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Kelly Bensimon Is No Longer a Housewife. But She Is Getting Married.

Kelly Bensimon

Though it’s been more than a decade since Kelly Bensimon appeared on The Real Housewives of New York, most would agree that the former model and magazine editor turned real estate broker can still lay claim to the show’s most notorious contribution to pop culture: the season three episode titled “Sun, Sand, and Psychosis,” in which Bensimon—paranoid, malnourished, and at odds with her co-star Bethenny Frankel—dubbed St. John “Scary Island.” While Frankel, in the years since, has gone to war with Bravo, accusing the network of exploiting the Housewives financially and subjecting them to “grotesque and depraved mistreatment,” life has been good to Bensimon, who can be seen on TikTok prancing around New York in her running shoes and giving house tours of Manhattan’s swankiest properties. She’s also met the man of her dreams, Scott, and this summer they’re getting married at his family’s home up north. But on a rainy spring afternoon in New York last month, Bensimon had yet to find a wedding dress. So she invited Interview to join her at—where else?—Kleinfeld to try on a selection of dresses and tiaras. Along the way, we took a trip down memory lane.


JAKE NEVINS: So, Kelly. You’re getting married?

KELLY BENSIMON: I am getting married.

NEVINS: When is the wedding?

BENSIMON: The wedding is… Am I allowed to say the actual date?

NEVINS: Are you afraid of stalkers?

BENSIMON: Kind of.

NEVINS: We can redact it. But you can tell me.

BENSIMON: Okay. I am getting married on [redacted].

NEVINS: That’s my birthday.

BENSIMON: Shut up. Oh my god. Happy birthday.

NEVINS: Happy wedding. Who’s your man?

BENSIMON: He’s so great. What I love about Scott is that he’s just like, a solid guy.


BENSIMON: Super athletic, beautiful family, good person, just easy to be around. There’s no drama. He’s not trying to be on TV. He just wants to do his work and play sports and be happy. And I love that.

NEVINS: How’d you guys meet?

BENSIMON: We met at a Rangers game.


BENSIMON: I was with my youngest daughter. We were at the Rangers game and he was with his nephew and he came by to say hi. And the security guy is like, “No, no, no, you can’t talk to her.” And my daughter was like, “Mommy, he’s like, very attractive. He seems really nice. And his friend is really nice.” Later on, we found out that was his nephew. So cute, right?

NEVINS: Very cute. So you were married once before, right?


NEVINS: What’s different this time?

BENSIMON: It’s just so different. Last time, everything was very fast. My ex-husband was like, “You. Married. Now.” Like, “This is happening tomorrow.”

Kelly Bensimon

NEVINS: He wifed you up.

BENSIMON: Oh, yeah. Just full-on, “this is the wife.” I was actually Azzedine [Alaia’s] muse, I’ve known Azzedine since I was 16 years old and so he made my beautiful dresses and the dresses for the bridesmaids, which were beautiful and spectacular. And it was just so fun to go back and forth to Paris. Which was not like Paris today. Paris today is Waze, Uber.  Back then it was the metro, cobblestone streets. Everyone’s speaking French. There’s no Google Translate. It was just a totally different time and it was very much a fairytale. But this is another kind of fairytale. I mean, my girls are all grown up and they’re like, “Mommy, we want you to wear a beautiful fun dress and have the best time ever.”


BENSIMON: And because we’re getting married in my fiance’s family’s backyard, I want it to be that juxtaposition of this amazing dress and this garden party vibe. I feel like when you have small spaces, it’s good to have big things. So I thought it’d be fun to have this huge dress, total garden party. Beautiful, casual, fun.

NEVINS: That’s the vibe, Kelly.

BENSIMON: I just want it to be fun. I just want people to celebrate real love, there’s no family drama. I love his mother. His sisters are so nice. His kids are adorable. It’s just going to be good news.

NEVINS: What would you say to a young woman looking for the one?

BENSIMON: I would say focus on yourself first. I was single for so long and I kissed a lot of frogs. One of the reasons that I didn’t meet someone earlier is because I wasn’t ready to meet someone earlier. I was so focused on meeting someone that I wasn’t focused on who I was.  I was raising my girls. I was making sure that everyone was happy and healthy and safe and educated, but it had nothing to do with me. And I tell my girls, “Just be the best version of you all day long.” They’re like, “Mom, you’re divorced, but we don’t really think of ourselves as coming from a divorced family.” And that’s just because I just gave my kids love, affection, affirmation. I don’t need to argue with an ex-husband about things. I have enough going on.

Kelly Bensimon

NEVINS: Are any former Housewives coming to the wedding?

BENSIMON: I’ve invited a couple. I invited Melissa Gorga.

NEVINS: Okay….

BENSIMON: I invited Sutton, who I love.

NEVINS: We love Sutton Stracke.

BENSIMON: I love her too.

NEVINS: How’d you guys meet?

BENSIMON: Oh, I met Sutton at BravoCon.

NEVINS: And you just hit it off?

BENSIMON: We were walking backstage at BravoCon and she had on this little blue sweater with a kitty on it. And I was like, “I love that sweater.” And she’s like, “I know.” I’m like, “Oh my god. Who are you?” She’s like, “I’m Sutton. Who are you?” I’m like, “I’m Kelly.” Meanwhile, I’m in Kiki de Montparnasse strapless, thigh-high boots. And we just literally hit it off. We’ve had so much fun together. We had Easter together with our families. She’s just really a great, great person.

