Yes, admits Bethenny Frankel, that ginormous photo in Times Square that shows her in the buff has been airbrushed.
“There was a rogue boob they took out,” the “Real Housewives of New York City” star told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Tuesday in New York of the photo, which was taken when she was pregnant. “It’s a little airbrushed, but the truth is, here it is. I don’t care.”
The bare facts
TODAY showed the original photo, which Frankel had released to USMagazine.com, side by side with the finished ad. The full-body profile is taken from her left side, with Frankel’s arm covering her chest. In the original, the lower curve of her breast shows under her arm; that was taken out. The photo editors also removed tan lines on Frankel’s hip and derriere.
Frankel did the nude ad for a PETA campaign against wearing furs. “It’s a great cause,” she told Lauer. “It’s a good reason to get naked. There are other reasons, many reasons, but that’s a great reason to be naked.”
She brushed off those who criticized her for allowing the photos to be airbrushed.
“It wasn’t like I was posing for a fitness video or I was trying to be a model. It was about not wearing fur, which I’m really passionate about,” said Frankel, who wore a short, form-fitting dress that showed off every curve — including her four-month baby bump. (She’s due to give birth to her first child, with fiance Jason Hoppy, in June.)
Housewife no more?
Frankel first entered the public spotlight in 2005 when she was the first runner-up on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.” Off that performance, the producers of “The Real Housewives of New York City” picked her up for that show’s inaugural season three years ago. With the third season just wrapped up, she’s become enough of a household name to merit her own spin-off series on Bravo.
The new series, which is still in production, has prompted rumors that Frankel might not return for a fourth season of “Housewives.” She hinted that the rumors could be true.
“Who knows if I’ll be on ‘Housewives’?” she told Lauer. “This season is so incredible, it’s nice to leave the part at full-tilt.”
At 39, Frankel’s life couldn’t be more full. In addition to her television shows, the PETA ad, her engagement and her pregnancy, she is also publicizing her second cookbook, "The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life."
She and Hoppy have been dating for just over a year. She said they have not planned a wedding date, concentrating instead on their upcoming delivery from the stork. Frankel said that people might have to change how they view her once she becomes a mom.
“I think people think I’m a little abrasive,” she told Lauer. “It’s going to be hard for people to imagine me being soft and cuddly with a little, cute pink baby.”
Her cookbook is a sequel to “Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting,” which was published this year and spent 18 weeks on The New York Times Best-Sellers list.
When she was in her 20s, Frankel said, she was some 20 pounds heavier than she is now. After years of dieting, she changed the way she ate and gave up dieting, leading to her first book. The new book consists of recipes she uses herself and shows others how to cook the same foods they love, but to lower the calories with a few simple substitutions of ingredients.
“I don’t believe in fat-free. I don’t believe in that gluey taste,” she told Lauer. “I hate that.”