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Vanderpump Rules' Lala Kent On The Realities Of Reality TV

People

Lala Kent arrived on Andy Cohen's Vanderpump Rules during its fourth season and has since stolen all headlines surrounding the show.


Young (aged just 27) , pretty and flirty, she was the perfect addition to a show caught up in the drama of a busy L.A restaurant. Assimiliating well with the cast and story lines, between love interests and faux-friendships, as reality TV stars go, she's someone that is sure to keep you watching.

And while it may be easy to judge those on the show for antics and drama, it's off camera that you perhaps get a better glimpse of the person on television. Kent is currently using her platform (which includes a whopping 470k Instagram following) to help causes close to her heart. She launched an initiative with her Pump colleagues Scheana Marie and Ariana Medix to free the orcas from SeaWorld to critical acclaim. The ladies will work in conjunction with PETA and other celebrities to garner support for the release of the orcas into a seaside sanctuary. "When I saw the documentary Blackfish it literally changed my entire life," says Kent in the promotional video for the campaign.

Lala Kent sat down with SWAAY to answer some of our pressing questions regarding reality television, social media and music. The star got candid on the realities of life behind the camera of Vanderpump Rules which you can currently binge on Hulu.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Salt Lake City, but I wasn't raised in a religious home— that was weird for a family in Utah to not participate in the main religion. I had all the freedom in the world, grew up in an open family. Nothing was off limits to discuss. My mom and dad started prepping me at a young age to become whatever my heart desired. Still to this day they think I could be president if I “really wanted to be". Pretty silly, but cute.

How were you approached for Vanderpump?

It was super organic. I have been eating at Sur for ten years. When Lisa saw me interacting with some of the bartenders and waitresses, she approached my best friend who worked at Sur at the time, got my contact info, and here we are, going on three seasons later.

What is the reality of reality tv? Are you portrayed fairly?

I believe everyone is portrayed fairly. Everything that is seen on our show is real. I think, we, as Vanderpump Rules cast members, pride ourselves on the authenticity of our show.

What is the shooting experience like and how often are they filming you?

As hectic as our film schedule is and has hard as it is to talk about our real lives, shooting is so much fun. We film every single week usually every day. It's a long process, but pretty therapeutic at times.

Do they give you advance notice or is it spontaneous? How real are the relationships, are they exaggerated?

They always let us know beforehand what to expect for the week- because it is all real and we are living out our lives free of a script. Nothing is ever set in stone, things change quickly. Everything from the loving, the fight, the relationships, they are all genuine.

Do you look at it as a favorable experience?

Overall, yes. It has taught me so much and helped me grow into a person who wasn't just raised by her family and living by the book. Not only have opportunities come from it, but I've gained knowledge and perspective as well.

Is reality tv empowering as a woman?

I think being a woman, in general, is empowering. Whether you're a movie star, reality personality, model, waitress, flipping burgers, I don't care. I am living for women these days and what we bring to the table in any atmosphere. Such an incredible time for my chicks!

Lala Kent

Lala Kent

What's your relationship with social media?

It's love-hate. I become obsessed with it, then I want to delete it. Once I learned to turn comments off on certain photos, avoid DM's, and laugh at mean comments I see, I started losing my bitterness towards the Gram.

On the show why do you think people are so intrigued by you?

I'm that chick that just keeps it real. I work through my issues, but I'm also a hothead. I think people with colorful language, a “don't fuck with me" attitude, and a soft heart are intriguing... I think I have that quality. I'm the chick you wanna watch but are grateful you don't have to live in my head!

What was your favorite/worst day of filming?

The worst day of filming would have to be all of the season. I was all alone and feeling very weak. Best days are always when I get to work on music and create that artistic atmosphere. It's like nothing else.

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Politics

Michael Bloomberg Can’t Handle A Woman With A Voice (aka Elizabeth Warren)

Elizabeth Warren majorly called out "arrogant billionaire" Michael Bloomberg for his history of silencing women through NDAs and closed-door settlement negotiations. Sound familiar? Probably because we already have a president like that. At this point, Bloomberg may just spend the remainder of his (hopefully) ill-fated presidential campaign roasting on a spit over a fire sparked by the righteous anger of women. A lesser punishment than he deserves, if you ask me.


At last night's Democratic debate, Michael Bloomberg could barely stammer out an answer to a question on whether or not he would release any of his former accusers from their nondisclosure agreements. His unsatisfactory response was basically a halting list of what he has done for certain nondescript women in his time at City Hall and within his own company.