NEVINS: She takes a lot of heat on Beverly Hills. But she’s also kind of carrying the show.

BENSIMON: Well, because she’s fun. And she does fun stuff. She’s always like, “Let’s do this, let’s do that.” And she’s got a really good sense of humor.

NEVINS: I’m sure she’s going to wear something fabulous to the wedding.

BENSIMON: Oh, major. I hope she can come.

NEVINS: You’re friends with Melissa too?

BENSIMON: I love Melissa. I met her on the airplane to BravoCon, she and her husband. And I was like fumbling with my bag, it was an early morning flight, and her husband is the most polite human. He saw me fumbling. I don’t even think he knew that I was me. And he was like, “Can I help you?” And I’m just like, “Oh my god, who’s this nice man?” Then I saw Melissa. I’m like, “Your husband is so polite and so nice.” I mean, most people that are in the entertainment business are like, “You help me.” Not, “let me help you.” But I met so many good people. BravoCon took me to another level.

Kelly Bensimon

NEVINS: It sounds like there’s a nice sense of community in the Bravo world. Off-camera, at least.

BENSIMON: Right. I was on Housewives in the Ice Age. I was on seasons two, three, and four. That was so long ago, so I haven’t really been following. But before I went to BravoCon, I watched snippets, not full seasons, so I had a good understanding when I got there. I’m like, “Okay, that person’s funny. That person’s got a good vibe.”

NEVINS: Right. Like, “Sutton Stracke, loves Dolce & Gabbana and tiaras and vodka.”

BENSIMON: Exactly. Oh my god.

NEVINS: So you were on the iconic, early seasons of RHONY, which are probably some of the best seasons of any Housewives franchise, period. Now that it’s ballooned into this massive, self-sustaining universe, I’m curious if you’d be interested in returning. Obviously, you did the Girls Trip recently.

BENSIMON: Which was so fun.

NEVINS: But it’s a different world now. A lot more fanfare, a lot more criticism.

BENSIMON: Exactly. It is a bigger world, and it’s so much more fanfare, more than I ever even imagined. When I was on—again, in the Ice Age, or the Stone Age, whatever you want to call it—I think I was 10 pounds thinner. But one thing that was interesting about it back then is nobody knew what was going on. Bravo was such a small network at the time and no one really knew who the Housewives were. So when they asked me to be on the show, I’d just gotten divorced. I wanted something different. I just wanted to breathe in new air, whatever that was. I had no expectations. I had written books. I worked in magazines. I had young kids. I just wanted to have a good time and see where that took me. Do you know what I mean?


BENSIMON: It was the beginning of people really trying to brand themselves. But I was an editor at two magazines, so I was branding people. I wasn’t branding myself. It was kind of a disconnect for me. And I think that’s one reason why people were like, “Oh, you came off awkward. You’re mean.” I’m like, “I’m not mean. I’m super honest. I’m very genuine. If I love you, I will love you forever.” But if I see one thing about you that rubs me the wrong way, I’ll remember that. 


BENSIMON: Look. I get it. I’ve lived in New York a long time. I’ve traveled to a lot of unusual places. I’ve seen some really good, some really bad, and some really ugly. So I was kind of like, “Wait, I was supposed to be having a really good time here and all of a sudden, I’m a villain?” I’ve never been a villain in my life. They didn’t know who I was and they didn’t want to take the time.

NEVINS: Who in particular—

BENSIMON: Not all of them. Jill Zarin really took me under her wing and was very nurturing.

NEVINS: Given the time that’s passed, is any of it amusing to you now? Like Bethenny [Frankel] telling you to go to sleep?

BENSIMON: Oh, I love it. One time I did this TikTok video when I was holding my puppy, Tarzan, and I was like, “Go to sleep!” Back then, we didn’t have TikTok. We didn’t even have social media. The only thing that was available at that time was Facebook. Twitter had just started. So it’s funny that all of a sudden, through social media, I became a bit more well-known.

NEVINS: I’m curious what you think of Bethenny’s crusade against Bravo.

BENSIMON: Yeah, I mean, don’t shit where you eat. I just think that she’s not the right one for the job.


BENSIMON: She should just have fun and enjoy her life. When it comes to things that are in the legal world, she’s just not the right tool.

NEVINS: Got it. What do you think about the RHONY reboot?

BENSIMON: I love Jenna [Lyons]. She’s the cutest. And I love Ubah.


BENSIMON: I just think it’s hard. It’s not the women. It’s the fact that the viewers are expecting something else. There needs to be camaraderie. For example, when I was on Girls Trip, I didn’t know Dorinda. I met her many times socially, but I never filmed with her. And the first thing I did when I got to St. Barts is, I sat down with absolutely everybody. “What’s your story? Where are you in your life?” Because at the end of the day, we’re also working. We’re trying to figure out what the story is. I didn’t realize that they were trying to make Scary Island II. I’m like, “I’m the one that made Scary Island the first time.” I was there. I named it.

NEVINS: And it endures.

BENSIMON: I guess my point is that it’s hard for these women because they don’t really have that strong connection. It’s not about walking into a scene and having fun and blowing kisses. It’s about really getting into it. People come to New York because they want to be the best of the best in whatever industry they’re in. So everyone has a narrative. Everyone has a story. Everyone came from somewhere. That’s the common denominator, but there’s got to be more. There has to be something at stake.

NEVINS: Right.

BENSIMON: Like, what’s at stake?

NEVINS: Okay, should we try on some wedding dresses?

BENSIMON: Let’s literally get into it.