Congrats to Gilles Bensimon, on his flower photography exhibition in Paris today!
Congrats to Gilles Bensimon, on his flower photography exhibition in Paris today!
Kelly Killoren Bensimon turns her engagement ring into something that can be passed down to her daughters.
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.
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.
I will never forget the inception of Bridgehampton Polo. Neil Hirsch and Peter Brant decided to bring polo to the Hamptons, and Mercedes Benz was going to be the underwriting sponsor. It was a rainy day, but these polo playing, financial wizards knew they could bring the incredible sport to the Hamptons. I held my first charity event there for Hale House. At the time the charity was committed to helping infants afflicted with HIV. Dennis Hopper, Stephanie Seymour, Peter Brant, Gilles Bensimon, Neil Hirsch, Julian Schnabel and I, all went to the rainy polo field and auctioned off autographed jeans while Neil and Peter and their pro polo players played polo.
Today, the polo matches are not only fun to watch, the tent is know for its huge party scene. For me, polo is about the altheticism of the horse and the agility of the rider. And, if you can help a charity by using the sport as a vehicle, go for it. It’s fun to be apart of the process, by coming out to stomp the divots. My girls love that.
What Is Polo?
A polo match lasts about 2 hours and is divided into 6 timed periods called chukkers. The object of the game is to hit the ball down the field and through the goal posts to score. During half time, spectators go onto the field in a social tradition called divot stomping.
Saturday February 13, 2010
My first show for fashion week was actually a presentation for Alice and Olivia designer Stacey Bendet. This was the first presentation which had a step and repeat, which I thought was clever. why not show off all the celebs who are wearing the amazing clothes. why not? A front row picture shows nothing ever. I thought it was brilliant and it got a lot of attention. I was not only observing the clothes, but also I was covering the event for US weekly. I got to interview Stacey Bendet, the designer who is know for her pants, but makes killer dresses, Kelly Osbourne who has great sense of style and beautiful skin, Ana Ortiz from Ugly Betty who is as funny as she is pretty, Matthew Settle of Gossip Girls who will now be in Chicago on Broadway, and Ric Pipino who is a celebrity hair stylist and who has an amazing new product line out called Revolution in Cut, I love the hair mask. Just as I was leaving for another event, Mickey Avalon came out singing. his rocker attitude and notoriously fun song, “my.. is bigger than your…” among other great lyrics bolted out of Avalons mouth in the prettiest club in New York City,Provacateur.
I then made my way over to the Bryant Park tents to see Rachel Zoe present her line on QVC. The QVC party was packed with the likes of Kelly Rutherford, and a sea of girls from MTV’s The City, especially my good friend Roxy Orlin. Roxy and I then went to the UGLY BETTY/ELLE party at Capitale and listened to great rappers while I said hello to my friends at JOONBUG who hosted the Halloween party and the New Year’s party for me in New York. We all then went to L’Esquina where I drank beers an ate my favorite taquitos.
Sunday February 14, 2010
Happy Valentine’s Day
This is actually the first Valentine’s Day I have spent without my girls who are in Aspen on a ski trip with my parents. I miss my girls!!!!
Day 2: Back to Bryant Park for Mercedes Benz fashion week, I went to see LucaLuca show. I love Luca Orlandi not only because he’s a great designer, but also because we went to Columbia University together. I was in the General Studies program and he was in the Business School. His collection exudes ultra femininity and Old World glamour. I love watching his wearable collection that speaks to everywoman’s curves.
I then went over to Milk studios to they are hosting a bevy of new designers at the MAC and MILK Sunday brunch by the Suf Lodge. I walked in and stood right next to super chef, Sam Talbot. He looked up after cutting into a piece of foccacia and I nearly scared the life out of him for I was just standing there. He offered me a plate of polenta with chicken and cherry tomatoes dancing in olive oil and garlic. I stood next to him while he shuffled food back and forth to all the guests. Sam’s food , btw, is off the food charts. His fish tacos, flank steak, hamburgers, and fried chicken are beyond heavenly. He once made me a Caesar salad and now I can’t eat any other Caesar. Its’ just that good. Sam’s good friend and visionary behind GOOD UNITS, the Surf Lodge, and GOLD bar is genius Rob McKinley, who is also an awesome dj in his spare time. After feasting on Sam’s delicious food, I went to say hi to Rob, rock out, and feast my eyes on the beautiful sites of the WEST SIDE Hwy.
I stopped at Starbucks, got a venti soy chai latte, went home to change, and get my hair curled by my best friend and brilliant hairdresser, Bradley Irion and have my makeup done by Quinn Murphy who paints famous faces like Mariah Carey and Karolina Karakova. I am so lucky to have such amazing and talented people to make it beautiful. I could pinch myself. I then put my on DVF white jean dress, my Leg Avenue tights, and went to the “tents.” At the DVF show, I went to my seat and walked straight past my ex husband, Gilles Bensimon. “Keep being Kiki,” he said as I went to my seat to next to another famous photographer Ellen von Unworth who has shot the Guess campaign and many other famous campaigns and major fashion magazines. I then got ready to do my back stage interviews for USWEEKLY when I ran into Bravo’s own Andy Cohen and Rachel Zoe. I complimented Ms von Furstenberg on her amazing collection which bridged menswear and womenswear. After the show, I raced to ROCK of AGES to watch AMERICAN IDOL, a TONY nominee Constantine Maroulis. The show was one of the most dynamic shows I have seen in a long time. Waiters were offering beers, and the actors were singing music from the 80s that made everyone want to get up and dance or sing along.
Happy VALENTINES DAY. Everyone deserves to be loved.