Starbucks?" This one's clearly talking out both sides of her mouth.

July 17, 2011 at 11:56 p.m.
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