Interview: Lala Kent on Her 'Awkward' Relationship with James Kennedy, and Being 'Hand Selected' by Lisa Vanderpump
At the age of 23, Lala Kent stepped onto the scene of Vanderpump Rules and injected her trademark cool-girl attitude into the series’ fourth season. Based on the chilly reception from her fellow cast mates you would’ve thought Lala was poised to be a villain, but in a few short years she’s won over the cast and has quickly established herself as a fan-favourite. Now, at 28 years old, the breakout star is newly engaged and taking her career to new levels.
Slice talked to the refreshingly honest actress/singer/future beauty-mogul about this upcoming season of Vanderpump Rules, how she caught Lisa Vanderpump’s eye, and if she would ever leave the show to focus on acting. Read below for our full interview.
LALA ON HER RELATIONSHIP WITH JAMES KENNEDY
Slice: What’s the deal with you and James? Why can’t you ever seem to stay cool with each other?
Lala: I don’t know! Every time I feel like we’re making progress he always falls down again. Like can we not body-shame people and do all the other things he’s been doing? This season people are really going to see that it’s tough for him to change.
Slice: You made such a point last season to try and grow and develop into the best version of yourself, why do you think James can’t do the same?
Lala: I don’t know if it’s James’ home life, or if he has other demons that he’s trying to fight, but all I can do is wish him all the best and go our separate ways. At this point in time I can’t force somebody to change, and I’m definitely not a psychologist. I’ve tried to offer him my hand in many ways, but there comes a point where [I] have to step back and [realize] that if I continue to let him behave this way towards me, then I’m just an idiot.
Slice: Was James the hardest person for you to film with this season?
Lala: Yeah, that would get awkward because I would sometimes forget how he’s treated me, and I would go back into that zone of, “oh this is my homie,” and you gotta pull it together and remember that that’s uncharted territory again.
Slice: Has he tried to reach out to you outside of the show and apologize?
Lala: He has tried to apologize a lot of times, but at some point you just have to realize that [sorry] is just a word.
LALA ON BRINGING THE WOMEN OF VANDERPUMP RULES TOGETHER
Slice: You really rallied the female members of the cast last season and brought female empowerment at the forefront. Will we get more of that from you in season 7?
Lala: That’s just a part of who I am! I love me some chicks who also support chicks. I’m just a girl’s girl.
Slice: Is “girl’s night” a regular thing at your house?
Lala: Oh yeah! Randall knows that I love girl time, and that’s another reason why we connect so much. Any time you can get a group of girls together who love and support each other, I’m all about it. And I see all my friends doing such incredible things — like Stassi with her book. I’m just into women’s empowerment.
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LALA ON THIS SEASON’S BIGGEST SHOCKERS
Slice: What do you think is the most surprising thing we’ll see this year?
Lala: People will be really shocked at Jax’s transformation. And I think people are going to be shocked to see me in such a different way because of what I’m going through in my life and the loss of my dad. People are going to see a different side of me that they haven’t seen before and I’m excited about that, but I’m also terrified. I hope that I can reach people who are also going through the same thing that I’m going through and help them in some small way.
LALA ON THE LOSS OF HER FATHER:
Lala: [The first episode] made me sad because I’m going to start reliving the passing of my dad, so it’s a bittersweet feeling for me.
Slice: How did your Vanderpump Rules friends come together for you?
Lala: Everybody dropped everything to come and support me when he passed away. Scheana got her understudy to cover her show in Vegas, and all the girls on the show dropped everything to come to Utah and support me and be by my side. The only person who couldn’t make it was Stassi, and that’s because it was so sudden and she was in Europe. The fact that they were all there in such a tragic time in my life, I can never repay them, they just have a very special place in my heart.
LALA ON HOW FAR SHE’S COME WITH JAX AND BRITTANY
Slice: Do you and Brittany ever laugh about where you two started out, and where your relationship is now?
Lala: I love that question because we all sit around and laugh so hard about how we dragged each other. [Jax and Brittany] are my really good friends and we have each other’s backs, [but] in season 4 you couldn’t have paid me enough money to be their friend. Now, I can’t get enough of any of them – especially my little Kentucky muffin. I love her.
Slice: So you and Jax are definitely cool now?
Lala: Oh my god, I love Jax so much, like he really has such a good heart. I think everyone knew he had a good heart – well maybe not everybody [laughs] – but I think the passing of his dad was such a wake-up call for him to see what life is really about. I just see a totally new person.
