The Real Housewives of New York alum Kelly Bensimon recently hosted the launch of Original Scent, the new luxury scent bar in Pasadena. The reality TV star, 44, raves about the new “boutique where you can make your own personal fragrance.”
Kelly opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her daughters – Sea, 14, and Thadeus, 12 – who are her “greatest luxury.” She goes on to talk about the difficulties of single motherhood and her greatest regret from appearing on RHONY, saying the show did not accurately portray her life.
CBS: You’re hosting a big event at Original Scent, the new luxury scent bar in Pasadena. What is the event all about?
KB: “The event is to promote Original Scent, which is a boutique where you can make your own personal fragrance instead of going to a store and buying someone else’s. You can actually make your own.
It is very exciting for me to be in Pasadena, California, as it is so incredibly beautiful here. I’ve just been writing my columns for the New York papers that I write for, and it’s really nice to have my office outside here. I am really excited for the event because I am a scent fanatic. I’ve been obsessed with scents all my life. I’m really looking forward to seeing what other people like for their original scent and I also can’t wait to explore the different scents for myself.”
CBS: Do you miss being on The Real Housewives of New York?
KB: “I miss all the entertainment. It was definitely very fun to be surrounded by all these women that I never met before and learn how they navigate New York life. That was obviously very interesting because it is so out of my comfort zone. It’s not what I am used to in New York. It was really exciting to be a part of that…to be a voyeur into another aspect of New York culture.”
CBS: Do you keep in contact with any of your former cast mates?
KB: “LuAnn [de Lesseps] came over for a party a couple of weeks ago. Jill Zarin also just emailed me the other night. We do keep in contact, but it’s like, would you keep in contact with the people you worked with at your last job?”
CBS: Would you be interested in doing another reality TV show like Real Housewives?
KB: “I would definitely be interested in doing another reality TV show, but I wouldn’t want to do a reality TV show with a mixed cast like that unless it could be a new kind of genre, called “soft-scripted.” The nice thing about soft-scripted shows versus reality TV shows is that soft scripted shows allow the participants to kind of know what is going on versus just being on the show like I was with Housewives. You walk into a room and people are just like, “Oh I hate you!” and you’re like, “I have no idea why.”
Soft-scripted shows give you more boundaries so you kind of know how to navigate them. It’s also more real to the viewer and I think it’s more interesting. I would definitely do a soft-scripted show, but I would not do something that is “reality,” because that is not fair to the viewer. As a writer and as a mother, I don’t want to present myself in that way.”
CBS: You were the beauty correspondent for ULTA beauty during Spring 2013 New York Fashion Week. Can you tell us more about that experience?
KB: “That was so exciting for me. My background is in fashion; I grew up as a model and I got educated so I could write about what I love, which is fashion. I have been writing the lion’s share of my life. One thing that was great about being the correspondent for ULTA was that I was able to see a different part of the fashion industry.
The beauty industry is so enormous. It was so exciting to meet all the hair and makeup people that I don’t necessarily know and would love to work with and hear of all the new products that are coming out. There is so much going on in the beauty world and it’s really exciting. Everything from the Clarisonics to blush colors. It was very exciting to be a part of.”
CBS: You are also an ambassador for Food Bank NYC. What is the organization all about?
KB: “I am one of their celebrity ambassadors. I just spent the last weekend at the Bowery Mission with my two daughters. The Food Bank NYC is basically a bank where they warehouse all of the food that is donated to New York shelters and areas where they are feeding the homeless. They not only have their own soup kitchen and pantry, but they also provide food for different areas in New York, including the Bowery Mission and many other soup kitchens.
The great thing about Food Bank NYC is that they are feeding all these amazing people. I don’t think people recognize how many New Yorkers cannot afford food. It is really devastating. Food Bank NYC feeds all these amazing people and helps them find jobs and build a new life in New York. I think that’s critical to that city.”
CBS: Tell us about your daughters. How old are they and what do they like to do for fun?
KB: “My two daughters are twelve and fourteen-years-old. My youngest, Thadeus, is an amazing pianist. She also loves to buy as much make-up as she possibly can [laughs]. My oldest daughter Sea is fourteen-years-old and she loves to play basketball and read. She is more active and she’s a great tennis player. She is having fun being a teenager.”
CBS: How do you balance your busy career and family life?
KB: “I don’t. I don’t balance my busy career and family life [laughs]. I am always hanging on by the seat of my pants. Right now I am writing an article that was due an hour ago and trying to be the best parent I can be.
I am a single parent and it’s not easy. For anyone who is a single parent, it is nothing to be flippant about. It is really, really difficult. I have to work as well, and it’s something that I’ve always done. I’ve always worked and I’ve always been a single parent. This is my life and it’s how I am trying to raise my kids. I want them to have really great values. I don’t want to be that parent that’s like, “I work so much that I kind of spoil them.” I am trying to give my kids those Midwestern values that I find very important.
It’s not easy. It’s just not easy. One regret that I have from Housewives is that they didn’t show how I navigate through New York being a single parent. That is one thing that I really regretted. They didn’t show how difficult it is for me or show how much I respect being a single parent and how much I love my kids. I regret that. They didn’t show that at all. They were just like, “Oh, you’re supposed to be rich and famous” and I was like, “I’m not rich, I’m not famous. I don’t know what you’re talking about [laughs].”
CBS: What do you have planned for Mother’s Day? What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
KB: “Oh my gosh, what do I have planned for Mother’s Day…I just love Mother’s Day because I love to be with my kids. Last year I had brunch with my kids and my best friend who is also my hairdresser.
I love Mother’s Day because it is an opportunity for me to be with my kids and not have to parent them. I’m like, “It’s Mother’s Day, so I don’t have to parent you and it’s all about fun!” It’s actually a day where I get to celebrate being their mother. That’s really exciting for me.
For me, I have two kids and I’m a single parent. Therefore, Mother’s Day is an opportunity for me to tell my kids, “It’s a day for us to celebrate being together.” Instead of celebrating me, I want to celebrate them. They are the greatest luxury that I could ever even imagine having. I can’t believe that I am the mother of two gorgeous girls. It’s something that I respect a lot and I want to celebrate it with them. It’s not about me; it is about us.”
CBS: What are some of your other upcoming projects?
KB: “I write for an AM New York lifestyle column every other week. I also have a new column in AM New York called “New York Talk” where I interview all these different great New Yorkers. “New York Talk” is so exciting because it is another way to show off why New York is so great; it shows all the great aspects of the city and all these different people who have come from all over the world to try their hand at a trade in New York. During Memorial Day weekend, I also have the re-launch of my first book called In the Spirit of the Hamptons. I am very excited about that.”