Unlike some of the women who populate the various “Real Housewives” franchises, it’s safe to say that we’ll never see Lisa Vanderpump throw her prosthetic leg at anyone, get so drunk she falls down, rip out someone’s hair extensions or prepare herself for life behind bars.
The throaty-voiced star of “Vanderpump Rules” and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (which returns for Season 5 this week) is English, after all, known for her love of dogs, children and all things pink (her impressive home in the upper reaches of Mulholland is even called Villa Rosa).
She’s also a savvy businesswoman who has three glamorous Los Angeles area restaurants and a new 68-piece collection of table and barware available from Pop Culture Living. Naturally, some of the items are rose-tinged.
As your viewers know, your style is very feminine, very pink and sparkly. When did that develop?
I was born that way. I’ve always loved it, always. But I do want to point out that if you look at my house -- it’s been seen on the series -- though, it’s not Barbie pink. The roses on the table might be pink and there might be a few bits of petal pink in the accessories, but it’s really very neutral, there’s a lot of white. I don’t have twee taste at all.
Why do a collection of tableware and what makes yours stand out?
I love entertaining, I’ve done it constantly since I got married, which was 32 years ago. We’ve lived in London, the south of France, the English countryside, Monte Carlo so I have a huge backlog of things at my house that I’ve used for years and have inspired me. And it was very important to me that the collection allow you mix and match -- you know, you can do layers of things, like the sets of plates, or you can just buy one thing, like the pearl and diamond chargers, and use them with your own dishes. A simple glass plate would look beautiful with the charger.
Have you had the chance to use any of the collection yet?
I officiated a gay wedding last week at PUMP, so I set the whole wedding party with my dishes! It was very nerve-wracking for me -- not setting the tables but officiating. I’d never done it before, but I got to know the couple and they’re so lovely, so I performed the ceremony.
You can add it to the list: Despite the title, you are hardly a housewife. For the record, can you please identify your various enterprises?
Oh, there are so many, where do I start? Well, there’s “Vanderpump Rules,” which is on air now and I’m also a producer on that; “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” returns next week; I’m the designer and creative director at SUR, where I have a partner; there’s Villa Blanca; and PUMP, which is my new baby in terms of restaurants; there’s LVP Sangria, which my daughter and son-in-law are really in charge of -- we’ve served it for years in our restaurants, but they’ve taken it to a new level, producing it and marketing it all over the world; and now there’s the new collection for Pop Culture Living. [Pause] I may have forgotten something, who knows!
You have a reputation for being very hands-on with your enterprises; are you a perfectionist?
I don’t think I’m a perfectionist because if you try for perfection, it’s too much pressure. But I’m probably a nightmare to work for. I mean, when I go into PUMP, for instance, I’ll say, “Why isn’t the music on? Why aren’t the lights set up? Why aren’t the flowers over here?” I tend to tell people something once and then I expect that it will be done correctly from that moment on. But I can’t help it -- I see things other people don’t and I know how to fix it, how to make it look better. I don’t know how I know that, I just do.
As an inveterate hostess, what are your tips for a successful gathering?
What stresses people out is trying to do too much the day of the party, so first of all, set the table the day before. And there are so many things you can cook beforehand -- cook 2 courses before anyone arrives and have the third one prepared so you just have to put it in the oven or whatever. And you can just make something easy, like shepherd's pie. Make it the day before, put it in the oven to warm it up, toss a nice green salad and it’s a meal in itself.
Is there a difference between Europeans and Americans when it comes to entertaining?
Yes, for one thing, people are more relaxed about alcohol in France. Here, if you have a glass of wine at lunch, everyone wonders if you’re on your way to Betty Ford. [Laughs]. But generally, I think people here are more PC and worry far more. Even if I don’t hear them, I know who the Europeans are in my restaurants. They’re not in a hurry, they take longer with their meals, they actually look over the wine menu.
I must say that I expected to see some items in your new collection inspired by or for your constant companion, your alopecia-stricken Pomeranian. What’s up with that?
We actually have seven dogs, but everyone is obsessed with Giggy, the Gigster, the Sex Monster. [Laughs]. By the way, he does support children with alopecia charities -- we’ve made appearances for that particular cause. And, yes, we’re working on it and hopefully sometime soon he will be bringing out a line of doggie stuff with a portion going to dog charities.
On “RHOBH,” you’ve often thrown a lovely party, only to have it all turn into a free-for-all with the women fighting. Does it ever make you want to, like, use paper plates and just forget trying to make it so pretty?
No! I will never feel that way. I just couldn’t do that. I remember one time in particular, I think it was in Season 2, when I had this lovely tea party. And all the women came over and suddenly they all started having a go at me! And I’m thinking, “What?! Where?? What’s happening?!” And my heart was absolutely breaking, but then people wrote in and said things like “I loved your smorgasbord” and “Your table was so pretty.” [Laughs]. So, you see, people do appreciate these things!