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Image: Bethenny Frankel
On the right is the PETA poster of Bethenny Frankel on display in New York’s Times Square. On the left is the original, un-retouched photo.
TODAY contributor
updated 1/8/2010 4:43:53 PM ET 2010-01-08T21:43:53

Yes, admits Bethenny Frankel, that ginormous photo in Times Square that shows her in the buff has been airbrushed.

“There was a rogue boob they took out,” the “Real Housewives of New York City” star told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Tuesday in New York of the photo, which was taken when she was pregnant. “It’s a little airbrushed, but the truth is, here it is. I don’t care.”

The bare facts
TODAY showed the original photo, which Frankel had released to USMagazine.com, side by side with the finished ad. The full-body profile is taken from her left side, with Frankel’s arm covering her chest. In the original, the lower curve of her breast shows under her arm; that was taken out. The photo editors also removed tan lines on Frankel’s hip and derriere.

Frankel did the nude ad for a PETA campaign against wearing furs. “It’s a great cause,” she told Lauer. “It’s a good reason to get naked. There are other reasons, many reasons, but that’s a great reason to be naked.”

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She brushed off those who criticized her for allowing the photos to be airbrushed.

Video: Bethenny Frankel bares all for PETA

“It wasn’t like I was posing for a fitness video or I was trying to be a model. It was about not wearing fur, which I’m really passionate about,” said Frankel, who wore a short, form-fitting dress that showed off every curve — including her four-month baby bump. (She’s due to give birth to her first child, with fiance Jason Hoppy, in June.)

Housewife no more?
Frankel first entered the public spotlight in 2005 when she was the first runner-up on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.” Off that performance, the producers of “The Real Housewives of New York City” picked her up for that show’s inaugural season three years ago. With the third season just wrapped up, she’s become enough of a household name to merit her own spin-off series on Bravo.

Video: NYC ‘Housewives’ talk new season The new series, which is still in production, has prompted rumors that Frankel might not return for a fourth season of “Housewives.” She hinted that the rumors could be true.

“Who knows if I’ll be on ‘Housewives’?” she told Lauer. “This season is so incredible, it’s nice to leave the part at full-tilt.”

Video: Web-only: Pregnant ‘Housewife’: ‘I have craving ADD’ At 39, Frankel’s life couldn’t be more full. In addition to her television shows, the PETA ad, her engagement and her pregnancy, she is also publicizing her second cookbook, "The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life."

She and Hoppy have been dating for just over a year. She said they have not planned a wedding date, concentrating instead on their upcoming delivery from the stork. Frankel said that people might have to change how they view her once she becomes a mom.

Thinking thin
“I think people think I’m a little abrasive,” she told Lauer. “It’s going to be hard for people to imagine me being soft and cuddly with a little, cute pink baby.”

Frankel with her fiance, Jason Hoppy. They are expecting their first child in June, but have not set a wedding date.
Her cookbook is a sequel to “Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting,” which was published this year and spent 18 weeks on The New York Times Best-Sellers list.

When she was in her 20s, Frankel said, she was some 20 pounds heavier than she is now. After years of dieting, she changed the way she ate and gave up dieting, leading to her first book. The new book consists of recipes she uses herself and shows others how to cook the same foods they love, but to lower the calories with a few simple substitutions of ingredients.

“I don’t believe in fat-free. I don’t believe in that gluey taste,” she told Lauer. “I hate that.”

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: ‘Real Housewife’ on skinny swaps, stripping down

  1. Closed captioning of: ‘Real Housewife’ on skinny swaps, stripping down

    >>> is "today." *

    >>> thinking of getting in shape in the new year but you can't stand the idea of leaving your favorite foods behind? well, bethenny frankel , one of the stars of bravo's reality show "the real housewives of new york city " is here to help. she's out with a brand new book, "the skinny girl dish," which turns your favorite calorie-rich foods into tastier, healthier alternatives. bethenny, nice to see you. good morning. happy holidays .

    >> you, too.

    >> were you always a skinny girl?

    >> i was not. i was trying to be skany girl, white-knuckling it, but not succeeding.

    >> were you much overweight?

    >> probably 20 to 25 pounds heavier, but white-knuckling it. there's the picture of me with the big fat hair and the big fat face .

    >> how long ago was that?

