With a decade of reality television-making between them, Bethenny Frankel, the spirited TV personality, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and Maty Buss, a prolific TV producer, reflect on success, transformtion and the joy of living in flip-flops.
A lot has changed for Frankel and Buss, but they still love spending time together in the Hamptons.
MATY BUSS: It’s crazy to think we’ve been friends for almost a decade.
BETHENNY FRANKEL: You literally met me before I had money.
MB: [Laughs] I was producing Real Housewives of New York City and you were in an apartment the size of a coffee table. We had the best times there. Then I co-executive produced your spinoffs Bethenny Getting Married and Bethenny Ever After. That was the show that really brought us close.
BF: You saw me walk down the aisle. You were on my honeymoon. You were there when my daughter was born.
MB: I held Bryn when she had wires attached to her! A lot of moments I haven’t gone through with even my own family members I’ve gone through with you. You’re probably one of the few people that is the same on camera as you are off camera.
BF: Anyone who has ever met me knows I’m the exact same. I’m not easy in real life, and I’m not easy on the shows.
MB: You ask me for advice when it comes to both TV and business, but you ultimately always make the right decision.
BF: I don’t have some grand plan. I’m not like, ‘I’m going to take over the world and I’m going to be the first woman who does X, or I need to have this in my bank account.’ What’s weird is that I’m a major planner but I’m not like that about my career. I do what I love. I’m always five steps ahead of what’s going on, but I execute the visions that I love.
MB: You just got back from Guatemala. Why is philanthropy so important to you?
BF: I do it for the people who feel… lost. I want them to get the moments they deserve. Each disaster is different, but I guess you have to be a little ballsy to go to Guatemala before Vice President Pence. Guatemala does have stores, but there were still people in shelters, and we brought them blankets and medicine. People forget about the kids who don’t understand what’s going on.
MB: Do you have a goal with your B Strong relief program?
BF: It’s the same way I am with business. I did not expect this to happen. I didn’t know that I would raise $350,000 in three days. With Puerto Rico, I got in so deep that it was hard to get out. [It’s] an island and you couldn’t just get things there, so we had to spend a lot of money on cargo ships, transportation and planes. All I cared about and all I talked about was Puerto Rico. I didn’t talk to anyone who didn’t have planes or money to donate.
Frankel in Puerto Rico providing relief efforts with her program, B Strong.
MB: Looking back, your life in the Hamptons was so different at the beginning of your career.
BF: I was cooking for hundreds of people at events for free just to get a third of a page in a magazine. It was the hustle. I’d go to Polo, which I hated because [I was] just schmoozing the whole time. I remember it was hard because friends wouldn’t really let you stay at their houses. They had these rules and wouldn’t invite you out anywhere cool. I wasn’t anyone and I didn’t add value socially, which is what it can be like out here, to be honest.
MB: Which is why we hang out.
BF: Right. My house here in the Hamptons has been the most incredible project. It started as a place where I could take my daughter on the weekends during this negative time [my divorce], and I just became addicted to making it better.
MB: You and I are big Montauk girls. We used to go to Navy Beach and Crow’s Nest quite a bit. Remember that?
BF: I do. I think that’s where we’re happiest because we’re laid-back wearing baseball caps, shorts and flip-flops. It’s very us.
MB: A lot of people say that you don’t have a lot of friends and I say, ‘You’re right, she doesn’t.’
BF: It’s true. I invite the same 25 people to every party. It’s not like I have this glamorous life.
MB: But that’s kind of what I love about it.
Photography by: BETHENNY & MATY PHOTO BY WESTON WELLS, HAIR BY STACEY WEINSTEIN, MAKEUP BY TODD DELANO; BETHENNY PHOTOS COURTESY OF BETHENNY FRANKEL