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Did Bethenny Frankel Invent Making Big Bucks in Reality TV?

by Betsy Alexander /

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Maybe yes, maybe no, but she's certainly done it on a grander scale than anyone else.

Multi-hyphenate Bethenny Frankel—founder & CEO of SkinnyGirl, reality TV star, best-selling author, natural foods chef and mom—sat down with Marc Murphy, owner of Benchmarc Restaurants, chef/judge on "Chopped," and now author of "Season With Authority," at the beautiful Brandy Library in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood. And the talk got real really quickly: TV vs. real life personas (and how that helps, or hurts, in business). Real vs, professional "focus testing," and the really hard work of building a brand.

"I just don't think that people now—especially in this generation—work that hard," said Frankel. "They don't get how hard it is…."

Both agree that being on television, while risky, has helped their businesses, even though it can be a double-edged sword. Frankel said: "Sometimes it's like making a deal with the devil … this is the life we chose … you can't start complaining when it's not good, when you've ridden this amazing ride."

So how do you stay relevant in a trend-filled business where the "next big thing" is speeding up behind you? Frankel doesn't think about it. "I just think I am relevant. And if I'm irrelevant, it's time, I'll call the fight." For Murphy, he said, it's a little different: "I hope to God I'm always relevant. I mean, I hope everyone's going to still eat."

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