But that certainly wasn't enough for Elizabeth Warren, nor should it be, who perfectly rephrased his defense as, "I've been nice to some women." Michael Bloomberg is basically that weird, problematic Uncle that claims he can't be racist, "Because I have a Black friend." In a society where power is almost always in the hands of straight, white, cisgendered, men being "nice" to a lucky few is in no way a defense for benefiting from and building upon the systematic silencing of all marginalized communities, let alone women. Stop and frisk, anybody?

Here is a brief clip of the Warren v. Bloomberg exchange, which I highly recommend. It is absolutely (and hilariously) savage.

But let's talk about the deeper issues at hand here (other than Warren being an eloquent badass).

Michael Bloomberg has been sued multiple times, yet each time he was able to snake his way out of the problem with the help of his greatest and only superpower: cold, hard cash. Each time these allegations have come up, in Warren's words, he throws "a chunk of money at the table" and "forces the woman to wear a muzzle for the rest of her life."

As reported by Claire Lampen of The Cut, here are just a few of his prior indiscretions.

  • Pregnancy discrimination—Bloomberg reportedly told a former employee of his to "kill it," in reference to her developing fetus.
  • Sexual harassment—You could literally write a book on this subject (someone did), but for the sake of brevity...
"I'd like to do that piece of meat" - Michael Bloomberg in reference to various women at his company.
  • Undermining #MeToo—Not only did he defend the accused, but he went on the disparage accusers every step of the way.
  • Defaming transgender people—Though he claims to support trans rights, he has also been qupted multiple times as referring to trans women as "some guy wearing a dress."
Yeah... That's not a winning formula for me, Mike.

Furthermore, Warren points out the simple fact that if, as Bloomberg claims, these instances were simply big misunderstandings (He was just joking around!) then why go to all the trouble to cover them up? Does Michael Bloomberg think women can't take a joke? Or can we only surmise that the truth of these events are far darker and dirtier than we could even imagine?

Certain commentators have called Elizabeth Warren's debate presence "agressive," especially in regards to this instance but also continually throughout her entire campaign. If asking poignant questions to known abusers who are seeking to further their own political power is considered "aggressive," then I am here for it. Bring on the aggressive women, please and thank you.

Calling a woman aggressive for being confidant and direct is a gendered complaint. You don't see anyone whining that Bernie is "aggressive" when he goes off on a screaming tangent. Also, have you seen our president? He's basically the poster boy for political temper tantrums. But still, it's Warren that is deemed "aggressive," for honing in on the exact issues that need to be considered in this upcoming election.

This type of derisory label is another aspect of how our society silences women—much like Bloomberg and his NDAs. Because "silencing" is more than just putting a "muzzle" on someone. It's refusing to listen to a person's cries for help. It's disregarding what a woman has to say, because she's too "aggressive." It's taking away someone's power by refusing to truly hear their side of the story. Because if you aren't listening, responding, or even just respecting someone's words, they may well have said nothing at all.

"Silence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, the unheard." - Renecca Solnit

Nondiscolusure agreements are a legal gag for people who have experienced harassment and abuse at the hands of those above them.

Gretchen Carlson, possibly the most famous person subject to an NDA, is one of these people. Her story is so well-known that it has even been immortalized on film, in 2019's Bombshell. Yet she is still forced to maintain her silence. She cannot tell her side of the story even when Hollywood can. She was cajoled into her current position after facing harassment in her workplace. She didn't have the power then to do more than accept her fate. And now, she doesn't have the power to tell her story.

She was, and still is being, silenced.

After her experiences, Carlson was moved to fight for all women to have the power over their truths. In a recent op-ed for the New York Times she declared: "I want my voice back. I want it back for me, and for all those silenced by forced arbitration and NDAs."

Carlson may still be tied to her NDA, but there are those who go a different route. Celeste Headlee, who wrote an op-ed on SWAAY about her experience, chose to break her nondisclosure agreement. Though doing so undoubtedly opened her up to numerous legal ramifications, she knew that she could no longer "sign away [her] right to justice."

Because that is what an NDA is all about, signing away a person's right to justice. Their story is their justice. Their NDA is a lock and key. Headlee may have broken through that lock, but she must face the consequences.

Neither Carlson nor Headlee are any less brave for how they have handled their journeys. They are both actively working to shift the cultural and political norms that led them here, and their work will, with hope and time, lead to real change. But they are just two drops in an ocean of women who are held hostage by their nondisclosure agreements, by men like Michael Bloomberg, and by a society that would rather silence them than let truth and justice be had.