A young twenty something girl from Florida Facebooked me and asked me, "Is it really you?" Of course it's me. Who else would it be? So I emailed her back and she asked me to call her friend to wish her Happy Birthday. On Saturday, I called to wish her friend happy birthday, and the girl was screaming on the phone when I said, "Hi, it's Kelly." And she said, "Kelly Bensimon?" My older daughter was in the car with me because I had just picked her up from swimming and she was giggling as I spoke on the phone with the sweet girl. After I hung up, my daughter told me how fun it was to have that girl be so excited. Then it dawned on me - yes, it was fun. She was right and so insightful. This whole process has been so fun, hedonistic and filled with vicious gossip and crazy press. (Even TMZ followed me with my twin brother walking down the street.) But making that girl happy and exposing people of all ages to a life I am so proud of and grateful for is amazing.
Modeling breeds such insecurity. You have to look a certain way, fit into a certain size, and be tall. No one cares how you feel, or what you think. If you are the look, they will do whatever it takes to keep you happy for the time they need you. Every day you are with new people, some who are so nice to you, and some who never give you the time of day. I have been every hair color - blonde, brunette, and even red. But traveling, meeting new people, synthesizing information quickly, learning to speak foreign languages, and acclimating in foreign environments within days made modeling an amazing experience. I did all of this while I was attending Trinity and Columbia. At Trinity, I had all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and took the 4:26AM train to New York and the 6:05 back to Hartford every other day. That's why I transferred to Columbia so I could work. There, I went to school year round and took exams after flying back from London, and wrote papers weeks in advance to be sure they were on time. It was so stressful, but I don't regret one minute of it, because I wouldn't be who I am today if I didn't challenge myself.
Columbia was so tough, and the students were so inspiring. The experience was unforgettable. All I wanted to do was make friends, go out for beers, and play pool, but instead I spent my days running and my nights on planes reading and studying. Then I met Professor Ziegler, who is the head of the Creative Writing department, who pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to write about anything, all the time, every day. He taught me how to think outside the box, not to succumb to mediocrity, but to make things happen. Life is an organic process, but you have to be ready for everything that comes your way - good, bad, or ugly. He taught me to appreciate all moments because they would never come again.
Because I was from the Midwest and have amazing parents, I have very strong values. I never had to pose or wanted to pose nude to get work. I was very lucky to just be able to smile.
Now, after so many years, I am in the celebrity division at IMG. Every six months we update all promotional material, so I asked my good friend who is a Victoria's Secret photographer to take some pictures. I was talking to one of my oldest friends, Donald Mikula, who is also one of my hair and makeup artists, and he inspired me to be the "A" in the Happy Halloween invitation for the party I was hosting for my friend Arthur Demarchlier. Arthur is the son of Patrick Demarchlier, who took my first pictures for Vogue. I have known the family since I was 19 years old, anything they asked me I would do for them. So I helped create an image for their invite, and I hosted the party for them.
Halloween is a fun night for my children. Our building always has a big party, and my parents came into town to see my kids. We had a blast until I realized the time. I got dressed and sat in tons of traffic. Taren, my assistant, was already at the party, and she told the cast and crew that I was in the car and so late. I was even texting LuAnn and Jill that the traffic was crazy. So, they all knew and had every reason to be disappointed. I was mainly disappointed that I didn't get to see Jill's costume because she had talked to the girls about it, but things happen, and I didn't get to see it. The process is what's important, not the outcome. I had fun with my kids, my friends had fun, and the housewives got tons of airtime. So, it all worked out for everyone.
As for the party, it was a huge success. They made a ton of money with their open bar, and people were on all the multiple floors of the hotel. We did what we set out to do - get tons of people there and make money. I was so happy for Arthur and his friend Nick who organized the party. Woo Arthur!
Don't forget to go to bravotv.com and purchase something from my athletic line to support the neuroblastoma fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. And in the May issue of Harper's Bazaar, you can read the article about me and how "Reality Bites." I haven't felt the bite - a lot of people just like to piggyback and are searching for their five minutes of fame. I feel grateful that I can share all of my amazing experiences I have had with you: don't say yes to what you can't do, don't let anyone bully you, enjoy your beautiful children, and if you are bored, go and have a pillow fight. Life is way too short, and we create our own memories. Go create them. If all that is biting, go draw blood.