Lala Kent hasn’t had a drink in 42 days.
The 28-year-old breakout star of Bravo’s cult favorite reality show Vanderpump Rules has had a year. First, she went public with her very wealthy, very mysterious (and, until recently, very married) boyfriend, Randall Emmett. Then the two got engaged on September 1 during a birthday trip to Cabo San Lucas (no, the Bravo cameras were not rolling).
Her dad passed away in April. She grieved, dying her hair a rich chestnut brown as if it were a mood ring. She stopped exercising and was annoyingly forced to refute pregnancy rumors as a result in July. Her makeup brand Give Them Lala Beauty grew from a six-item collection to over 50 products by the time we chat. Her movie The Row (produced by Emmett) already has a sequel in the works. And in season 6 of VPR, she went from the single, body-shaming, ostracized newcomer to the loud, unapologetic voice of reason who's friends with everyone.
Maybe most notable of all, she self-medicated with lots of alcohol and pot after the death of her dad. After falling into a scary pattern, Kent quietly decided in May to stop drinking altogether, only to get caught by paparazzi four months later downing tequila shots with co-stars Stassi Schroeder and Brittany Cartwright at a boozy brunch in West Hollywood (more on that later).
And now, three years after Kent joined the Vanderpump Rules cast like a ray of beaming light-and also like a hurricane-she finds herself in a very different position. Sober, bride-to-be, and a beauty industry mogul in the making.
But let's back up for a second. If you aren’t watching Vanderpump Rules, first, who are you, and second, know that Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga are all committed fans. The series is a wildly popular spinoff of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that deep dives into the lives of the staff of Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump’s SUR restaurant (that is, Sexy Unique Restaurant restaurant, the best business name in the history of the world).
This is a show where cast members regularly address their abundant Adderall usage, cheat on their significant others constantly (sometimes on-camera), go through season-long breakups with special revenge subplots, and treat the act of partying with the seriousness of maestro'ing a complicated Mozart performance at the Met.
VPR is now entering its mind-boggling seventh season (Dec. 3 on Bravo), and recently earned Bravo's most prestigious badge of honor: not one, not two, but three reunion specials hosted by Andy Cohen.
A few things we’ve learned about Kent since falling in love at first hostess shift:
- She adores a topless moment.
- Until recently, she had a top-secret, much older, married bae who she called “my man.” He gifted her things like designer bags and Range Rovers, sparking something like envy among her Vanderpump castmates.
- She may have dabbled in yacht girling.
- To relax, she sucks on a milk bottle made for actual babies.
- She sparked several of 2018's greatest memes, including “It’s not about the pasta!” and “I can see that everybody here has not been working on our summer bodies.”
- She is an unintentional feminist icon.
And it’s easy to gather all of the above and put Kent in a typical reality star box, heavy on surface, low on substance, gone in fifteen minutes or less. But this feisty force of nature has far bigger plans. Kylie Jenner-size plans.
“It’s exhausting being a chick,” Kent tells me from her seat in a booth at Cosmopolitan HQ during a rainy afternoon in early November. Her hair is still that significant shade of brown, she's wearing a tank top and sweatpants, and she’s spent the past few hours posing in sky-high heels.
But the fatigue she’s talking about has nothing to do with her grief, her sobriety, or the pain of plastic stiletto boots. Kent is talking about makeup.
There’s this thing, when you meet a celebrity in person, and they look wildly different from the way they do on screen. Their head is enormous, or they’re about five inches shorter than you thought. Kent is not such a star. Fans of the show have seen Kent in a variety of lewks, from full beat face (heavy on the negative space cat eye and ‘90s lip liner) to completely fresh-faced, perfect tan skin, top bun, and zero makeup. In person, Kent falls into the latter state of being. Her newly brown hair is off her face, she’s working her beauty line’s golden eye shadow, but the heart-shaped face we’ve come to adore on TV looks exactly the same off-camera.
