You may know Kelly Killoren Bensimon from The Real Housewives of New York City or from all of those paparazzi photos of the 45-year-old looking amazing in a tiny bikini on the beach. We chatted with the busy mom of two teen daughters on everything from her beauty and fitness secrets (including how to get her incredible hair), dating as a single mom and her new fragrance, In The Spirit Of.
Photo credit: WENN

The Real Housewives of New York City alum Kelly Killoren Bensimon has been busy since leaving the Bravo reality show in 2010. In addition to being a busy single mom and raising her two daughters, 16-year-old Sea Louise and 14-year-old Thaddeus Ann, she is a jewelry designer, author of the book I Can Make You Hot, and she just launched a new fragrance called In The Spirit Of, which is available at

Bensimon chatted with us about her new fragrance, inspired by her first book In The Spirit Of The Hamptons, dating as a single mom (she divorced former International Creative Director of Elle magazine Gilles Bensimon in 2007) and tips for looking good in a bikini.

10 Questions with Kelly Bensimon

You are a mom, author, jewelry designer — and now you have your own fragrance. Tell me about "In The Spirit Of." What inspired you to create it?

Kelly Bensimon: As a model, I lived in Paris and was exposed to some of the most beautiful flowers and florets in the world. I remember being mesmerized by the intimate shops decorated with flowers and permeating smells I've never smelled before. It was a gastronomic floral moment.

What do your daughters think of your fragrance?

KB: My daughters are the best critics. They love the fragrance for it has a warm smell from the musk, yet fresh because of the honeysuckle and spicy carnation. They say it smells like beaches in Biarritz.

Kelly Bensimon and daughters Sea and Thaddeus
Photo credit: Leslie Kennedy

Your daughters (Sea Louise and Thaddeus Ann) have such cool and unique names. What is the story behind their names?

KB: Sea Louise was inspired by my pseudo grandmother, Louise, who was wonderful to me. I used to spend a lot of time at the zoo while I was pregnant, and I loved how poetic the sea lions were and in love with the sun and the water. So I named my daughter Sea Louise, but it's really Sea Lion. Thaddeus Ann, or Teddy as we call her, was named after Thaddeus — meaning from the heart of one of the 12 Apostles. I honestly thought she was going to be a boy and I had a lot of problems with my pregnancy with her. When she was born and was healthy, I held her and squeezed her like my little "teddy bear." Teddy is definitely "god's gift."

Do you still keep in touch with anyone from The Real Housewives of NYC?

KB: Jill Zarin sent me a sweet birthday card, and I saw Bethenny [Frankel] who introduced me to her new boyfriend in Aspen. Luann and I are very good friends.

Kelly Bensimon hairI love your hair! What is your secret to your perfectly tousled waves — and we need details. What products do you use?

KB: Bradley Irion is the hairstylist who has created these locks. He only colors the roots with Redken 7NN or 6NN. He uses Leave in 10, and Oribe mousse and Dry texturizing spray. I love Tresemme conditioner. He uses a big barrel to curl my hair. He's a god, and my best friend. Even my daughter wants him to do her hair for her Sweet 16.

Photo credit: WENN

What is your skin care secret? You don't age. How do you keep your skin in tip-top shape?

KB: Someone just said that to me. That's such a compliment. I love Creme de la Mer moisturizing soft cream and also MAC moisture cream.

What advice would you give to single moms who are also back in the dating field?

KB: I'd advise women to put their kids first. I only want to know those who have respect for me and my girls. It was really hard during filming RHONY, I took three years off from dating for I kept meeting Mr. Wrong. It's not easy looking for Mr. Right in a city of mistakes. Put your kids first, and make sure the men you date have the two hobby rule. If they don't have something they are passionate about, like golf, tennis, fishing, then it's not good. Same goes for women. Get interested. Look for men with talent and who respect themselves.

How are you handling raising two teen daughters? What is your favorite way to bond with them?

KB: It's always been me and the girls, so I don't know anything different. We love to do everything together, and I'm happy that their friends always want to come and be with us. I love listening to them play piano, running with them on the beach, helping them with essays and riding with them. I love what they love. They have brought so much joy into my life. My youngest told me the other day that she's going to give my older daughter a Happy Mother's Day card for she's been so good to her. I almost died. They are beautiful girls inside and out.

Since you are spilling secrets, you always look amazing in a bikini. Moms everywhere want to know — what is your secret?

KB: Squats. When I don't have time to run or go to Soul Cycle, or work out at Equinox, I use my 40-pound weight and I do 30 squats. Eating well is also a big part of it. I just ate a kale salad with my sitter for lunch. Eat well and live better.

What are you favorite pair of jeans? Any tips for moms for looking stylish on the go?

KB: I l love Calvin Rucker jeans, and Rag and Bone. My style is very All-American. I wear a lot of blazers for it looks polished. Even for my style columns in amNewYork, I always encourage women to have fun with fashion trends. It bothers me when you see women wearing fashion that is over the top. It's not their fault. There are a lot of bloggers out there with opinions and bad tips. When in doubt check out the experts like Sasha Charnin Morrison from Us Weekly. She used to work at Bazaar and is fashion royalty, or channel designers like Ralph Lauren. Stylist Debra Watson creates looks that are dreamy and aspirational for them I also like Dare to dream, and always wear high heels.

Would you like to meet Kelly Killoren Bensimon? Houston fans can meet her and smell her new fragrance, In The Spirit Of, at the Cakewalk Style Shop on Wednesday, April 30, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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