Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules star Lisa Vanderpump is dishing what it’s like to be a reality star today. She also shares details about her early life, how she joined reality TV, how long she plans to stay on the show and more.
In a rare interview, Lisa opened up about her life before being on Bravo. “I was a young actress. When I was 9 or 10 I think, the first thing I did was [the 1973 movie] A Touch of Class with George Segal and Glenda Jackson. When I met my husband, he had a wine bar, and after we were married, we went on to open wine bars, clubs, restaurants—I think we’ve had 32 in total. I’d always had a real affinity for design, so even now I design and create, with my husband, all the aesthetics and visuals for our restaurants. I’m passionate about things like that. I’ll go and do the flowers myself. I decorate my own houses. I just like to create, and that’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart.”
Vanderpump also told AdWeek how she came to join Housewives. “I was asked two or three times, but I said, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s for me.” And the third time I thought, “OK, I will go in [for an audition].” I didn’t think I gave a great interview, but then they came to interview me at my house again after that. [Bravo personality] Andy Cohen now says that I was the reason he green-lit Beverly Hills because he says he saw something different, something quirky in me.”
Being on reality TV can be difficult for some, is there anything that’s off limits for Lisa? ”
I don’t care if the cameras follow me 24 hours a day. Maybe I don’t want to be filmed in the shower or something [laughs]. The only thing I was sensitive to is that when my daughter got married—I felt that I’d signed up for the show, not her.”
How did Lisa’s family handle the news that she would be on reality TV? “They weren’t thrilled. Initially I felt a little sense of security in the fact that the show [didn’t air in England], but it’s becoming quite big over there. And now it’s even more in their face because I have a show called Vanderpump Rules and that’s my family’s name. A classic example of this was when my nephew was staying with me and I said to him, “We’re shooting Housewives. I mean, you’re here, would you just be in it?” And he said, “Actually, Lisa, not really my thing. Thank you so much, but I’ll pass” [laughs]. … I’m very cognizant that the show has given me such a platform. I feel that when you’re a celebrity—and I do use that word loosely—and when you’re in the public eye, you have a responsibility to stand up and draw attention to things that you believe in.”
Vanderpump also discussed her hesitation to return to RHOBH this season and the rumors that she would only return if they showed her work as a humanitarian. “Yeah, it was something we talked about. I was so beaten up last year. The audience has always stayed with me, so that indomitable support has really seen me through. But from the other women, that kind of haranguing and—I don’t like to use the word bullying because everybody uses that word and it’s so cliché—but just feeling totally persecuted by them, screaming at me, I just felt I couldn’t do it anymore, and I said that to Bravo.”
Lisa also shared how Vanderpump Rules came to be. “After the first season [of Real Housewives], I remember saying, “Well, I’ve done one season now, but I don’t think I’ll do another one. It was fun.” And [another network] offered me my own show, so Bravo contacted me and asked if I wanted to do something on my own—they were probably just trying to keep me because somebody else was asking me to do a show—and I said, “Well, maybe.” They asked if I wanted to do a show about Villa Blanca, and I thought about it and said, “OK, I’ve got it. I want to produce a show about my staff at SUR, but I don’t want to be in it.” … I wanted to produce it because I was really interested in the production side, but Bravo said, “You have to be in it.””
Have producers of RHOBH ever tried to steer Lisa in a situation she was uncomfortable with? “Oh, yeah. For example, I had a big falling out with somebody that was on the show that turned out to be a real nightmare—I won’t mention names, but I’m sure you know who I’m talking about—so when they say, “We want you to have lunch with them,” maybe naturally I’d just tell that person to bugger off and never see them again, but you know that the audience wants to see that progression. So sometimes, yeah, there’s creative license, and you have to make allowances to develop and progress the story.”
What’s the hardest thing about doing Housewives? “I think when the women have attacked me. That’s devastated me. I’m not a victim, but it’s been very hurtful. When they accuse you of stuff, I mean, that’s been hard. Sometimes I haven’t been able to watch it. Or when they’re lying about you, and it’s out there. But we’re lucky enough to have a production company that has integrity—I know it’s a rarity in this world—and tries to show the accurate story. And if they think somebody is bat-shit crazy and they’re accusing you of something, they’re going to show it. And luckily, the audience sees the truth.”
How much longer does Lisa plan on doing Housewives? “After the first year, I said I wasn’t coming back. After four years, I said I wasn’t coming back. I think I’ve always said that. This year it was a really, really difficult decision. It was just not about money. It was about whether I could go through what I went through again. I didn’t think I could. And I still don’t know if I made the right decision. But after a couple of weeks talking to them, I went, “All right, I’ll do it—so help me, God” [laughs]. I remember our showrunner jumped up and kissed me and said, “OK, you won’t regret it!” And I said, “I might, but I can never forget what the show has given me.” I mean, would I be at the United Nations? Would I be at Congress? Would I be starting Vanderpump Pets? Would I be able to fight Yulin? Would I be able to have the Vanderpump Dog Rescue? And there have been some wonderful moments on the show. It’s been like a very expensive home movie. That’s been the best.”
Thoughts on what Lisa had to say?
Photo Credit: Bravo