Bethenny Frankel reveals how much money she made her first season of 'Housewives'

Bethenny Frankel
Photo by Noam Galai

Don't let her glitz and glam fool you: Reality TV star and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel made a surprisingly small amount of money for the first season of Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York City."

"I made $7,250 for the entire season," she told PeopleStyle, while giving the publication a glimpse inside her now very impressive closet. Season one had seven episodes, plus a reunion, and aired in 2008.

During the interview, Frankel also plucked out a black, bedazzled dress from her closet. She explains to PeopleStyle that it was the first expensive outfit she ever bought.

"I couldn't afford it … I mean I got a discount, but this is Marc Jacobs, I cannot get rid of it," Frankel tells PeopleStyle. "I bought it at Scoop in Miami and I wore it to the season one 'Housewives' premiere party," she says. "I live for it."

Bethenny Frankel wearing the Marc Jacobs dress at a party for Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City," on March 3, 2008.
Amy Sussman | Getty Images

During the wardrobe tour, Frankel also pointed out a Cartier watch, sharing the sentimental story behind it. Years ago, after making some money from opening a pashmina business, Frankel treated herself to the expensive bling. When the business went belly-up, though, she says she went broke and had to sell the accessory.

"I recently bought it back cause it just represented the fact that I could buy it back," Frankel tells PeopleStyle.

Frankel wearing the Cartier watch

Indeed, Frankel has come a long way from that skimpy salary. In 2016, she made $8.5 million, according to Forbes. She is the founder and CEO of Skinnygirl and sold Skinnygirl Cocktails, a line of diet cocktail mixers, in March 2011 for a reported $100 million. She has added to that payday with a number of Housewives spin-off shows and several books, and Frankel is a guest investor on season 9 of ABC's "Shark Tank."

Frankel also has a budding real estate career. In December, she purchased a second home in the Hamptons worth $2.5 million, telling the New York Post she plans to use it as an "investment property." Frankel also scored a new show on Bravo that will focus on buying and designing multimillion-dollar city estates with Fredrik Eklund, star of the network's "Million Dollar Listing: New York," according to People. The show, "Bethenny & Fredrik," is scheduled to premiere Feb. 6.

Bethenny Frankel: The skinny on Skinnygirl
The skinny on Skinnygirl

So with all that success, what's Frankel's advice?

"I hit a lot of roadblocks, but I was a dog on a bone. You'll never get that same drive and spirit than the beginning when you have nothing and you know you have a good idea," the entrepreneur tells CNBC Make It.

"Just be on the road and know that you're moving forward because you never know what's going to happen, so you have to keep your eyes open and be productive and be proactive."

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Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns Bravo, and CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."