‘Real Housewives’ Star Helps Build Water Wells In Haiti

Kelly Bensimon on her charity work with Generosity Water: ‘It’s not about being a celebrity, it’s about being a human being’

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with Kelly Bensimon, former model and star of Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City”, about her involvement with Generosity Water, an organization that works to provide clean water to people in developing countries. Bensimon recently returned from a trip with Generosity Water to Haiti.

Generosity Water’s goal is to set up wells in villages that are protected from contaminants and organize water committees to distribute and protect this water. So far the organization has installed 131 wells worldwide.

Bensimon, a Rockford, Ill., native, has two daughters with her ex-husband, fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon.

Interviewed By: Brittany Fuerstenberg

Q: Can you explain to us the goal of Generosity Water?

Bensimon: The goal of Generosity Water is simply to bring water to countries in need.

Q: You just returned from Haiti with Generosity Water. Did you have any memorable experiences while you were there that you’d like to share with us?

Bensimon: It was really unbelievable. One of the most important things that we have to remember when we visit a place like Haiti is that [in their] hierarchy of need, water is at the top. Close to 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water worldwide, and 3.5 million people die from water related illnesses every year. So basically, [if] you want to be a humanitarian and a build a hospital, you can’t [just] build a hospital if you’re not stopping the reason people are being [sent] there, like for water-related illnesses.

But, one thing that really struck me was that in Haiti the government donated this plot of land, Canara, and they said, “listen, you know your homes have been devastated so we’re going to offer this land to you,” but there was one problem: there was no water.

The wells in Haiti are more expensive than they are in other places because you have to dig deeper. The actual wells that are built in Haiti are $6,000 versus the normal $3,000. The most important thing to remember is people can survive weeks without food; they can only survive three days without water. When I saw young girls, 10-year-olds, walking around with 40 pounds of water on their heads that I couldn’t even carry, and they weren’t in school, I thought to myself: “No. You go to school. I’ll take care of your water.”

Q: Especially as a mother yourself, that must’ve been something that really stuck with you.

Bensimon: As a mother, I was so upset by the process. I just couldn’t believe it. So, basically what I did was I enlisted my Twitter followers to support me, and I matched them, and I had my friends match me [with donations.] So it was just an amazing opportunity for everyone from my friends to the fans who love “Real Housewives.” They’ve been incredibly supportive and generous. I am so grateful for that. That was really impressive.

Q: Are there other charities you’re involved with?

Bensimon: There are so many other charities I’m involved in. I work with Feeding America. I donated some proceeds of a special charity airing last year. I also do work with the Museum of Modern Art, and I also work with Hale House.

Q. Why do you think it’s important for celebrities to be involved with charity work?

Bensimon: I think it’s not about being a celebrity; it’s about being a human being. It is interesting to see that the world is really small. That is one reason why I was able to make even more of an impact [because] I spoke the language. I [speak] French. So, I was able to go to the orphanages and to schools and speak to kids. Actually, I was able to go into the hospitals and communicate to the people there, be it doctors, nurses, whoever, because I spoke the language.

The world is really small and knowing a second language is really important. There were just so many layers to this trip. But, obviously bringing water to the world was one of the most important things.

Q: What are some upcoming projects that you are working on?

Bensimon: Right now I’m really focusing on Generosity Water. I want to help them raise as much money as I can. Also, I spoke to my older daughter, who’s 12, and I said maybe for her birthday and my birthday, because they’re both in May, that we would maybe [go to an orphanage I went to], and work on raising some funds. And go down there and actually clean up an orphanage. Not [by] bringing them things they can’t have, but just [by] making their lives a little better. So I am trying to enlist my kids to be supportive of the world as well, [because] they’re at that age.

Q. Now, is there anything that you would like to add?

Bensimon: I am just grateful for the opportunity. I am grateful to Bravo for allowing me the ability to have a voice and to be a public figure where I can actually make an impact, and make someone else’s life a little bit better. It is really an honor.

Posted on April 28, 2011 by , under HOME

Does Kelly Killoren Bensimon Flirt with Intention?

Posted on April 26, 2011 by , under HOME

New York Post – ‘Housewife’ Bensimon Getting Ink On Her Hands

KEITH J. KELLY

April 22, 2011

Killoren Bensimon, now in her fourth season on “Real Housewives of New York City,” is going to return to her roots in the publishing world with a weekly column in amNew York, the freebie newspaper.

“It will be a little bit of everything,” said SoHo resident Bensimon, “fashion, food, accessories, restaurants, sports, the arts.”

When she was married to former Hachette Filipacchi Creative Director Gilles Bensimon, she was the editor of now-defunct Elle Accessories. Bensimon said she got her start as a $100-a-week writer for Hamptons Magazine and was one of the people working on Gotham in the early days. “This is my first love,” she said of the writing world.