LALA ON NAVIGATING DRAMA BETWEEN CASTMATES
Slice: How do you guys navigate those rocky relationships when you’re constantly around each other?
Lala: Well, there’s always the drink that makes things easier… [but] I took a break from drinking this season. [I would] just stay in my lane unless I’m approached…or unless I really have a strong opinion. I think that’s what makes our show great; all of us have a voice and we want to use it.
Slice: Is it hard shooting things like the intro credits when there’s drama between so many people?
Lala: I’m so proud of my cast. Every though it’s very much real life, we know that when we have to do those intro credits we’re [going to] just get the job done and be on our way. So it was actually okay. We all put our differences aside just to make that day bearable. So yeah, we know when to put the professional hat on.
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LALA ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH BILLIE LEE
Slice: Watching the first episode you have this awkward interaction with Billie Lee. Where did things go wrong with Billie and the rest of the cast?
Lala: I just think she went about it the wrong way. There’s a lot of things that could go wrong in this group – I definitely experienced that other side where you try to come in and be ballsy as fuck, and it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. I just don’t think she connected with people. This cast is very authentic. If they’re going to say it behind your back, they’re going to say it to your face, and I just don’t think she’s gotten that memo yet.
LALA ON HER FIANCE RANDALL
Slice: It’s so nice to see Randall get along with the rest of the cast. It’s so important to have a partner who can get along with all of your friends!
Lala: At the end of the day, I know this is a TV show, but it’s my actual real life. The fact that he put forth such an effort to be good with them – and not only my girlfriends, but their men, like Jax and the Toms hang out with Randall all the time – that makes me really happy.
Slice: Is he warming up to the idea of being on the show?
Lala: No… the Instagram photos are as far as he’ll get in front of the camera.
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LALA ON HER WEDDING
Slice: How deep into wedding planning are you right now? Do you have a wedding date?
Lala: Oh my gosh I tell everybody that I’m the worst bride-to-be ever because the only thing I’ve said about our wedding is that I know I want it in September, and I want it in 2020. Oh, and I know that I want to change at least 3 times!
Slice: Would you copy Scheana’s polarizing crop-top wedding dress?
Lala: No. I’m very into making sure that 30 years from now I can look back at my photos and still be really excited about them, and not go, “girl, what were you thinking?!”. I’m going to bring the chic and classic look, but I’m still going to bring the essence of who Lala is.
Slice: Would you let Lisa officiate?
Lala: No because then she’ll take away my star! And I want to be the star of my wedding [laughs].
LALA ON HOW SHE MET LISA VANDERPUMP, AND IF SHE WOULD DO REAL HOUSEWIVES
Slice: What’s the actual story of how you met Lisa Vanderpump?
Lala: So I was going to SUR before it had expanded into the restaurant and lounge; it was just this little restaurant that I had been going to for 10 years. I had friends that worked there and Lisa had come up to me one night after she had seen me interacting with the staff and offered me a job. And with that hostess job came the show opportunity. That was how she and I really came to be.
Slice: So you were hand-picked by Lisa Vanderpump?
Lala: I can say that I was hand selected by Lisa Vanderpump! That’s so badass.
Slice: If Lisa ever leaves The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, would you ever step in as a Housewife?
Lala: I mean; those are some big shoes to fill. She’s like the queen. I would need a little bit of prepping before that. She could like groom me if that were to happen. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to groom me for a Real Housewives position!
LALA ON HER MUSIC AND ACTING CAREER
Slice: When are you dipping your toes back into music? It’s been a while since we’ve gotten something new!
Lala: I know right. You’ll see me in the studio this season. I also have another performance, and the two songs will be available during this season. Once the episode airs I’ll make sure that I drop some goodness for you to purchase on iTunes.
Slice: As your acting career starts to take up more of your time, do you think you’ll put that ahead of Vanderpump Rules?
Lala: You know what, there’s enough Lala to go around. I’m the type of person where I don’t want to cut anything out. I just want everyone to work together so that the schedule fits everything that I want to do. I want to be able to do Vanderpump, I want to act, I want to be able to do Give Them Lala Beauty. So no, I don’t think I’m ready to give anything up to focus on one thing or the other. I want it all honey!
Watch Lala on Vanderpump Rules, Mondays at 9e/p on Slice!