“I’ve never listened to a podcast in my life. I’m so excited,” Bethenny Frankel said at the beginning of our phone conversation earlier this week. In fact, it was on Tuesday, the morning her new podcast, Just B, premiered, though the new project had already reached  #4 on the Apple Podcast Shows chart and #1 on the Apple Podcast Society & Culture chart. It was even ahead of another new podcast which launched on the same day, Hillary Clinton’s You and Me Both. And while Bethenny seemed surprised about the warm, or rather, red hot, reception to her new endeavor, why should she be? This is the woman that made a name for herself on The Real Housewives of New York City, who launched SkinnyGirl and it’s dozens upon dozens of products, and who is literally helping to save the world with her BStrong initiative by partnering with Global Empowerment Mission to provide relief when and where it is desperately needed the most. Oh, and she has a new business competition show on the way with HBO Max. There’s really only one thing to say when you look at this mogul’s impressive resume, and you already know what that is. Wow, Bethenny, wow.

I admit that when I saw the word “business” in the description of the new podcast, I got a little intimidated. I know nothing about business, really, and quite frankly, I have no business listening to a podcast about business. But in her first episode with Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, Bethenny managed to lead a conversation between the two women that was humanizing, relatable, charming, and heartfelt, despite their impressive, massive success. Because of course she did. After sharing an embarrassing yet entertaining story about her friendship with Sia, it was clear that Bethenny was made for this medium, and with a lineup of guests including Mark Cuban, Maria Shriver, Paris Hilton, and Andy Cohen, Bethenny has yet again guaranteed, you’re gonna want to listen to what she has to say.

DECIDER: I loved the first episode with Bozoma, I was hanging on every word of it. You’re made for this and you’re a great host.

BETHENNY FRANKEL: Well, guess what? You know who gets full credit for that? Andy Cohen. He gave me the flagship store on his Radio Andy channel, until I spilled the wrong drink on the wrong person. Which is now meant to be, because I’d rather be in podcasts than be in radio. But he’s the one who called me last year, and he was like, “You need to have a podcast.” I’m like, “I don’t know. What do you mean? Do I have time?” He’s like, “Bethenny. You’re going to kill it. You need to do it.” So I’m giving Andy Cohen full credit. Not only does he make reality stars, he literally is the reason for me doing this. I give him full, full credit. We just got off the phone. I’m like, “Dude. You’re the only one who said this to me.” So I want to shout him out.

In doing this podcast already, has it inspired you to implement anything into your own life or businesses? Even from the first episode alone, I’m like, “I gotta get more sequins.”

That’s hysterical. I didn’t realize that Andy Cohen is also very decisive. I’m extremely decisive, so it reinforces my way of helping to influence people. My best friend — she’s been talking about renovating her upstairs for a year. I renovated four houses in that time. So it doesn’t matter: five different fabrics, just pick a goddamn lane and keep it moving. What Mark Cuban said is amazing, about, “People who are unhappy, are more unhappy with money. People who are happy, are more happy with money.” With Bozoma, I’m realizing we have so much in common with the fact that she had a challenging childhood — good parents, but very uncomfortable about where she was from, and just plowed through. That’s why she’s a fierce gangster, and I feel like I’m that too.

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People can literally take one thing from each of these [guests] and create their own entrepreneurial recipe. That’s what I think is going to be fascinating. Paris Hilton, I didn’t know that we had this in common. She really believes that if you don’t do it yourself, it’s not getting done right. You have to do it yourself. Always be hustling. Nobody knew that all these people have these similarities. That’s what makes a successful person. Giving them all the wisdom to put together their own recipe. And I’ll be helping the world because I’ll be helping more entrepreneurs start more businesses and be more successful and know what it takes and what the failures are and the mistakes. So I’m jacked up. I don’t mean this to pat myself — I just mean, what a good thing to not talk about garbage! We do talk about plastic surgery, believe it or not, but not talk about superficiality and just gossip and nonsense, instead of just helping.

For you, how has the word “success,” and its meaning and what it brings, changed for you over the course of your career?

You know, I now identify it, and I understand how it ebbs and flows. It means, to me, to be able to help other people. To be able to give them the gift that I’m giving them now, to be able to pay it forward and do it themselves. It means having a voice that people believe and listen to. Maria Shriver said she was going to ask a friend for business advice — she called me. I almost fell off my chair, to be that person. To use non-traditional opportunities to be that person, to be on a complete trainwreck of a television show and create this out of that — just shows you figure out your own map, no matter where you are. That means success to me, to be able to execute an idea. To be able to have an idea, and to be able to say it out loud. Somebody’s going to want to execute it for me, put money behind it, invest in it. That’s so powerful. Even people who are super wealthy don’t have people that are going to validate and invest in their ideas. It’s such a dream.

I did want to ask you about having Andy on the podcast. How did it feel for you to be the one asking him the questions?

