Bethenny Frankel Calls Out People Who Use Filters


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Jan 24, 2024

Bethenny Frankel Calls Out People Who Use Filters

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Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and TV star Bethenny Frankel is known for keeping it real. Even still, you may be surprised to hear her hot take on why we should all stop using social media filters.

If there's one thing Bethenny Frankel is known for, it's her ability to tell it like it is. From being called the "Greek Chorus" during her time on The Real Housewives of New York City to her appearances on Shark Tank and her podcasts (her latest: ReWives with Bethenny Frankel), she has always been brutally honest. More recently, she's used this superpower as a beauty influencer. This past spring, Frankel, 52, started posting unfiltered beauty reviews. Telling her almost three million followers that certain products are a "no" or a "scam" is a rare service in a sea of sponsored posts. The fact that she does this without applying a filter or using any other image-manipulating maneuvers is an even rarer choice—as is her cutting-edge new campaign with Laura Geller (more on that later!).

Some of Frankel's posts include the "no filter" hashtag, but not all. When pressed on whether her content is or has ever been filtered (maybe just the subtle brightening and blurring effect of the Paris filter?), she is adamant: "No. I have never filtered." To Frankel, applying a filter or using Facetune—an app that allows users to lift brows, smooth skin, straighten noses, whiten teeth, change eye colors, slim down, and more—is not okay. "It's desperate, it's destructive, and it's rampant," she says. When she scrolls through her feed, she says it seems like no one looks like themselves anymore. "I’ve spoken out about the K's [Frankel's abbreviation for the Kardashians]," she says, then goes on to note that some celebs don't seem to get called out as much. "Certain celebs say, ‘I look this way because I don't drink and I sleep a lot.’ People are lying. See a celebrity or a [Real] Housewife in person versus their social media and [the difference] is staggering." The most worrisome and dishonest part for Frankel is when the images are imperceptibly altered. "The super subtle tweak where someone looks really natural is more annoying. You’re thinking, Wait a second—she has no makeup on and she looks perfect. Ugh, why don't I look like that?"

That said, Frankel isn't speaking out about fake images to be self-serving: "[These images] don't impact me negatively at all. But they’re not the influence I want on my child or on other children. We have to unfollow—the wrong people are the biggest influencers in this country."

Frankel's passion in this area is one of the reasons she has partnered with Laura Geller Beauty on its latest campaign. The makeup brand, known for celebrating and making products for mature skin, reached out to her with a unique proposition: Would Frankel allow a makeup-free selfie to be "reverse photoshopped" so she’d look older, and post about it on Instagram?

The manipulated photo is an attention-grabbing way to show just how fake images on social media can be. Along with that, it's pushing the envelope and encouraging us all to embrace reality and accept images that aren't filtered to perfection. "You don't see any age representation out there anymore because everybody's chasing youth," Frankel says. "As [supermodel] Paulina Porizkova said, you’re not seeing any aging between J.Lo and Betty White."

Frankel says that while she's not at all vain and takes ownership of the way she looks—"We’re aging! It is what it is"—she does "like to look good once in a while."

Her daily routine focuses on healthy skin: "I would rather feel like my face is clean and hydrated and fresh. In the middle of the day, I wipe my face and spray it with a toner and then apply a good hydrator. And then if I’m going to do something small or go to a lunch or something, I apply concealer," she says, adding that the Laura Geller Powder Foundation is good because "it's not full-fledged makeup, but you’re getting some coverage." (While you’re shopping: The brand's Party in a Palette is one of Oprah's Favorite Things this year.)

For those who question whether Frankel's use of makeup goes against her call for transparency, she says that there's a big difference between the two. "Makeup is realistic and truthful. Filtering is lying. You can tell when someone's wearing makeup. You cannot always tell when they’ve distorted themselves."

Frankel feels the same way about skin treatments and plastic surgery. "I do get Botox, although not that often. I’ve tried filler in the past, but I don't do it now. Plastic surgery I will do, and I want to do it before there's a lot to alter and it's drastic." But no matter what, she confirms, "I’ll be honest about it."

Kate Sandoval Box (she/her) is the Beauty Director at Oprah Daily. She has over 18 years of experience at national women's media brands; and, in fact, started her publishing career at O, The Oprah Magazine. She's also held beauty editor roles at Shape, Self, Latina, and Cosmopolitan. Kate tests hundreds and hundreds of beauty products that cross her desk each year and interviews many top experts, celebrities, and indie brand founders to bring you the best in beauty. Follow her on Instagram.

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