And her trademark ballsy attitude and uninhibited vibe is very real, it turns out. She speaks with confidence, looking directly into the eyes of whoever she's talking to. She's focused, present, and has great posture. She says goodbye to the various stylists and creative team members with full body hugs, even though they'd just met that morning. Every now and then, she dances in her seat.
During our peppy conversation, Kent talks in her signature swagger about Emmett (she calls him "Daddy husband"), her sobriety ("I said enough's enough"), growing up in a naked house ("Bring the boobies out, make the booty clap"), her feminist icon status ("My dad taught me, Never let anybody tell you no"), and the runaway success of Give Them Lala Beauty below.
A few months ago, Kent's boyfriend Randall Emmett proposed to her after finalizing his divorce from actress Ambyr Childers. They went public in early 2018, and Kent refers to him as "Rand" on VPR season 7.
"There’s like, that saying where you marry people that are like your dad. And I never thought that that was true until I totally found someone who is just like my dad, which I am so grateful for because my dad treated my mom like she was queen of all queens. So, we actually met at Sur. How crazy is that?! He came in for a Christmas dinner and sent his assistant up to me and asked me if he could get my manager’s contact info because he wanted me in a film. And so then we started that whole process, I booked the film and then we just had this instant connection.
"It was my first season of Vanderpump. I think only like, three episodes had aired of Season 4. I was like, OK, I’m going to let my guard down. Whatever’s happening, I like it, you know? He makes me laugh. Give it a try. And we’ve been together almost three years now."
Before Emmett's divorce, Kent kept his identity a secret. So when all those gifts started showing up on the show, her castmates mocked her, tossing around the phrases "gold digger" and "sugar daddy." Kent didn't take it well:
"That will go down as one of the toughest times in my entire life. I was just so madly in love with this person, and it was so different from anyone I had ever dated before, and so my feelings got hurt when people spoke about the money aspect, because that’s never really been my type of personality to go for such shallow things.
"He’s my best friend. He takes care of my heart and my soul. That’s important when you’re in a relationship. You have to marry your best friend. What’s better than being able to have sex with your best friend?"
After her dad suddenly passed away in April, Kent started to notice her drinking and drug use change. She found herself numbing herself all day long with booze and pot. At press time, she's been sober for 42 days.
"I felt like I was falling into a pattern. But I am actually, for real now, completely sober. I’ve never been happier. So I know it’s something I’ll have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, but it’s the right decision for me.
"My fiancé always says I have this sixth sense where I know when things have gotten to a point where they need to change, so I can’t really pinpoint one incident. When I really came to the conclusion that I am in that zone of having a problem, I just said enough’s enough. I picked up the phone, I called this sponsor that had been recommended to me. It’s the best decision of my whole life.
"Not many people shed a light on that. People in my generation… it’s very common. I hope that people can look at my story and just feel a little bit inspired. I’ve learned a lot. And I’m so happy, I hope that I can just share with everybody because my life is just completely different.
"Drinking for me was medication instead of celebration. Instead of going and talking to somebody about losing someone extremely important to you, we turn to things to medicate. I just want to make sure that I put my voice out there to say, reach out to someone, reach out to a grief counselor, partner with someone who can make you feel like you’re not by yourself and going completely insane. Because when you lose someone ... I’ve never had this type of heartache in my whole life, and it’s foreign."
Over the summer, Kent decided to stop exercising and began eating whatever she wanted. She purposefully gained some weight, which prompted fans to theorize that she was pregnant. But she was changing her lifestyle for a very different reason.
"When people were asking if I was pregnant, it was like, oh my gosh, this is not cool… And, to be honest, I was so happy with my body when I had packed on a few pounds and wasn’t working out because it’s like, I was enjoying my life. I was eating bread and cheese, and I just felt like a real woman.
