It’s no secret that Lisa Vanderpump loves her dogs. She especially loves referencing them in her Real Housewives taglines, which, it becomes clear over our conversation, kind of double as life philosophies.
“What was it? Throw me to the wolves and I shall return leading the pack?” she says, using a favorite tagline to explain why she ultimately returned to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for its upcoming seventh season after last year’s... let’s say rough time, in which the cast ganged up on her and accused her of being a master manipulator. “Or how about this one: I’m passionate about dogs and I’m crazy about bitches.”
Vanderpump, recently named the Best Real Housewife Star in Bravo History, knows better than anyone that life can’t be guided by the wisdom of Real Housewife taglines alone.
Indeed, part of her success in the franchise is owed to the fact that she arrived to reality TV with a fair share of preternatural wisdom, honed through decades as a restauranteur first in London with her husband, Ken, and now in Los Angeles, where hotspots SUR and Pump provide the setting for her voraciously consumed Bravo spinoff, Vanderpump Rules, which begins its fifth season on Monday.
The London native’s luxurious purr is interrupted by a sigh of relief when comparing the launch of a new season of Housewives to Vanderpump Rules, which she executive produces. On that show, she happily cedes over the dramatic narrative to the bevy of spray tanned twentysomethings who have spent years both working together at her restaurants and blacking out, sleeping, and fighting together at the area’s trendiest clubs.
“With Housewives, I kind of dive into an unknown abyss, basically, wondering what transpired and who said what about me,” Vanderpump says.
That anxiety-inducing experience, which she will go through again when RHOBH returns in December, gives her a certain sense of empathy for her employees-turned-cast. They include the engaged Tom Schwartz and Katie Maloney, walking “that haircut” Jax Taylor, incessant emotional breakdown James Kennedy, and Beverly Hills Bond villain you not-so-secretly want to spend every waking moment with, Stassi Schroeder.
But that empathy has also turned out to be a liability as an executive producer.RELATED: The Vanderpump Rules Cast Describes Lisa Vanderpump in One Word
“I have, in moments, seen cuts of Vanderpump Rules and thought, ‘No, we can’t say that!’ ‘We can’t show that there!’ ‘We can’t keep that in!’” Vanderpump says. “But I suddenly thought, hold on a second. Are we making a show about what I want them to say or what they’re actually saying? So you’re between a rock and a hard place sometimes.”