Bethenny Frankel Says Late Boyfriend Dennis Shields Would Have Been 'Cheering Her On' at HSN Debut
Bethenny Frankel is crossing another major milestone off her list. The entrepreneur is launching her line of Skinnygirl Jeans on HSN Thursday night, but the experience is bittersweet for the star as she’s missing one very special person by her side: her late boyfriend, Dennis Shields.
“He would probably come with me and he would’ve been sitting behind the scenes, looking at the computer, seeing how much we were selling and cheering me on and telling me how great I was doing,” Frankel tells PEOPLE hours before she’s set to appear on the shopping network. “He always paints a better picture of myself than the real picture.”
On August 10, Shields, 51, was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment and nearly three months later, Frankel is still mourning the loss. “There are good days and bad days,” she says.
Frankel has immersed herself in work, expanding the reach of her denim line and helping victims of Hurricane Florence, which ravaged North Carolina through her organization, B Strong, which she says can be “disorienting” at times.
“It’s been a little bit disorienting and a little bit overwhelming to go from healing and grieving to be right into the busiest I’ve really ever been,” she says about her hectic schedule. “I don’t want to be jaded, I’m obviously grateful and people would die to have the opportunity to go on HSN just once so I’m lucky, and I know that, but I get tired but I just do the best that I can.”
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In addition to being her cheerleader during her appearance (which airs at 10 p.m. ET tonight) Frankel says that Shields would’ve wanted to make a trip out of her appearance at HSN headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“He would’ve wanted to take Bryn [Frankel’s daughter] to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to go on the roller coasters,” Frankel says. “We would’ve all gone to HSN and had a great time, had a good dinner there and then we would’ve gone on a roller coasters because he always had to make everything into something fun.”
Frankel has appeared on QVC in the past, but today marks her first time on HSN and is looking forward to being able to communicate with her customers all the great design qualities of her line, which includes denim, shirts and jackets with sizes ranging from 24-34 and 14W-24W.
“The comfort [of the jean] is really the most important thing to me because I’m a person who spends most of my life in pajamas, so comfort is number one,” she says. “I don’t care how good something looks, if it’s not comfortable you’re not going to want to wear it.”
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Ever since launching Skinnygirl Jeans in January, she’s barely been able to keep them in stock. “It’s sold out so many times so it’s been great in the silver lining, but it’s also a dark cloud because I want to please everyone and I want everyone to get the jeans right away and so people have had to wait a little bit longer because they’ve sold out.”
But she has a very eager assistant to help her with the manufacturing process, her 8-year-old daughter Bryn Hoppy.
“I took her to a jean warehouse so she understands how they’re made,” Frankel shares. “She’s really into art, so she liked that process of the acid wash and the tie-dye and [learning] how you can get the glitter on the jeans.”
“When she sees me lay out outfits in the closet, she’s always asking me, ‘Mommy can I put together an outfit for you?’ and she’ll say ‘What about me? I want it in my size!’ So we’re working on them in her size too.
So is a children’s line next for Frankel? “I don’t know – it’s been an inspiration for sure, but my business model is to do one thing really well, so I’m no expert, this is the first time I’ve ever been in denim, so I hope it does really well and we’ll take it from there.”
You can catch Frankel on HSN at 10 p.m. ET on October 4.