“!!!” “OMG, I’m so jealous.” “OMG, I love her.” “Ask her if she needs an assistant!” The responses varied, but the excitement level was palpable when I told my friends I had the chance to interview Bethenny Frankel. Bethenny may describe herself as a barracuda, but in person, she comes across as a professional, warm, but smart businesswoman. She’s like the cool, all-knowing aunt every girl needs in her life. The one who you can go to for things you can’t ask your mom. The one who will tell you, “No, you shouldn’t buy those jeans” and answer without hesitating when you ask, “Yo, should I dump this asshole?” (love this site.) Her “Frank-elness” (sorry for the terrible pun) and honesty are among the core values of her Skinnygirl brand, which is why I was initially surprised when I heard she was making the foray into shapewear. Because isn’t shapewear partly based on hidden illusion and smoke and mirrors through can’t-breathe, secret foundation undergarments? But leave it to Bethenny to inject some candor into the shapewear industry by taking the “hidden” out of the equation, and making a line of visible, lingerie-inspired foundation garments that are meant to be seen: Skinnygirl Solutions. I asked Bethenny about her new line launching exclusively at 25 Macy’s, her thoughts on the 90 day rule, and why she’s against texting boys.
TDO: When do you wear shapewear?
Bethenny: This is a classic tank, I wear that under everything. I wear it when I’m going out at night with my girlfriends or husband, under a dress or a tank top. It’s lazy lingerie because when I get home because it’s like, “Honey, I have something sexy on.” It’s smoothing and inexpensive at less than $50 a garment. It’s shapewear you actually want people to see. And it’s not just shapewear: it’s a bra, tank top, and a piece of lingerie, all in one garment.
What were the pain points in the current shapewear industry that inspired you?
My brand is about practical solutions for women. Women say, “It rolls up, it’s too expensive. I’m embarrassed to wear it in front of someone.” I listen to women. That’s my job.
At this point, Alison Brod, the PR impresario whose firm is heading the event, pops by to say hi to Bethenny.
Alison Brod: How fun was yesterday? You did such a great job.
Bethenny: (to me) We roasted Betty White yesterday.
Wow. America’s treasure? Were you scared?
I held my own, it was a game changer. I wasn’t scared to roast Betty White. I was scared to be doing this next to Liza Minnelli, Barbara Walters, next to those professional stand-up comedians.
What would you say to critics who think of shapewear as unsexy?
Take a look. This is sexy. That’s exactly the point of the line. People feel self-conscious about wearing shapewear and then feel more self-conscious about what they’re wearing to hide it. This is like, “Show it off.”
What do you think is sexy?
Confidence and intelligence is sexy. It’s sexy to be interesting rather than the hottest thing in the room. It’s sexy to own it and walk with your head high and proud. You can be the most beautiful woman in the world but with bad posture, insecurity, any man can sniff that out.
How do you think a man’s idea of sexy differs from a woman?
I think it’s a misconception that it differs. People think men like the big boobs etc. and they do for a moment. Ultimately, a man is attracted to a woman who owns it, is in control, and confident. There are some men who are insecure and want a bimbo by their side. The good men? They want a strong woman.
What are your tips for appearing to be the most interesting person in the room?
Have something to say about yourself and be confident. Don’t just focus on your looks. And listen, keep it together, you want to look good. But it’s not the most important thing because that fades in five minutes. You don’t want someone to say, “Oh my god, this one is so hot, but listening to her talk is like nails on a chalkboard.” You want to be a person who says something memorable. You want leave them thinking, “Oh wow, that one’s interesting, that one left me thinking.” And of course, following all the basic rules like no matter how much you want to, you can’t sleep with someone early on. And if you do, you have to figure out a way to get the ball back. You have to be in control in the beginning when you date someone. No textual relationships.
Textual? Or sextual or sexual?
Textual. Texting is too accessible and easy. You can’t be texting back and forth. You think they like you because they took five seconds to text you. Calling someone and really engaging, that shows you really like someone. You can let them know right at the beginning, “Oh, I don’t really text.”
One of my friends is seeing a dating coach who recommends you don’t sleep with someone for 90 days. What are your thoughts on that?
Well, that’s never going to happen. That’s fantasy land. That is extreme. I would say, if you can make it a month, you’re golden. If you make a mistake and do it ahead of time, act like you don’t care. Don’t contact that person. Act like you used them. It’s all in the attitude. If you’re the desperado saying, “I never do this,” they’ll never call you.
What piece from the line would you wear to feel sexiest?
I would wear the Shaping cami with lace trim. I wore that to my 40th birthday breakdown on my TV show.
Interview has been condensed and edited.
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