"I don’t think you need to be a bodybuilder in order to be in the fitness category, just maintain a healthy lifestyle. We all have different body types. Not everyone is always going to be a size two and have a six-pack and be like, bangin’ all the time. Enjoy your life. If your heart is healthy and your mind is healthy, you’re living the life.
"I have a trainer who kind of does everything for me, so I’m like, so oblivious. I know that we have abs everyday. Then we do a leg day, we do a chest day, and she keeps me where I need to be, where I feel comfortable and confident, but also doesn’t take away my bread and my cheese. I can’t do the diet restrictions. I think that’s such a terrible thing to do to yourself."
Fans of the show wonder just how real the drama, breakups, scandals, and friendships really are when the cameras aren't rolling. According to Kent, things are even more real than they seem.
"It’s something that I’ve always had but never got to vocalize except, you know, season six was like, the comin’ out. And I don’t know if I’m… actually, Ariana said I am a feminist because that just means equality of genders. So yes, I am a feminist. But like, I think it’s important to like, not be… for me, the female body is beautiful. When I look at it, I don’t think like, oh my gosh, sex and sex only. I think it’s just gorgeous. So yeah, I’m all about like, bringing the boobies out, making the booty clap, you know? And encouraging other women, you know? Women lifting up women is like, the most beautiful thing in the world.
"'Pasta' legitimately means pasta. How sad is that? I wish that it could mean something cooler, but it was about the fettuccine. Sadly. No, actually as far as my drug use goes it's like, smoking marijuana. So no, it wasn’t anything as fun as drugs. Sorry. Just pasta."
What’s your current relationship with James like? As of today?
"Nonexistent really. I’m civilized. Like, I don’t stab him when I see him. I just say hi."
Thoughts on Brittany and Jax’s union?
"Oh my gosh, I love them so much. Yes, I actually do. That situation, as heartbreaking as it was for her, was such a blessing in disguise. I think it woke Jax up to his very core. We just took them to Mexico. I gave them a trip to Mexico for their engagement present."
"Yes, my fiancé and I. And we had the best time. They’re like, the funnest couple. So yeah, I have total faith. I mostly spend time with Katie and Schwartzie. Jax and Brittany. The people that are in couples. And now Stassi and Beau, her new guy! Because it’s easier. Me and my fiancé are very needy, we like to be together all the time. So he and I like to hang out with couples because then we can all hang out together."
Kent's first attempt at becoming a household name? Turning her beauty line into a billion-dollar brand. Today, she launches her first style capsule collection, a limited-edition pair of sweatshirts, on sale tonight.
"I’ve always thought of my face as the perfect canvas. I’ve loved painting it since the time I was like, six years old. So I thought, let’s attempt to do something. And in the course of a year, we’ve gone from six lip products to over 50 products.
"Give Them Lala Beauty is doing so well, I would like to expand into all areas from moisturizers to makeup. That’s why I named it 'beauty.' Because I don’t want a limit on what we can provide for all of my ladies. And gents. You know? Lala Beauty does not discriminate."
So you're the new Kylie Jenner?
"I mean, let’s not get carried away, but, like, kind of."
Photographer: Ruben Chamorro. Fashion Stylist: Tiffany Reid. Creative Director: Abby Silverman. Senior Visuals Editor: Raydene Salinas Hansen. Hair: Traci Henningsen. Makeup: Naohmie Nelson using Give Them Lala Beauty lip gloss, eyeliner, and highlighters.
On Lala (blue dress): dress by Cynthia Rowley; jacket by Milly; hat by Ralph Lauren; boots by Aquazzura; earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane. On Lala (denim look): jacket by Each X Other; shorts by Moussy; boots by Malone Souliers; rings by Fallon and Martine Ali; necklaces by Jennifer Fisher, Lihte, and Lady Grey; earrings by Ryan Storer. On Lala (dark trench look): trench by Closed; boots by Aquazzura; earrings by Annaliz Salvador and J Hardyment; rings by Jennifer Fisher, Lady Grey, Missona, and Mondo Mondo.
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