Why you should care
Because hitting the starting line already running is a good way to win a race.
Ambition is a funny thing. If it inhabits you, you know it as a never-sated occupier that gets you up early and puts you to bed late just trying to do a little bit more every day. If ambition doesn’t inhabit you, you wonder what all the hubbub is about.
Bethenny Frankel — author, entrepreneur, reality TV personality — never had to spend a minute wondering whether she was possessed by ambition. She’s a hustler nonpareil from a long line of hustlers.
As Frankel reveals in the latest episode of The Carlos Watson Show, a new late-night-style talk show hosted by OZY’s co-founder and CEO, her rise into public consciousness — from “who?” to “oh her!” — is perfectly suited to the size of her ambition. For Frankel, ambition is not so much a place as it is her method of attacking her reality.
[I] grew up at the racetrack … and me gambling at a betting window at Aqueduct Racetrack at 5 was not a big deal.
“I grew up in a really fucked-up household,” says the 49-year-old, the only daughter of a horse trainer father and an interior designer mother. “[I] grew up at the racetrack, and me gambling and betting at 13 years old at a craps table and me gambling at a betting window at Aqueduct Racetrack at 5 was not a big deal.”
Whether due to her parents’ divorce or to the uneven tutelage of her mom’s boyfriends, Frankel grew up relatively broke. Broke enough to be changed by being broke.
“I grew up with animals. So I’m an animal,” she says matter-of-factly.
This mindset took Frankel from a seemingly endless series of small and progressively odder jobs — babysitting Paris and Nicky Hilton? — to a kind of falling upward that happens in few other places than Los Angeles. From selling scarves and hawking healthy cookies, Frankel attracted media notice that landed her on TV with Martha Stewart.
She was off to the races with The Real Housewives of New York City and a media empire that includes more TV, books, the Skinnygirl product line and now a podcast, all of which target the Oprah demographic: women Frankel’s age who haven’t gotten the looks or the breaks that Frankel fought to get.
Frankel, who has gotten into charitable giving via BStrong while pushing away entreaties that she run for elected office, understands the most important element of getting to the finish line: pacing.
“I do yoga, I meditate, I walk on the beach, I get massages, I swim, I go wakeboarding with my daughter, I lay in bed all day with my boyfriend,” she says. “I balance it out.”