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Skinnygirl CEO Bethenny Frankel, who built a brand worth $100 million, knew she made it when she was on the cover of Forbes — but she still didn't feel it

Myelle Lansat
Bethenny Frenkel

Diane Bondareff/AP


  • Bethenny Frankel realized she was successful when she was on the cover of Forbes in 2011 after selling Skinnygirl Cocktails for $100 million.
  • Still, it took her some time to start making expensive purchases.
  • Before "Real Housewives" and Skinnygirl, Frankel said she only had $8,000 to her name.

Bethenny Frankel, the New York "Real Housewife" turned millionaire brand mogul, didn't achieve success overnight.

Frankel was hesitant to join the cast of "Real Housewives of New York" back in 2008, she said on an episode of Business Insider's podcast "This Is Success" (formerly "Success! How I Did It").

She said she only had $8,000 in the bank at the time; she was working to become a natural-food chef. Eventually Frankel signed on to the show for just $7,250.

After the show took off, Frankel said she knew she would be a success. "I just knew that I was a valuable asset in this, just because I'm an honest storyteller, and there's a lot of comedy along the way," she told Business Insider. As the show found loyal fans, so did Frankel's Skinnygirl brand.

In 2011, she sold Skinnygirl to Beam Global for $100 million while retaining the name rights, continuing to earn a profit. Shortly after, she appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine. But Frankel said she still didn't feel financially secure yet.

"I guess I intellectually knew it, but I didn't feel it," Frankel said. "It took me a while to start purchasing things and paying expensive bills for things that I would have cringed at then. Literally, before 'Housewives,' I would have been crying in a corner for a $4,000 pool-heater bill."

Frankel said that getting to a certain level of financial success has given her freedom, but she hasn't accomplished everything she wants to in the business world.

She continued: "I look at business for myself — and I guess a little bit reality TV — as when the tables are hot, you press your bets. Right now the tables are hot, knock on wood. If they go cold, I'll walk. That's how I feel."

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SEE ALSO: Skinnygirl CEO Bethenny Frankel explains how she used 'Real Housewives' to build a brand worth $100 million

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