Kelly Killoren Bensimon on Real Housewives of NYC and Her 'Joan Collins Moment' with Bethenny

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Kelly Killoren Bensimon has been a lot of things in her life -- model, magazine editor, author, jewelry designer, self-proclaimed equestrian, and the former wife of famous photographer Gilles Bensimon -- but within the past year, her reputation has exploded thanks to her newest and most sinister role (and landmark fight with Bethenny Frankel) on The Real Housewives of New York City, Bravo's reality show dedicated to the women of Manhattan's upper crust. Just ahead tonight's third season premiere, Bensimon talked with Movieline about fashion industry events, the intentions of Ms. Frankel, and the camera's ability to lie.

Do you get anxious upon beginning to film another season?

Well, first of all, you never really know -- with Bravo, they're never like, "You're shooting 12 episodes in your contract." Everything's really loose. And so you're kind of like, you're only as good as your last filming. That's kind of nerve-wracking because you never how it was coming in, or if someone else is going to be coming in. There's always a level of anxiety from working in general. And to top it off, each housewife has her individual personality, and that can be really nerve-wracking and anxiety-filled. Every day can bring something different, and everyone can have a different agenda.

Have your relationships with the cast changed much since last year?

Just like in any different filming, you form relationships with some of your castmates more than others. Thing is, it's not like we're not forming relationships based on a script; we're just forming them based on feelings and interaction, and if someone's going through something, you maybe empathize with that person or you don't empathize with them. It's an organic process. That's what makes it really exciting. You don't know who is going to be what way every single day. It makes it exciting, but it has layers.

I read that at Bryant Park, a storm of flashbulbs follows you in. You've long been a fixture at fashion events. How has the show changed your experience at fashion events, and are you treated differently because of the show?

I mean, I was a model for a long time and the editor of Elle Accessories, and I've been fortunate enough to wear a lot of amazing designers, and that's always been such an incredible luxury. So it's not like it's something new, it's something I'm always flattered by. There's no manipulation, I'm not devious, I'm not doing anything to try and get my picture taken. I'm not pulling my dress up to show my underwear. I'm just wearing someone's dress. They want things to be shown, and I'm so flattered that I get to be the hanger for them. I don't see it any other way than that, to be honest with you. Wherever I go, I'm flattered to be representing whoever I am.

Your fight with Bethenny was a clear highlight of the second season. Is it strange watching yourself fight on TV? Did you say what you meant at the time?

Well, I think what people don't recognize is that I had a full day of filming that day, two kids that needed to go to the beach, my driver at the time was basically dying of cancer, and I had literally five minutes to shoot with her and a date scene right after. It was just a very, very short window. Let's be honest, I don't know her. I don't spend any time with her. I'd met her once at my house. She had attacked me before, and I wanted to clear the air. And suddenly it was a Joan Collins moment; I felt like I was on Dynasty. I looked at her, and I thought, "Is she kidding me? This is a joke right now." For her, she was like, "Really?" I was like, this is what she wants? Then let's go for it. Let's take it to another level, because we're on camera, and people are focused on her reaction and my reaction.

I don't play on the same playground. If I don't want to call someone names, I don't want to be mean to them. So, therefore, if you're going to act like that, then you're down there, and I'm the parent, so I'll be up there. I realized that that message makes great TV. That's sensationalism, just like in writing. People recognized me as one of the 25 Most Influential People of '09. Like for this article, if I say something's crazy, you're going to say, "Kelly thinks it's crazy!" That makes it more exciting.

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Comments

  • OldTowneTavern says:

    Oh! What kind of obnoxious bullshit blathering was this? And how did she make me laugh at the phrase "my driver was dying of cancer"?

  • andreazuckerman-vasquez says:

    I saw Kelly on Monday at a tennis match at Madison Square Garden. Her face is so overly fake tanned that it is almost purple. She resembles an older, thinner Violet Beauregarde.

  • Marla says:

    She is a name dropper!
    Very full of herself!
    Team Bethanny all the way

  • Gina says:

    Team Kelly - I don't know how anyone can even stand to look at Bethenny anymore. She is beyond vile. The worst people can say about Kelly is that she's "on another planet". She's just fun-loving and has a good heart. I have to wonder if Bethenny has any heart at all. In the first episode of Season 3, her interactions with her new boyfriend were not the least bit tender or loving. Is she female even? LOL. Anyway, good for Kelly for striking back - Bethenny lashed out at her enough.

  • Virginia says:

    I can't stand Kelly. She thinks shes all that but she beats people up, when she was on show the first time she attacked Bethenny and when Bethenny would say something Kelly said "Stop just stop your wasteing my time. What time she never does anything important. All jealous because Bethenny did her business with no help from a man. Alexis is sweet and Jill and Countless and Kelly talk about her and Simon and then when face to face they act so goody goody. Their all fake .

  • getbacktowork says:

    i kinda agree with you. i'm not team kelly, but bethenny is very unfeminine and caustic and too confrontational. kelly is not the brightest bulb, and she is definitely a name dropper and social climber and all that, but, at the end of the day, she is just a girl trying to get by the only way she knows how (with her looks, not her brain). bethenny picking fights with her is like picking a fight with a child. of course you can out talk them and beat them, but why? i'm definitely sick of bethenny, for sure, and i was a big fan of hers last year. kelly, yah, not team kelly and would never be friends with someone like that, but whatever... she's just a mom trying to get by, and you don't really see her trying to stab people. she is a little bit here to bethenny, but she's too self-involved to waste her time plotting against others. she's just trying to promote herself.

  • Catherine in Tulsa says:

    Kelly is fantastic and that is what Bethenny hates about her. You can see how at ease she is with herself and what an absolutely incredible life she leads. She even speaks well of her ex husband - she actually says that she was married to an incredible man and the next guy needs to be just as incredible - she's even at peace with her ex! She's 41 and can still rock the hot pants. Her apt is great and REAL. Bright pink couches and a life size horse statue - you look at it and see her, not some designer. I love how she says "don't buy things, buy objects" - she appreciates art and it comes through in the way she lives. It's just a shame that others are not as happy with themselves and try to beat her down to make themselves feel better.

  • esta loca la chica says:

    yo pienso que neccesitas ayuda. Porque siempre estas atacando ala jente. deja empas a bethanny. talvez podra ayudar te a no quemar los pancakes

  • MICHAUDS says:

    I HAVE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH TO SAY TO YOU, BUT HONESTLY YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND "ONE" THING I HAVE TO SAY......
    THE DEEPEST THING YOU HAVE TO SAY IS "ZIP IT".......DUH?????
    TRUST ME SWEETHEART YOU LOOK OLDER THAN 42YRS, YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS IN YOUR SHORT SHORT SHORT I GUESS A DRESS.......YOU FACE LOOKS LIKE RAWHIDE, BEEN IN THE SUN A LITTLE TOO MUCH, BAD GENES?????
    YOU LOOK ALMOST 50, DRESS YOUR AGE.....YOU MIGHT EVEN LOOK ATTRACTIVE, LET IT GO YOU ARE NOT 19 ANYMORE.......AND PLAYBOY PUT YOU IN THEIR MAGAZINE TO SHOW WHAT A 42 YEAR OLD WOMAN LOOKS LIKE !!!!
    GET A GRIP

  • shez belts says:

    For dresses that do not have zippers in the back, use the template cup from the cupboard, or any other shape that would make a good template. Draw around it and cut a shape from the back of the dress. Nisa around the figure, and you'll have a nice summer dress like no other... Just my 2 cents : )

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