She and her ex must have stayed on pretty good terms as he shot her nude pictorial in the March Playboy.

The column starts May 5, a few days before celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan also begins a weekly column for the paper, chronicling the social events of the city.

They were both hired by publisher Paul Turcotte, rather than the editor. For the past year, he’s been trying to rebuild the battered ad base of the paper, owned by Newsday parent company Cablevision.

Posted on April 26, 2011 by , under HOME

Come Join Me At TAO Las Vegas For My Birthday Bash!

Posted on April 26, 2011 by , under HOME

Earth Week

Doing my part for Earth Week at Central Park in New York. What about you?

Posted on April 20, 2011 by , under HOME

Secrets And Tips From Kelly Killoren Bensimon’s Hairstylist

Top celebrity hairstylist Bradley Irion tells us the secrets to Kelly Killoren Bensimon’s beachy waves!

Bradley Irion has been working with Kelly Killoren Bensimon for years, and she’s now one of his best friends! He says she’s a “wonderful, generous person– if you have the opportunity to be a friend of hers, you’ll have a friend for life.” Because Kelly has such a crazy schedule, he often travels with her, and he’ll even make an appearance or two on this season of The Real Housewives of New York! But Bradley is quick to say he doesn’t want to steal the spotlight: “The show’s not about me– I’m there for her if she needs me to be there, but I’m fine if I’m not.” He likes all of the housewives he’s met, saying, “The ladies are all great. I know she fights with them sometimes, but that’s because they’re in that job together.”

STYLE

When Bradley first met Kelly, her hair was shorter, smoother, and darker. He said to her, “You’re so beautiful– you shouldn’t look like a real housewife. You need to be hot and sexy all the time!” He envisioned her hair as a darker, warm gold version of Gisele’s beachy style. “It’s done, but it looks like maybe she could have slept in it, too.” He wanted to have Kelly’s hair better reflect her personality, and he’s succeeded! “She’s a fun, sexy woman. When you look at her now, she looks beautiful and radiant.”

COLOR

Bradley lightened Kelly’s color when he started working with her, which added to the beachy look. He says that “her hair lightens up naturally because she’s often out in the sun.” Bradley took inspiration from this and chose natural highlights: “a darker root that fades into lighter ends is nice for her.” (He says this type of highlight is also great for people who want to save money on highlights, or who aren’t ready to commit, since you don’t have to get them touched up as often.)

TRY THE LOOK YOURSELF
To get Kelly’s gorgeous tousled waves, Bradley does the following:

-Apply Oribe Creme for Style to damp hair.

-Spray Oribe Volumista onto hair for body. Flip your hair upside down and blow it dry, smoothing the top with a Mason Pearson brush. But be gentle: “If you do too much of a heavy duty blowout on hair, you can kill the natural texture. Sometimes people get their hair so straight that they can’t get curl back into it. You need a little texture for volume.” (This applies for straight or wavy hair. For curly hair, you will need to blow it straight enough to get rid of the natural curl.)

-Using a 1.5-inch curling iron, curl a 1.5-2-inch section of hair, beginning mid-shaft: this is the part that is hardest to curl, so you want it exposed to the heat the longest. (Plus, it saves your ends from further damage– they curl the easiest and are already damaged, so it’s better to curl them last.)

-Drop the curl out into your hand and pull it gently to straighten slightly; this will give it an irregular wave.

-Continue throughout hair.

Posted on April 13, 2011 by , under HOME

Spring Fever

Tie your leather belt to accentuate your curves. Its an easy alternative and cheap. Linea Pelle leather low waist belt Alice + Olivia camp jumpsuit KJ Sandals .

Posted on April 12, 2011 by , under HOME

9th Annual TV Land Awards

TV personalities Kelly Killoren BensimonLuAnn de Lesseps, Alex McCord, Cindy Barshop, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan and Jill Zarin spoke onstage at the 9th Annual TV Land Awards at the Javits Center on April 10, 2011 in New York City.

Posted on April 12, 2011 by , under HOME

E! News

Watch my interview with Giuliana Rancic on E! News.

View video

Posted on April 7, 2011 by , under HOME

Nate Burkus Show – Kelly Bensimon’s New York

“Real Housewife” Kelly Bensimon takes you for a tour of her neighborhood and her favorite haunts.

Posted on April 7, 2011 by , under HOME

pagetop

  • Subscribe to Newsletter


  • Feature Video

  • Twitter

  • Follow Me

  • “I Can Make You Hot” Buy Now

  • Open Sky

  • Feeding America

  • Generosity Water

  • ARCHIVES