At this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Bethenny Frankel, the loud-mouthed token "single girl" on Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York attempted to prepare stuffed peppers, but the standing-room-only crowd of women wanted stories instead. After promotional models handed out cocktails, she charmed the audience with tales of husband Jason and daughter Bryn.
Frankel first entered the public consciousness a few years back, when she was living in a studio apartment with her dog Cookie, trying to make it in the big city. Women instantly related to her. More concerned about business than the world of society, she was the snarky narrator on Real Housewives of New York, mouthing off what viewers at home were thinking.
We watched as Frankel introduced her Skinnygirl Margaritas to the world (ordering them by name at every possible moment on her reality show), wondering what would come first -- her success or a stint in rehab, caused by drinking all of those margaritas.
Frankel's Skinnygirl Margaritas did, in fact, catch on and Frankel literally became an overnight success, both in business and at home.
In the past two years, Frankel met a man, got married, had a baby, starred in a hit spin-off reality show, wrote two books, launched Skinnygirl Margaritas and went on tour to promote these whirlwind events.
In another fantastic stroke of luck or amazing business acumen, Frankel recently sold her Skinnygirl brand to Liquor Giant Fortune Brands, which owns Jim Beam Bourbon and Sauza Tequila for a rumored $120 million, making Ms. Frankel's Cinderella story complete. Girl gets the guy and the fortune. Happily ever after, right?
We all know real-life Cinderella stories rarely have completely happy endings. Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Los Angeles agency Raw Talent has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court for $112 million.
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Raw co-president Doug Wald claims that in 2008, Frankel entered into an arrangement with Raw to be represented by the agency in the pursuit of a reality-show. Wald also says he introduced Frankel to bigwigs in the liquor industry, which acted as the catalyst to Skinnygirl's success. If Raw Talent wins this lawsuit, it could wipe away Frankel's fortune.
Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, Frankel seems like she has the moxie to build and rebuild her empire. And since Bravo recently renewed her show Bethenny Ever After for a third season, we'll get to see how the drama plays out -- one week at a time.
And hell, if it doesn't work out for her, we have a place in Miami. Outlaws are everywhere in this town. So is sarcasm. And margaritas. She'd fit right in.