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Interview: Luann de Lesseps on the Societal Pressures of Drinking, Bringing Her Cabaret to Canada and ‘RHONY’ Legacy

Luann de Lesseps
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Luann de Lesseps is all about hosting parties. And now she’s bringing the ultimate party to Canada. The Real Housewives of New York and Ultimate Girls Trip star is hitting the road with her cabaret show, unrolling performances in Toronto on June 3 and 4 and in Vancouver on June 9.

There, she’ll perform some of her classics (“Money Can’t Buy You Class,” “Feelin Jovani”) along with a medley of covers. She’ll also share stories and do a Q&A with her fans, addressing them in person for the first time. It’s an overdue visit, considering both of her parents are Canadian.

Cocktails will definitely be available to purchase, but these days Lesseps reaches for a glass of her faux wine, Fosé Rosé, rather than real alcohol. The personality, who hopes to be a part of the new RHONY when it reboots into two separate shows, has opened up about her journey with sobriety in the past. She also isn’t afraid to speak about it now — especially if it helps to inspire others on their own path.

Here she opens up even more about the pressures of not drinking, what to expect from her Canadian shows, and the upcoming season of The Real Housewives of New York.

This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity.

What can Canadians expect from your shows?

Well, I’m singing and doing some French in my show. So that’s fun. My parents are Canadian — my mother’s from Montreal and my father’s from New Brunswick. So it’s really amazing for me to be able to come and perform in Canada. I’ve been wanting to come for years with my show, but with COVID and everything that happened in the world we had to put that on pause. So it’s finally here and I’m able to get to my Canadian fans, because I know I have a lot of Canadian fans, and I’m super excited to bring them my cabaret. It’s a really fun night. I do a little David Bowie, a little bit of Stevie Nicks. One or two classic songs from Broadway that I make my own and of course some of my classics that I recorded in the past. There’s a Q&A with the audience and some film clips. It’s a night down memory lane and of so much fun.

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What do you love about getting on that stage?

How the fans are so engaged. They know the show so they also have a camaraderie amongst themselves because they have that in common. Often my fans go out together, they make new friends, it’s a housewife party. I cannot wait to bring the show to Canada and have everyone see it.

Luann de Lesseps singing at a cabaret on 'RHONY'
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You’ve had so many careers so far in life, is this one you ever pictured for yourself?

This is a dream come true for me. Before I started Housewives I used to work in Italian television. I lived in Europe and television has been a part of my life for a long time. I love to sing for my friends. As a very good friend pointed out, he said, “You love to sing for your friends. You love to tell your friends jokes, and you love to host parties. You really should be doing cabaret.”

Some things kept me from it for a while but ultimately I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And I’m loving it. Live performance and I love the fans and the audience. I really have found my niche. Plus there’s really not anybody doing cabaret these days. I work really hard at my show. And I think when people come and see it, they see it’s a real show.

Related: Everything I learned not to do in my relationships because of ‘RHONY.

Are you fronting any specific Canadian fashions?

Well of course I’ll be wearing some Giovanni and I’m doing an homage with one of my looks to Liza. So there are some outfit changes and a lot of fun. It’s really about having fun and losing yourself in the evening and enjoying yourself. You’re really kind of in my living room and I’m there to entertain you.

Are you bringing some Fosé Rosé with you?

We’re working on the distribution right now and I would love to get it over to Canada. You can order it online in Canada though. That was something that came to me during the pandemic, I couldn’t find anything on the market that I wanted to drink. So my daughter, who doesn’t drink, and I decided to make a kind of elevated, sparkling rosé. We built it from the ground up. It’s delicious and low-calorie and a very elegant-looking bottle. I feel like there’s a void in the market for something like that. You can just order it, it’s ready. You’re not at the mercy of a mocktail artist. And it kind of takes the stigma away from not drinking.


See also: Interview: Luann de Lesseps talks ‘Girls Trip’ and why ‘RHONY’ season 13 fell flat.

Do you think that we as a society are finally taking some of that stigma away as more people turn away from the bottle?

First of all, I choose not to drink because I just feel better. When I do drink, I just feel awful. There comes a point in life where it takes a minute… for example, when I first came back to sobriety, it took me a while to realize I could go out and not drink and still be okay. It’s important for people to realize. It’s like anything — once you don’t have it, you get used to not having it and life does go on. Ultimately, I’m much happier when I don’t drink and so that’s the lifestyle that I choose. Everybody has their own struggle. I’ve certainly had my own struggles with sobriety, but I’ve gotten to a place where my ultimate goal is really not to drink.

Is that goal easier or harder, being in the public eye?

It’s not easy to deal with in the first place. Never mind having to deal with it in the public eye. But, I’ve run into people that have said to me, “Thank you for doing this.” Because people do struggle and if I can be any help to anyone, that makes me very happy. So I hope that’s the case. If I give any inspiration to people that’s made it all worthwhile.

Luann de Lesseps on 'Ultimate Girls Trip'
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You said it perfectly to Andy Cohen — it’s progress, not perfection.

Yeah, it’s progress. Not perfection. Exactly. You know, my struggle is real, and I’m not afraid to talk about it. Andy has been very supportive, and so has the network. People don’t necessarily recognize the fact that I didn’t drink on the Ultimate Girls Trip. I didn’t drink during the last season of our show. But sometimes people tend to focus on the negative and not the positive and that’s okay. I know who I am. People can think what they want about me, but I choose to live my life the way I live my life and that’s their story, not mine.

People can think what they want about me, but I choose to live my life the way I live my life and that’s their story, not mine.

You must have such a different perspective on some of those Housewives parties the next morning, too.

You know, I am never sad the next day. I never say, “Oh, darn, I wish I had a hangover.” Listen, people do what they want to do. I’m not there to judge and I’m never a judging person. I try to keep an open mind. Everyone has their own journey and I can’t change that. Some of the Housewives are great, they drink responsibly. And some are not so great at it. I don’t need to tell you who those people are. I think you could see for yourself.

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What are your thoughts on the NYC franchise breaking up into two groups?

First, I was surprised because I was not expecting that. But then after thinking about it, and you know, talking to Andy about it, I think it’s a good idea. I mean, I’m delighted to film with the OGs. I know the women well and that’s always fun. I feel like the Ultimate Girls Trip really set that ball in motion. That did so well that the network got some cues from that, I think, in my personal opinion. That’s why we’re seeing a legacy. And why not try a new cast out in New York and see what we got?

Are you officially confirmed for Legacy yet?

I am not. So… let’s see who comes back and who does it.


The real question is, would you like to come back?

Yes, I would. I would love to come back to film with the OGs, that would be so fun.

Is there anyone else you’re hoping will be asked back?

It would be great to have Jill Zarin there. I got on the show because of Jill Zarin. So I would love to see her come back. I’d love to see Kelly Bensimon come back. Of course, we’d love to see Dorinda Medley come back. I have my picks and so let’s see who they actually end up picking.

Catch up on The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, The Real Housewives of New York, and stream all your favourite Slice shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand.


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