    >> i would say mid-20s.

    >> i was going to say prom photo --

    >> no, that was worse.

    >> you say there are things everyone should have in their kitchen that are important, essential tools. you have them on the table.

    >> skinny girl tools.

    >> why are they so important?

    >> i don't like to spend a lot of time and money. i am a little cheap or frugal, as we like to say it. this is an emergen blender. these are simple tools to have in your kitchen that are inexpensive that make life easier so you don't have to bring out the food processor . an ice cream scoop is good for individual portioned muffins, turkey burgers. this finally grates this without getting the calories. the immersion blender , if i were the statue of liberty , this would what i would be holding because you can make pure soups and vegetables and mix up your egg whites. it's just a great thing to have.

    >> reading the notes about your segment last night, you like to take things people love to eat, like chocolate cake and chicken wings and things like that and you come up with --

    >> a renovation.

    >> a lower calorie renovation.

    >> rescue renovation.

    >> are you telling me you can take calories out of chocolate cake ? is it still going to taste good?

    >> i call it how is it so moist chocolate cake ? i don't understand. it's evil and i don't know why. it only has two tablespoons of oil but you can't take everything out. i don't believe in that and you're dissatisfied and go for something else. i keep a little oil. it's high-quality, dark chocolate and it's good. and that's a peanut butter glaze. the whole book has substitutions. use what you have, variations. because some people can't have peanut butter or nuts or wheat flour . everything -- it has about 1,000 recipes out of 60 --

    >> and you -- sorry. i didn't mean to interrupt.

    >> it's okay.

    >> you say people should portion out their food. this is the container our takeout food arrives in.

    >> this is the container. but you know when you pay for the diet delivery services? it's not that they're lower fat, they're smaller portions. keep these containers and after thanksgiving or after a big family dinner, portion it out for yourself. have a carb, a protein and a vegetable and keep them in your freezer and for months you can have these meals.

    >> okay, can we catch up for a second? we all know you from " real housewives of new york." you were engaged, by the way. when did that happen?

    >> it happened in october.

    >> and --

    >> there's not much to plan, we're having a baby.

    >> engaged and having a baby. jason is your fiance.

    >> yes.

    >> been dating him for about a year now.

    >> little bit more, yes.

    >> and the baby is due?

    >> in june.

    >> congratulations.

    >> thank you. i'm excited.

    >> so, when you become a wife and a mother, do you think that changes your image at all, based on what people know you from "the real housewives "?

    >> i think people think i'm a little abrasive and it will be hard for people to imagine me being soft and kcuddly with a soft, pink baby.

    >> do you think that soft side?

    >> i do, and i'm sure it will soften me up more as well.

    >> what about this billboard that we've now shown 75 times this morning on our show? so, you posed nude for peta, for a campaign they have. the billboard is up in times square .

    >> i know, so exciting.

    >> so, instead of getting attention for the reason it was supposed to get attention for, people say wait a second, they air-brushed that photo to death. and you decided to answer the questions by releasing the untouched version.

    >> well, it's not like i'm claiming to be a supermodel or anything. you can see either picture, i don't care. i didn't air-brush it. i don't have the air-brushing machine. there's a rogue boob they took out, pimples --

    >> what? you have a third boob?

    >> does rogue mean third?

    >> well, i thought it was supposed to be one that wasn't supposed to be there.

    >> no, i don't have a third boob. that will be next week's episode on the "today" show. but it's a little air-brushed, i'm sure, but the truth is, here it is. i don't care. i'm not trying to hide anything.

    >> did you have any trepidations for posing for that?

    >> no. it wasn't about a fitness video or being a model. it was about fur, which i'm passionate about, and it's a good reason to get naked. there are other reasons, many reasons, but that's a good reason to get naked.

    >> where do we stand with your own reality show ? is it happening?

    >> it's happening. i'm excited. so, the irony is i am finally going to be a housewife and who knows if i'm going to be on "the housewives" after season three.

    >> do you think you will be?

    >> i don't know. i love it. it's great, but the season will be so incredible, it will be nice to leave the party at full tilt. it will be really great. so, who knows?

    >> i think you just tipped your hand. i think you did, bethenny frankel . congratulations on everything, the book, the engagement, the baby, everything.

    >> thank you. thank you for having me.

    >> happy holidays .


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