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This season, Tabatha Coffey expanded her Bravo series, Tabatha Takes Over, beyond hair salons to all types of businesses. And on the finale, she tackles a suffering inn owner, a former music columnist who wasn’t enthused by the average people who ended up staying at her West Hollywood home-turned-bed and breakfast, Cinema Suites.
“That’s another misunderstanding that an entrepreneur would have is to find your client,” Dianne Bennett tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Who is your customer? So she helped me focus in on a broader reach, rather than just going after the arty types. It’s called business.”
THR spoke to the former music columnist, who incidentally wrote for THR in the ’80s and ’90s, about the experience of being taken over by Coffey and what she learned.
The Hollywood Reporter: What was the state of your business when Tabatha arrived?
Dianne Bennett: I was highly disorganized. I’m a high-concept person, very entrepreneurial, not into the details… If you know about entrepreneurs, that’s pretty common.
THR: Even though you had given up writing about music, you were still quite tuned in to the social aspects of the industry. What was that about?
Bennett: Well, yes. Trying to live two lives and have them both be efficient is oftentimes problematic. So what she did is reined me in and made me concentrate on my income rather than my nightlife. I saw my bed and breakfast as social in a way. I was into the fun part of it, meeting groovy people, lifestyle. But she forced me to look at the business side of it, running things efficiently, giving direction to my staff, and focusing in on that. I’m not nearly as social as I used to be before Tabatha. I think she told me I couldn’t go out for a number of months and that I had to stay home and take care of business.
THR: What were your first impressions of Tabatha?
Bennett: That Tabatha was going to take over, in capital letters, no arguing there. She was the boss of the world. It’s hard. Again, even when you run a business, and you’re not doing it correctly, and you know you’re not, it’s your comfort level. That’s what she does. She pries you out of your bad habits.
THR: You were a tough nut to crack. How ready were you for Tabatha’s visit?
Bennett: I was ready for Tabatha. By the name of the show alone, you understand that it’s going to be her way. So, I was ready for that. But I can be obstinate, bossy, my way or the highway, and I knew that she was going to improve my business, therefore my income. So I had accepted that she was going to literally take over and we were going to be doing things differently and better, more efficiently.
THR: What was the easiest part of the experience and what was the hardest part of the experience of Tabatha Takes Over?
Bennett: Being criticized is definitely the hardest part, being called wrong or lazy. That’s tough. Nobody wants to hear that. The easiest part? The results. I didn’t even realize, for instance, that the rooms needed to be redecorated and freshened up. It never occurred to me that Tabatha would see that as a necessity. Then when they did the redo on my rooms I was shocked, because I saw that they really weren’t OK. They didn’t look fresh, they didn’t look interesting, beautiful. She accomplished all that. She had a fresh eye.
THR: What’s your biggest fear about doing the show?
Bennett: That I will be humiliated and embarrassed (Laughs.)
The Tabatha Takes Over finale airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
Watch a preview below.
E-mail: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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