EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Lisa Vanderpump talks J-Law and being alpha-female
Hearing the silky British drawl of Lisa Vanderpump over the phone you’d be forgiven for thinking she was relaxing in a countryside estate somewhere deep in the rich neighbourhoods of Buckinghamshire. Swap Buckinghamshire for Beverly Hills and the picture stays pretty much the same.
One of the longest-running members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa is a mother to two, a wife of 34 years, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and a keeper of 8 dogs, numerous swans and two miniature ponies. She somehow also finds the time to film Real Housewives alongside her other reality show, Vanderpump Rules – documenting the trials and tribulations of running her West Hollywood restaurant, SUR.
Vanderpump Rules is in its fourth season whilst Real Housewives is still going strong at season six. The gaggle of rich Hollywood housewives is infamous for their extravagant parties, excessive spending and exaggerated arguments. Lisa provides the feisty backbone of the group, often always telling it how it is – as this interviewer found out. Immediately reversing our roles, she starts by grilling me about how many viewers her shows get in the UK (170,000 last week if you’re reading Lisa). Our awkward conversation ends with her confusing my role as a journalist with the ability to control all television as she requests I get her a spot on The Graham Norton Show.
I can’t deny she’s got spunk.
Hi Lisa, firstly I wanted to say you’re absolutely my favourite housewife. Everybody that knows I’m doing this interview has said they love you too – you’re definitely repping for the Brits.
It’s hard for me to understand really – how well known it is over there – because I feel pretty isolated here. When I went back [to the UK] I wasn’t recognised that much compared to here… here I go anywhere and it’s a big deal.
Well you’re obviously going to the wrong streets – I would have said hello!
(Lisa laughs, then gets back to the serious questions) What channel is it on over there? Lifetime and ITVBe?
Yes, Housewives is aired on Tuesdays here.
And how many viewers does it get?
I’m afraid I wouldn’t be the one to ask for that…
What about Vanderpump Rules? Does that get a lot of attention?
(This goes on for a while… I’ll spare you the rest).
Having caught up on the latest US episode, everything seems to have come to a head with the discussion about Yolanda Foster and her children. Do you think your words were twisted?
(N.B. Yolanda and two of her children suffer from Lyme’s Disease; Lisa has been accused of claiming the children are completely healthy).
Well it was a difficult scenario really, I think most people have reacted well and understand that Kyle kept pushing and I was reluctant to talk about it. Then Erika kind of exaggerated everything – have you read my blog? There’s a lot of how I feel in that really. It’s a complicated scenario but that does kind of break it down. I feel like there was no point in throwing Kyle under the bus and saying she pushed me – I’m not that friend to be shifting the blame around. I was going to deal with it at hand.
It was slightly surprising, [Yolanda] seemed very aggressive that’s for sure.
I wanted to ask you about new girl, Erika Girardi. It’s clear you’re the alpha-female housewife but do you think Erika might be a threat to your status?
I’ve never really felt like alpha anything. I mean maybe they’ve given me that crown, so to speak, when they call me “the Queen”. For me, I have a hell of a lot of pressures and struggles just trying to stay on the show. I’m running my three restaurants – businesses that are open 16 hours a day – and then I’m on Vanderpump Rules at exactly the same time. I was organising a lot for the “Stop Yulin” march and I do a lot for LGBT… So I don’t really think, ‘oh I’m going to come in and lead the pack on this one!” I’m basically just struggling to get dressed and show up!
One thing about Erika that has been surprising is that she was quite nice in scene and didn’t say very much, and then in her interview bites it’s a different story. I think that’s what makes the show interesting though. Some people are crazy about her and I suppose then I’m not their favourite. I think everybody should have somebody that they identify with. She’s new to the show; I’ve done 200 episodes of reality – she’s done six – you know, they’re just getting a glimpse of her.
People know me and pretty much know that they can depend on me for a modicum of decency.
Obviously you are very busy but do you think you’ll stick with the Real Housewives? Will we see you in season seven?
I don’t know yet – all good things come to an end don’t they? I didn’t think I’d come back after season four to be honest.
You deserve a rest!
I won’t rest, I’ll rest when I die – there’s a lot of things I want to accomplish. It wasn’t a good season for me; even up to so far, I see everyone taking a dig and sniping.
Vanderpump Rules has been a huge task as well. We’re going to finish that with 23 episodes – it’s a lot, it started off as a little spin-off. We shoot both at the same time which is quite demanding really.
Jennifer Lawrence is a big fan of both Housewives and Vanderpump Rules – she’s even visited Pump (Lisa’s “sexy garden restaurant” in Hollywood) a number of times. There are rumours that J-Law and Amy Schumer might be writing a spoof of the reality shows, do you think that’d be fun?
I love Jennifer Lawrence. I think she’s fabulous and she’s got a great sense of humour. Yes, of course she’s been into Pump. She even did her own little video – a spoof of the Vanderpump Rules titles.
She’s a great girl, a very talented actress as well. Yes that would be hilarious – I think she’s even discussed it with Eddie Redmayne. In fact, I just got an invitation to Eddie Redmayne’s party. Eddie Redmayne likes the Housewives – maybe that’s why I’ve been invited to his Oscar party. (THREE times she said Redmayne’s name, just in case you didn’t pick up that).
Back in 2013 you did Dancing with the Stars, would you ever consider coming back to the UK and doing Strictly Come Dancing?
If they asked me I’d definitely consider it but it’s hard for me to spend a lot of time in the UK now. I do come back every few months but I was shooting all summer, and I’ve got a lot of dogs and other animals I’m passionate about. It’s really difficult for me to be away from them. I’ve literally just come in from feeding biscuits to my little ponies.
Do you watch a lot of TV? What do you enjoy watching?
It’s very difficult for me to watch television, I have to say, with the state of the world and all of the political things that are going on here at the moment. I’ve been watching CNN – I’m regularly a spokesperson on CNN or HLN, their sister station.
I also love some of the great dramas like Revenge and The Affair.
Great, thanks for talking to us Lisa. (To you and me, this indicates the end of the interview… but not for Lisa Vanderpump).
Oh you’re welcome. What you should do is… I’d like to come to England to do some talk shows. I’d like to promote Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives but nobody ever asks me. I’d love to do Graham Norton but I haven’t got anyone working on my behalf over there.
(Panicking and trying to make a joke) Well I’ll get on the case for you then.
No will you seriously or not?
Well I can try! I will find somebody from Graham Norton and I will do what I can.
Because it’d be good to promote the shows there.
Ok… thank you for your time!
(And here ends the world’s most awkward interview).
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills airs on Lifetime on Tuesdays at 9pm.