Navigating life after “Real Housewives of New York” hasn’t been as easy for Kelly Bensimon as jogging in the middle of 5th Avenue, but after eight years off-camera, the former Bravolebrity has gotten into her own groove.
“I’m not gonna lie when I retired from ‘Housewives’ in 2011, there was a total stigma attached to being a reality star,” she recently told Page Six.
Bensimon, who turned 50 in May, celebrated a year working as a real estate agent with Warburg Realty in February. On the company’s website, prospective clients can see that Bensimon’s wide-ranging resumé includes Editor of Elle Accessories, Hamptons and Gotham magazines, author of multiple novels and of course, her stint in reality TV.
“I’ve worked with so many people in so many capacities and the biggest takeaway from that is trust,” she said. “So when I branched out into other opportunities especially in the real estate market, people trust me.”
Keeping busy with real estate listings and brand partnerships, she claims she doesn’t have too much spare time these days but will have the occasional girls’ night and heads to Y7 yoga classes or SoulCycle when she needs a workout.
“I’m just like I’m a serial entrepreneur,” she said. “I’ve been really testing my hypothesis of leveraging my social media and my international fan base with real estate content, and really being a game changer in the real estate industry … even if the fan base thought I was kooky or whatever, every single person that meets me is like ‘I trust you.’”
Bensimon might be referencing the unforgettable three-episode arc of “RHONY” forever dubbed “Scary Island” where her mental health was questioned by her castmates. Still, the reality-star-turned-businesswoman is thankful for the platform the show gave her.
“I’ve always said it was a positive experience and I feel like there were some characters on the show who took it to a different level and we talked about it over and over again,” she said. “At the end of the day, I always wish people well, just because they’re not my type doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t wish them well.”
As for her own experience, Bensimon tells us the cameras perhaps didn’t capture her best side.
“I was always living my life, just Bravo didn’t want to see that,” she recalled. “They were like ‘we don’t want to see how you live, we just want to see how you interact with the women [and] make them crazy,’ I was like ‘alright, fine.’ I wasn’t like a real character on the show, I was just the instigator. I think now is the time to really show off my superpower and let people see what makes me tick how I’m successful [or] how I’m not.”
A rep for Bravo did not respond to our request for comment.
But as the show’s eleventh season premieres this Wednesday, Bensimon called all the women “good news” as their lives have evolved since the show’s 2008 start.
“It’s super exciting even when you see Bethenny [Frankel] have her own alcohol line and Luann [de Lesseps] have her own cabaret show and Ramona [Singer] be able to be single and out there and making her own money, that’s just all good news to see women in their second chapter of their life to be able to generate income.”
These days she keeps in touch with de Lesseps, having seen her show, “#CountessandFriends,” when it first opened last year.
“She’s just so charismatic and so incredibly engaging [and] her fan base just adores her,” Bensimon gushed, but also acknowledged that The Countess’ very public spiral and comeback in the form of a drunken arrest and two rehab stints, is connected to the pressures of being in the spotlight and how she avoided any disasters herself.
“When you’re under the microscope, people think they’re seeing you for how they’re seeing you, but it’s really the camera that’s focusing on certain things — that’s bittersweet,” she explained. “Obviously, when you’re in the public eye there’s going to be a lot of people that surround you and I was super protective when I was on television about who I hung out with, what I did, where I went and as a result I’m not in that same kind of situation because I protected myself.”
Even though she still lives like she’s got a camera crew in tow, Bensimon said a TV return isn’t out of the question. She was recently spotted at the Grammys in Los Angeles and at Dennis Basso’s NYFW show the next day.
“I’m like pinching myself, like is this my life?!” she explained.