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!
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.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.