Well, it was really funny. One time they had me role reverse when I was just playing around. I didn’t even have lipgloss on, on his show. And then they aired it, because they liked it so much, me interviewing him. It was great. The people that you’re friends with that you talk to, you don’t talk about — like, I don’t say to my best friend, “Hey, when you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?” Or, “What were your parents like?” You just sort of know people, and you talk to them about food and sex, or who you’re dating. You don’t really talk about what makes them who they are. Talking to Andy — and it was different than a lot of the interviews he does, for sure, they’re shorter, and not as in-depth. It was really getting to the meat of who he is, how he was raised. What his parents told him that he had to do. What it was like to come out. That his parents told him he was twirling off the stage when he was doing his performance, and they knew he was gay. If he thought his son was gay — things like that, that we don’t normally talk about. We’re sort of lazy in conversations. We just gossip about the Housewives, and we talk about who we’re dating. We talk about restaurants. It’s stupid things. Not, like, what makes us who we are. This has been a great opportunity for me to talk to people that I already know, about things I don’t know about them. And they like it too! They all like revealing this part of them, because everybody only wants to know about the last headline about them. That’s really it. They just want to know about who you’re dating, how you’re balancing motherhood? Did you have a good summer? You just had a baby — are they walking yet? Everyone really wants to talk about how they became successful, because they know that they have this map, this treasure map. And they’re reviewing it in their own minds. It’s just validating what they’ve done, and what they’ve been through. It’s good to feel validated about where you came from.

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Obviously this year has thrown everything out of whack, but do you have any idea of when we might see The Big Shot With Bethenny on HBO Max?

We’re starting to shoot in October. Really, we [had planned to start] in August. So we’re only two months behind. And it’s going to be fast. We’ll be out the same time we were before. They’re not playing any games at HBO Max. They’re the not-fuckin’-around crew. They do not play any games. They are another level.

This feels like a good partnership, then!

Yeah. They’ve got a massive team. They curate, they don’t half-ass. They’re not shoddy. They’re not throwing things onto the air. No show looks like the next show. They’re keeping up with me. It was just unbelievable.

Especially in a year like this, how do you pick and choose what to focus on for BStrong? Does it have to touch your heart? There’s so much to choose from, how do you figure that out?

It has to be an emergency. It has to be an absolute life or death, crisis emergency. Because otherwise, I will never be working or mothering or living, or just drinking water. It has to be life or death — like the PPE thing was life or death. It was so time-sensitive, it was so dire, so urgent. To navigate it, you needed to be a gangster and machete your way through corruption and fraud and counterfeit. We got more than $20 million in PPE. More than a million hazmat suits. More than a million masks distributed to all 50 states. We did a massive, multi-multi-million dollar effort in the Bahamas, in Puerto Rico. Because there are many disasters, and there are people affected by all of them. But you’ve got to save up your energy for when it’s like: this is not a fire drill. When it’s like, this is not the boy who cried wolf. This is actually the wolf. It’s exhausting, and it almost kills you. And it’s unhealthy. You just can’t sleep. You’re in a tunnel. You have to be ready for that.

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I would imagine you could have pretty much anyone on as your guest on the podcast. What is the main qualification for you?

Oh, well that’s a great question. Mark Cuban, he is a tech entrepreneur and billionaire genius. So that’s what he is. Maria Shriver’s not a celebrity, she’s a world-renowned journalist that has interviewed presidents on Air Force One. And a member of the Kennedy family, has seen things with the crazy bloodline through her family, and built her own identity — in her own life, was a First Lady. Andy Cohen has built an iconic franchise. John Paul DeJoria has Patrón and created Paul Mitchell from living out of his car. And Paris Hilton! Yes, she had wealthy parents, but she was 16 years old. She did this whole thing pretty much on her own. She was born into wealth, congratulations. But what she did far exceeds anything her family has done at all, by far. Any member of that family — and that’s the truth. You have to have done it yourself, understand what it takes to do it yourself. UFC, Dana White. You’ve gotta be that type of person. You could be famous, but you’re famous not for just being in a movie. I keep the filter very tight, because I’ve had my podcast partners want to have other people on that are just very famous. Because they got nervous in the beginning, about booking guests. I’m like, “I would rather have nobody than not have somebody who…” You have to get to that gauntlet. That’s why I wouldn’t have my own friends on. It’s not show friends, it’s show business.

How will you judge this podcast as being successful? What’s something that you hope both yourself and the listeners take away from it?

I’m in shock that, I didn’t even know there was a list, I’m in shock that we were top four before we even launched. Who knows where we’ll be tomorrow. I’m proud that I brought a lot of new people into the podcast space. One of the most common things I’m hearing is: how do I subscribe for a podcast? I’ve never listened to a podcast. This is me now. I’m a podcast listener. So I’ve opened up a category, which I did in alcohol. I’ve opened a category for new people. I’m bringing a lot of new customers into the store. It’s anything from HSN to Macy’s to what an ice cream store wants: they want new customers. I’m waiting for my Edible Arrangement from Spotify and Stitcher and Apple. Everyone’s saying they love it. I was self-conscious. It’s an hour of your time — are you guys going to get bored? People were just riveted. They were like, “It’s making my workout go by so fast. It’s making my car ride go so fast.” So I’m just astounded by what’s going on now. Astounded. And now we’ve ripped this band-aid. We are going all the way. We’re taking down those men. We are going straight to the top. I’m absolutely positive. Now that the rocket ship has launched, I can keep it in the air. We are going all the way.

Stream Just B with Bethenny Frankel





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