Bethenny Frankel's BStrong initiative is working to get much-needed supplies to healthcare workers. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
April 4 (UPI) -- Real Housewives of New York alum Bethenny Frankel is making excellent use of her time while social-distancing at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to guiding her 9-year-old daughter Bryn through the world of remote learning, she is also working with her disaster-relief initiative, BStrong, to get much-needed supplies into the hands of healthcare workers.
"I'm good at creating structure," Frankel told UPI in a phone interview about her new normal.
"I'm good in a relief crisis. This is the magnitude of which I've never seen before because it is the whole world and the entire country. You've kind of just got to take it one bite at a time. "
Frankel's initiative links donors to workers, agencies and facilities in desperate need of masks, hazmat suits, gloves and other protective gear.
"We are helping to get sourcing and allocating and delivering and distributing aid for healthcare workers who are risking their lives to save ours," Frankel said.
She said transparency is important to her and she works to show those who donate to the effort how their money helps people and doesn't get swallowed up into the black hole of bureaucracy. This way, donors feel connected to those who are receiving the aid and are more invested in what happens to them, too.
Frankel estimates it will cost about $100 million to fulfill the requests she is getting.
Billy Joel, Lily Collins, Amy Schumer and Shaun White are among those who have written checks for the cause, but she said even people who don't have a lot of money can help out by using social media to raise awareness about BStrong and encouraging wealthy celebrities to open their wallets.
"We don't have $20 million just sitting around, waiting to order things that will save people's lives, so we have to be ready to go," Frankel said. "It's a very complicated process. There is gouging, there is corruption, there is interception from governments. There is stealing, there is hoarding. It is crazy time in the world."
When she is not working on behalf of BStrong, Frankel is focused on her daughter's education.
Frankel takes this seriously and sees the at-home learning required now that schools are closed as an opportunity for kids to learn how to balance assignments and free time.
"It teaches them how to use their time efficiently and wisely, I think, if done right," she said.
Maintaining a sense of normalcy for herself is also important. particularly when it comes to getting enough sleep and eating properly.
"I am very creative and I use my freezer. And I always cook and I always make healthy meals for myself and my daughter," she said, adding she doesn't deprive herself of treats like desserts, French fries and alcohol.
Her daily beauty routine "does not exist" outside of washing her face, brushing her teeth and bathing, she said.
"But I don't really care. That's who I am. I am a homebody 99 percent of the time. And I never wear makeup or do my hair unless I am being paid to do so or it's really something very important," she said. "It's a pretty 'pajama-and-no-makeup' lifestyle over here."
Once the coronavirus crisis is over, Frankel will host The Big Shot with Bethenny, a business competition show for HBO Max in which contestants compete for a job on the Skinnygirl founder's executive team.
Casting and information on how to apply to be on the show will be announced in the coming weeks.
By then, TV viewers will be ready for an inspirational and goal-oriented show like Big Shot, Frankel said.
Rising unemployment numbers and seismic shifts in various industries mean the world will need more unconventional entrepreneurs like herself, she said.
And she is willing to show others how to succeed.
"They're going to see how the sausage gets made and how they, too, can make it happen for themselves," she said. "I think it will be a wonderful, welcome show that actually adds something to the world aside from just escapism and entertainment and I am ready for that sort of television."
The project marks a major departure from her days on the glamorous, gossipy reality series RHONY.
"It's an interesting time for me to have left my former show because I don't think that represents who I am right now or anymore. I don't think it represents my future," she said. "It's not a reflection of all the values that are important to me."
Donations to the BStrong initiative may be made at http://bethenny.com/bstrong.