We may know style icon Kelly Killoren Bensimon as the former model who graced the pages of She and Cosmopolitan, or for his role in The Real Housewives of New York. More recently, she is a luxury real estate agent with Douglas Elliman in the television show Discovery+, Sell the Hamptons.
Last night she hosted a dinner party at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Miami called Warm bodies. The event featured models wearing the latest swimwear from famed swimwear designer Melissa Odabash, whose looks were worn by Rihanna and Kate Moss, while DJ Kristian Caro played tribal beats with the trumpet played by Vincent Raffard of the French Horn Collective. Next, a group of synchronized swimmers called the Aqualillies (who are a favorite of Dita Von Teese), splashed around the rooftop pool in front of an adoring crowd, while guests visited a Little Words Project bracelet stand .
The stage – which included Bensimon’s hot body list for 2022 – was introduced to the ground floor of the Osteria Morini restaurant where executive chef Bill Dorrler presented his new Mediterranean summer menu, inspired by Italy’s Amalfi Coast .
According to Bensimon, HOT Bodies (which stands for Healthy Options Today), is her mantra for healthy cooking and making smart choices with your daily habits. It’s almost an extension of his 2012 book, I can make you hot! The model diet, which contains 60 recipes for healthy eating and nutritional advice. Before her dinner, Bensimon talked about getting started with Miami Swim Week and being a blogger in 2006.
Forbes: Tell me, how was HOT Bodies born?
Kelly Benson: We’ve partnered with the Altamarea Group, which has offices all over the world, so I can get you hot. Not only can I get you hot, but I wrote the bikini book that kicked off Miami Swim Week with Lycra and IMG. So happy to be back in Miami celebrating swim week with food, family and lots of fun at Morini with a Mediterranean diet.
Can you take us back to the first Miami Swim Week?
I wrote The bikini book for Lyra, and I was a model for IMG. They loved the book, and I had just left the editorship of Her Accessories, and so many things were happening in my world. Miami wanted to do something that would bring a fresh look to Miami. I learned how to create energy and bring different ideas to markets. From my beginnings as a model when I was 15, until now I know what is great in Miami and South Florida, it was a great idea for me to explore and celebrate this amazing city.
What is Warm bodies ?
I’m here to celebrate hot bodies! With Melissa Odabash’s swimwear showcase, she’s one of the top swimwear designers today – the Kardashians wear it, I wear it, Elle Macpherson wears it, it’s a spectacular line that has endured many years.
You are at the crossroads between fashion and luxury real estate, where is the crossroads for you?
There is no intersection, it’s just under the same lifestyle umbrella. I’ve always been a lifestyle referee and synthesizer, tonight we’re here to celebrate great food and lifestyle, and interesting people doing interesting things, it makes you hot. Volume.
Events like Miami Swim Week, with perfect models on the runway, can trigger body dysmorphia in people.
Totally. Think about it, if you’re a model at Miami Swim Week, you try to be as healthy as possible. It’s not just about people watching, a lot of girls are walking on the beach, the image and perspective of women are different. We see more, different morphologies and different faces on the catwalks, it’s super exciting.
Which designer are you wearing tonight?
Retrofit. It’s a young brand that’s easy to wear, they have a lot of cool shorts and jeans. I am 54 years old. I always want to look good. This dress feels good, it’s a little loose. I think there is a new way to dress, where as long as you feel good about yourself, go for it.
What are your summer essentials for your wardrobe?
I have two daughters, 22 and 24, and they tell me my closet is the best place to shop! They always inspire me to wear different clothes.
What are your five summer essentials?
I think every woman should have a bikini. All body types, all walks of life, I saw women in Ibiza in the 80s in bikinis. What I love about the bikini is that it’s so democratic. A bikini became something that women wanted to wear in the jet age, which saw this new lifestyle. It was a new start for us. I also like a mandatory high heel. Square-toed shoes are everywhere, from Steve Madden to Bottega Veneta. A bigger, bulkier pair of sunglasses like those from Ray Ban. I also think tighter bodycon dresses are chic. I also think chic headbands are also essential. And a scarf. Also, I love kimonos, you see them on all the catwalks, for men and women. We see a lot of mix and match. I think the key is to wear what you love and feel really good.
What advice would you give fashion influencers today?
That you have a strong narrative. For me, I had so much fun creating a new food story, which got me interested. Young people are traveling and reading more, and learning more about food, style, skincare, beauty and makeup. It’s a story.
You are also hardworking!
I’m a curious human, and getting warm is all about healthy options today. I wrote I can make you hot! The model diet, and “HOT” means healthy options today. Living in Miami, this healthy lifestyle is very important. I have two daughters and I give them food conscious insights predicting full body shaming in 2006 I was the editor of Accessories Her. When I wrote The bikini book, I wrote that it was a celebration of every woman, every size. Because before that we had only seen a perfect woman. I love imperfection, beauty from all walks of life, and I’m so glad I was able to foresee this with The bikini book with Assouline.