Real Housewives of New York was very polarizing
Countess Luann de Lesseps is one of the most recognizable women to come out of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise. In recent years, Luann has found major success with her wildly popular cabaret shows and is currently touring the country on “A Very Countess Christmas.” From RHONY to Peacock’s Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, cabaret and a fosé rosé, Luann has her hands full!
Season 13 of Real Housewives of New York was very polarizing. The season was criticized for Leah and Eboni taking it in a direction too serious for reality tv. Reflecting back, what are your thoughts?
Countess Luann de Lesseps: I have been on the show for 13 seasons and found Season 13 to be a very difficult time to film. We were filming during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 Presidential Election. This was a very serious time that transcended on screen. The fact that we even had the chance to film was miraculous. I was fortunate that I had a job and somewhere to go during a time when many were hibernating under so much stress. I am glad the season ended on a good note. With that said, I was disappointed that there was not a reunion. I felt our fans deserved a reunion. That was a first in the entire history of Real Housewives. The network said the timing was off, and a reunion months after the fact did not make sense.
Who do you foresee coming back and/or not coming back next season? There have been tons of whispers on social media.
LL: I don’t know what is going to be happening next season. I do know that we ARE going to have a next season. I am sure they are recasting. Keep in mind we were a very small cast last season: Ramona, Sonja and myself, coupled with a newbie (Eboni) and Leah who is still new to the franchise. We had a limited cast. I speculate that production is looking for additional cast members.
What did you think of ‘Friend’ Bershawn Shaw? She came across more engaging than others.
LL: I like Bershawn! We don’t really know her well; however, I felt she made a good friend for the season and offset the Eboni storyline. She came in and mixed it up.
From what you are saying, it seems we can probably expect some sort of cast shakeup next season. Is there any former housewife or housewives you would like to see return?
LL: I would love to see Jill Zarin come back! I would like to see Dorinda Medley come back. Tinsley Mortimer too! There is a plethora I would like to see return so we’ll see what happens.
What did you think about Heather Thompson returning for a hot minute this past season?
LL: (Laughs) I don’t know what Heather expected. I was surprised she quit; it was a rather quick exit for her. I think it was naïve for her to assume she would be welcomed with open arms after speaking about us on her podcast. We are a smart group; we know what’s going on, what has been said, and after all, it is on a podcast. There is no denying that. I do not have anything against Heather, I think she is a good woman, and I understand she was probably using her experience on RHONY to promote her podcast. With that said, it should not have been at our expense, and she felt the wrath of that.
Ultimate Girls Trip: Season 1 just premiered. Everyone is loving it. Did you enjoy it?
LL: They really pulled out all the stops on this trip. Everything was first class all the way: private jets, private yachts, etc. I had my own room, and we all had to win our right for our rooms too. There is always something that goes down for the best room!
Obviously, you know Ramona the best out of that group, but who is the cast member you knew least going into it?
LL: I was surprised most by Kenya. I did not know Kenya at all. I heard she was a drama queen, so I was a little trepidatious about her. In the end, I got along with her well and really grew to like her, which I can’t say for all the ladies.
Who did you get along with least?
LL: Probably Ramona! We are in a good place, but there were a lot of conflicts surrounding Ramona on this trip. I had my moments as well.
Who is the biggest drama between?
LL: There is a lot of drama in general when you have that many women together however, I will say it is probably with me, Kenya, and Ramona. It does focus a lot on what is going on with myself and Ramona, with Kenya weighing in.
To what extent do they break the fourth wall?
LL: This is different than any other Real Housewives franchise because we discuss what it is like to be on each of our franchises, the stresses of that, and the hats we wear, whether it be raising children or trying to be businesswomen. We also discuss what has happened in the past on our shows, diving into the history. There is a lot of fourth wall which comes down. I think that is a very interesting dynamic on this trip.
Jill and Dorinda are both appearing on Ultimate Girls Trip: Season 2. Have you spoken with them on how their season goes down?
LL: Of course, I have (laughs), and it was a lot! On our trip, we got to visit the Turks and Caicos. I think hosting your own trip at your own home has got to be a lot more work than anticipated. I do not think it was an easy time, but I heard it is going to be highly dramatic. Jill mentioned she had her fair share of drama. I think we can expect a great trip in the Berkshires or rather the Berserkshires.
Carole Radziwill still speaks of you to this day. It has been several seasons since she has been a cast member on the show. Is there an off-camera feud fans are not aware of? Why does she still appear to have beef with you?
LL: I never knew Carole personally before she started on the show. I did not even know who she was before the show. I also never encountered her after the show. Carole has not been all that positive since being let go. We were not in a great place prior to that, so it is no surprise. She’s been off the show for a while, so it’s like, girl move on!
A lot of behind-the-scenes tea was spilt in the book Not All Diamonds and Rosé by Dave Quinn. What do you think about the revelation that Sonja Morgan let men “put lit cigarettes in her vagina?”
LL: I really don’t want to comment on that because I found it ridiculous that first Heather would even say it and second that they would even print it. I understand why they came out with these stories because they do sell. I haven’t read the book in its entirety yet, though. I am so forward-thinking and focused on my cabaret shows that I don’t want to give it that energy.
You’ve had some great seasons and some rough seasons. What has been your favorite season thus far?
LL: Probably Season 4, particularly the trip we did to Marrakesh—even though I almost got killed on a camel. It was such a fabulous trip. We had this amazing house. There were just so many hilarious moments between me, Jill, Alex, and Ramona.
Your cabaret shows have grown tremendously. What can we expect from A Very Countess Christmas?
LL: It is an all-new show with an entirely different concept. I have a new director, Richard J Alexander, who also works with Kristin Chenoweth and Barbra Streisand. Richard came to my early shows at Feinstein’s/54 Below and told me I was going to be a big star and that he needed to get me an agent who can take the show to the next level, which he did. I am very lucky to work with such an icon in the business, as well as Billy Stritch, who has been my musical director since I started cabaret. I am working with two incredibly talented people. This show is all about Christmas! I do not have a roster of guests this time around. I am headlining the entire show and performing a variety of hits, including my new song “What Do I Want for Christmas?” which was written by Bruce Roberts, who has written for Whitney Houston. I will be turning classic Christmas tunes on their head, telling stories, performing my songs like “Money Can’t Buy You Class,” and doing a Q&A with the audience. You may even see some other housewives make an appearance!
What do you feel about Sonja Morgan venturing into her own comedy cabaret titled Sonja in Your City? Have you gone to her show?
LL: I have not. I was traveling, and the moment I arrived back in New York, I went straight into cabaret rehearsals. I love Sonja. Let her do her thing. Have you been to it? Have you heard about it? It’s a different show. I wish her well as always because I love her.
Finally, is it true you are launching an alcohol-free rosé?
LL: I am super excited about my sparking fosé because there is nothing on the market like it!
We wanted something we could drink that is presentable. This is a great alternative because it is in a beautifully packaged bottle which is irreconcilable from rosé. Moreover, it is low-calorie, tastes delicious, and even contains euphorics which make you feel great. I want to take the stigma out of not drinking, and this is a great alternative. Most of the time, when one asks for a mocktail at a bar, it is loaded with sugar and just doesn’t taste right. This is an excellent alternative.
Find out about upcoming performances at CountessLuann.com