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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New York City

How Bethenny Frankel Parlayed RHONY Into a Skinnygirl "Commercial"

The Real Housewives of New York City's Bethenny Frankel is a brilliant business mind. 

By Alesandra Dubin
Bethenny Frankel

In addition to her job as a The Real Housewives of New York City cast mate, fans of Bethenny Frankel know her reputation as a genius business mogul. Consider that it wasn't so long before she sold her Skinnygirl beverage brand for a reported $100 million back in 2011 that Bethenny had just $8,000 in the bank.

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Bethenny sat down with Adweek to share more about how she makes the magic happen — and part of her success comes, of course, from her exposure on the show. No part of Bethenny's business success is the result of happy coincidence, though — she's actively making those money moves happen behind the scenes.

"Frankel percolated a business in her one-bedroom apartment and shilled her low-calorie Skinnygirl Cocktails at every turn during early seasons of the Bravo series," Adweek noted. She even drove a car shrink-wrapped in her her then-new company's logo, and sent male models to hand-deliver Skinnygirl party invitations to the Housewives.

Her main interest is "parlaying the platform into a successful business," according to United Entertainment Group C.E.O. Jarrod Moses, who works closely with Bethenny.”

For the first season of the show, Bethenny earned just $7,250 (yes, you read that right) — but she kept full control of her brand, deviating from a more typical contract that gives the network part of brands in exchange for exposure, according to Adweek.

NBCUniversal president of lifestyle networks Frances Berwick gave Adweek more insight into why Bethenny's unusual arrangement works: “We’re capturing her real life and showing the complete picture, which is incredibly inspiring and aspirational. Do I love it when a brand is front and center? No. We have to be mindful that it only works when it’s interesting and entertaining. We don’t want to turn the audience off if they think it’s unnecessary.”

Frankel now collects $1 million a season, and called RHONY “a wonderful commercial" for her business.

Catch new episodes of The Real Housewives of New York City Wednesdays at 9/8c. And check out a preview of the upcoming action:

The Real Housewives Get a Mermaid Makeover
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