This is one savvy Skinnygirl.
Kim Kardashian may have the bigger booty, but reality star/mom/mogul/margarita mix master Bethenny Frankel's got the bigger bank account. This reality star trumps the Kardashian clan—who have pocked millions from best-sellers, numerous E! shows and even paid tweets—all with a cocktail and a dream.
So how did Bethenny do it?
Well, not from Bravo, that's for sure.
Rather than earning megaprofits from the former reality shows, the former Real Housewives of New York City castmember uses them to gain fans and plug her brand, reports The Hollywood Reporter, who sat down with the star right after she signed that massive liquor deal. Topping off all the TV exposure, Frankel's always been extremely savvy when it comes to using Twitter, Facebook and her website to promote her books, workout tips and recipes—amassing over 500,000 followers combined from the sites.
All of her outside moneymaking and branding ventures fall under her personal business umbrella, called Bethenny Frankel.
Running the now extremely successful business, which she began as a modest startup while living with her dog Cookie in her small Manhattan apartment, has worked out quite well for Frankel. Besides tying the knot with hubby Jason Hoppy and giving birth to daughter Bryn, the entrepreneur has managed to do the following after kicking off filming on the first season of RHONY with just $8,000 in her bank account:
• Lucrative Endorsement Deals: Frankel has starred in ads and commercials for Pepperidge Farm Cookies, Bluefly and Hanes.
• Three Published Books: Her first tome, Naturally Thin, was purchased in a "very lucrative" deal by publishing house Simon & Schuster, was on the New York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks. Just nine months later, she released her second book, The Skinnygirl Dish, full of recipes on what exactly she's putting in her skinny bod. She's now released a third book, A Place of Yes, after rewriting her entire first draft. Fun fact: She does most of her writing on planes or in bed wearing pajamas.
• RHONYC/Bethenny Ever After: This is where Frankel built her enormous fan following, who will buy basically anything she slaps the Skinnygirl title on. RHONY debuted in October 2008 and she did the next three seasons, outwitting and outplugging everyone and parlaying that fame into her own show, now titled Bethenny Ever After, which shows a softer side of the now married mom.
• Workout DVD: In Body by Bethenny, the personable Frankel makes yoga look fun while joking with her yoga partner and, of course, plugging her Skinnygirl brand on her shirt.
• Skinnygirl Extensions: The Skinnygirl "lifestyle" includes a shapewear line, diet cleanse and weight-loss supplements. Of her "lazy lingerie" Frankel says, "I don't like to wear lingerie, but my husband loves it. So I created lazy lingerie. You wear it under a blazer or sweater during the day, but when you pull it off, you have on lingerie. It solves a problem."
• Speaking Engagements: With an agent, a booker, manager and PR rep, Frankel earns cash speaking about everything from business to dating and love to food.
• Skating With the Stars: Frankel cross-promoted this one, as it's currently living on in behind-the-scenes moments on Bethenny Ever After. She managed to squeeze in practice and a trip to Los Angeles with her hubby and 11-month old baby in tow and finished in second place—winning over even more fans in the process.
• Liquor Deal: This is Frankel's bread and butter, creating the Skinnygirl margarita after looking for a way to down her favorite drink without all that sugar. After developing the idea for the mix, she began shopping it around to liquor distributors, but no one would take her seriously in a male-dominated market. Finally, after six months of back-and-forth with Beam, who showed interest, she struck a deal (estimated at around $120 million) with the company to produce her formula worldwide. "I created a sub-category that never existed. I wasn't an expert, I was just another person bothered by a 700-calorie margarita," she said.
Frankel's been so successful in her endeavors that network heads are now even rethinking the way their reality stars have been using the networks for personal gain. Some have even begun to include clauses in new talent contracts that would award the network a portion of the money made from the result of a talent's time on a show.
Looks like Frankel's changed the game. And beaten everybody to the punch.