CELEBRITY
12/19/2011 01:03 pm ET

Jill Zarin's Family Blessed By The Dalai Lama?

Jill Zarin may no longer have the approval of Bethenny Frankel, but now the former "Real Housewives" star has the blessing of a power even higher than the Skinnygirl herself -- the Dalai Lama

"Art Smith [Zarin's friend and Oprah's chef] gave my daughter a prayer shawl from the Dalai Lama," Zarin tells me. "We had just met that day, but we had chemistry."

"He knew that Ally [Zarin's daughter] had been to India and was really into Buddhism and the whole prayer thing ... and the Dalai Lama," Zarin says. "We went to [Smith's] hotel, and he gave it to me to give to my daughter -- a white prayer shawl. Swear to God. Blessed by the Dalai Lama."

Zarin explains that Smith received the prayer shawl from the Dalai Lama because he had cooked for the spiritual leader the night before in Washington, D.C. The next day, Zarin and Smith met while they were both judging an episode of "Iron Chef," which will air on Christmas.

"I didn't know Lady Gaga and Art were best friends," Zarin says, sounding as though she would have rather been gifted the pop star's meat dress than a prayer shawl. "Art's opening up the restaurant with her father. I emailed him and I said, 'Art, can I come to the restaurant?' And he said, 'as soon as we open.'"

Who needs the Skinnygirl when you can have Oprah's chef, Gaga and the Dalai Lama at your fingertips?

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