Harlem native climbs the corporate ladder and earns finale spot on ‘The Big Shot with Bethenny’

Photo: Krista Schlueter / HBO Max

A New York woman has risen through the ranks for a shot at taking on a leadership role in “Real Housewives of New York” Bethenny Frankel’s business empire.

Born and raised in Harlem, Rockland County resident Milokssy Resto learned early on that she needed to work in order to get what she wanted in life.

“Some people called it Washington Heights, others called it Harlem or Harlem Heights, but it was intense. I saw bullets and people die in front of my eyes,” said Resto. “I always knew that I wanted more. My parents gave me what they could, which was more than enough. But we were living somewhere I would never choose for my kids, which was all we could have because my father was the super of our building. I needed to get out of that neighborhood.”

Resto joined her aunt on a nanny job when she was young and saw how other people lived, resulting in giving Resto an insatiable drive to succeed. At 16, Resto landed a job at the Gap, a Holy Grail position for her age group, which she held down while she finished high school, and if she wasn’t busy enough, Resto also took on another job at Barnes & Noble.

“I knew I wanted more, that’s just how I am,” said Resto.

When Resto was 17, the CEO of Barnes & Noble came to her store one day. She introduced herself and inquired about how to apply for a corporate position within Barnes & Noble, and was told to contact Human Resources about it. After graduating high school, Resto took a shot and applied for a corporate position and was hired.

“That’s where my desire to work was, in a corporate setting,” said Resto. “My friends all went to college and had children. I had a plan, I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I still wanted more.”

After her time at Barnes & Noble, Resto traveled around and at one point, she accompanied her friend to a business meeting where Richard Parsons, the CEO of AOLTime Warner at the time. Resto noticed that her friend was getting a not-so-great deal and advocated for her friend.

Her actions not only helped get her friend a better deal, but also attracted the attention of Parsons.

“He gave me his card and said if you ever need a job, call me,” recalled Resto. “Two years later I needed a job in New York City. I found the card in an old purse and thought if this isn’t destiny, I don’t know what is. I emailed him and met with the head of HR. Since then, I haven’t left corporate.”

Resto describes herself as a chameleon when she walks into a new work situation. Because she was normally the youngest in the room, she had to work harder to earn the respect she deserved and often accomplished this by treating her fellow coworkers like people.

“If you are a people person, people will remember you, and that’s how I’ve been ever since. Everyone in the family looks up to me and I never wanted to fail them,” said Resto. “My father is my biggest cheerleader, I never wanted to disappoint him. I think I do so much for him because he tried to do so much for me. Now I have two boys I have to raise, it’s not easy. Every decision I make is for them.”

Resto landed herself a spot on the new HBO Max show “The Big Shot with Bethenny.” The show gives next-generation business moguls an opportunity to become Frankel’s second in command in her company Skinnygirl.

Though Resto was not very familiar with Frankel’s work on “Real Housewives of New York,” she was seeing the good that Frankel was doing for the community through her business.

“She caught my attention when I saw all the good she was doing. When everything was happening in Puerto Rico, to see such a successful person drop everything and help another human, that speaks volumes,” said Resto. “When I was younger I would travel every year to the Dominican Republic on vacation with my family and saw it first-hand kids begging and not having food. I would come home with no luggage and leave it to the children, that always remained within me. I still do that with my boys today.”

Resto knew she wanted to help Frankel put more good into the world and raised some money to go to Frankel’s campaign to get funding for PPE amid the pandemic. Resto learned about the show and applied, ultimately landing a spot.

Resto says that her time on the show has been an intense experience, but the hardest part was leaving her two boys behind.

“I’ve never been away from my children. I work hard, the rest of the time I want to spend with them,” said Resto. “Being away from them, my anxiety struck me ten times harder. What if they get sick, I should not be off filming a show during a pandemic. My family and my husband said that I’m always putting us first, please put yourself first for once. It took him saying that numerous times for me to say, you’re right.”

Resto is among three women who made it to the finale of “The Big Shot with Bethenny.” Resto has enjoyed working alongside Frankel throughout the show, and ultimately ended up learning about herself along the way.

“Seeing Bethenny in person is intense. She’s an amazing human being, strong, smart, all of this is intense. She will call you out in front of these 10 other people and there’s no way you can hide from that,” said Resto. “I was holding breath the entire time and released when I came home. It was intense but I learned so much that I thought I already knew about myself.”

Resto says that those who tune into the finale are in for a wild ride, and what they think is going to happen may not happen at all.

“There is always a curveball, there’s going to be a surprise. People think they know what’s going to happen next, I don’t know what to tell you with the next episode. I wasn’t sure what was happening and I was there,” said Resto. “It’s going to be a ride. Some may be disappointed, it’s not what people expect at this point. It gets real. It’s anyone’s game. You’re going to be on edge of your seat.”

“The Big Shot with Bethenny” finale airs on HBO Max on May 20. For more about Resto, visit milokssy.com.