'Real Housewives of OC' Newcomer Lydia McLaughlin Says Gretchen 'Never Gave Me a Chance'
Thirty-two-year-old Lydia McLaughlin of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" looks like an animated Disney princess, which makes sense when you consider her life in Orange County. She counts her blessings, big-time: a great husband of seven years; deep, strong ties to her local church; two adorable kids; her mom living across the street ("She's my best friend ... but we have a lot of conflict"); and a rewarding career at Beverly Hills Lifestyle magazine.
Anyone would ask, and her friends did ask. Why screw it all up with a reality show?
"This is a rare opportunity ... to learn and grow and become a better person," says the earnest beach girl. No wonder Gretchen acted like a jealous eighth-grader at the 47,887th Dinner Party From Hell in a recent episode. And no wonder Lydia says that, even after months of shooting, they're still not friends. Lydia actually seems -- get ready -- nice.
Why did you decide to live in Orange County instead of Beverly Hills?
We put down roots here. It's been 12 years, and we love it. We can zip up to L.A. a couple of times a week, but we're beach people. I love the beach, the laid-back vibe of Orange County.
Check out Lydia's digs:
Does it still feel laid-back now that you're a part of the show?
Yes! My lifestyle is pretty laid-back. I'm still taking my kids to the park and the beach, so the show is fun, but I don't want that to define me or become overpowering in my life.
You're a devout Christian, right?
Actually, my parents were hippies and my dad actually started an ashram in India. So I grew up with a lot of different religions. Spirituality was a very open conversation in my household, and I became a Christian when I was in high school. It was a personal thing I decided to pursue. My husband and I are really involved in our church and try to incorporate that into our everyday life.
Has there been a separation of church and cameras?
I don't think you will see us at church. I'm a big fan of showing your face, and only when necessary, use words. I'm not the type of person that would walk into a room and go, "Hello, I'm a Christian, look at my Bible." I try to let my actions reflect my faith. And in a reality show, that's challenging because the whole thing is based upon he said/she said and drama. It's gonna be interesting to see how it all pans out.
Have you developed a strategy for these dinner parties?
I do need a strategy, as you saw in the episode. I was like a deer in headlights. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I think that strategy would have been a good call. Where were you when I went to that dinner party? (Laughs) So, no, I didn't have a strategy, but note to self: I need one.
Is Gretchen as scary as she seems? Cold?
You think Gretchen is scary? I think that you can see that come through. You'll see a lot of that this season. She and I never really got a chance to be friends, because I walked into the party with Alexis. Like Tamra says, "guilt by association." I think Gretchen really never gave me a chance. And I had a little bit of a conflict with Slade, which we'll see on the show. We just had a lot of obstacles.