Photographer / Jones Crow @ GRID Agency
Styling / Eric Archibald @GRID Agency
Assistant Styling / Jenna Tyson
Hair / Michael Solis for GRID Agency
Makeup / – Rokael Lizama
BTS – Darrel D’Itri
Producer / Bryan Patrick Franklin @ GRID Productions
Story / Gina Tron
“I don’t take cheap shots,” she said.
Fans of the show would not argue that Lala’s presence made her female cast members of the show uncomfortable. Since she showed up, she has been a target. The females almost immediately accused her of pretty much being a prostitute. Initially, she (like all new female cast members) caught the eye of castmember and horndog Jax Taylor, who lied about his relationship with his girlfriend to aggressively flirt with Lala. She recently quit the show and her hostess job at SUR Restaurant & Lounge, which stands for Sexy Unique Restaurant Restaurant (yes that’s right) and Lounge.
“There’s only so much that one person who has a soul can take,” said Lala. “I feel like those people have lost their soul or have sold it along the way. Nothing affects them. People like that terrify me.”
She felt bullied by her castmates, sometimes relentlessly. Feelings from her childhood resurfaced.
“I was severely bullied throughout elementary, junior high and high school so when I graduated from high school I was like, ‘oh my gosh I finally get to be free,’ and then I come into SUR and it’s like this is a million times worse than when I was in school.”
She said she felt a dark, heavy energy at SUR. Her presence always caused a rift in the SUR social scene. But in the show’s fifth season, rumors ran rampant about Lala dating a married man, sleeping with him for expensive gifts. Lala called the reality show and restaurant environment toxic.
“I think that it was a toxic environment before (the taping of the first season) because the people on the show have been there for such a long time,” she said. “I don’t feel like they’ve ever been good people.”
She said it was rough being on a show where people constantly slut-shame one another.
“I ended up saying things and shaming women in a way that I never intended to,” said Lala. On the first episode of season 5, Lala told cast member Katie Maloney that it was clear she was not working on her summer body. Basically, Lala called her fat. Later, Lala apologized to Katie for the comment. Katie did not accept the apology nor did she take back her own insults to Lala. Katie stood by her own name calling of Lala. Katie had called Lala whore, and said she didn’t need to say sorry because she felt it to be true.
“I apologized for that (the summer body comment) so for them to still be coming at me as hard as they are with the whore comments isn’t right,” said Lala. “I get it. I may have fat shamed you (Katie) and I feel terrible. I have expressed that to you but what about all of the things that you all say to me on a regular basis like I suck dick for money and that I’m a whore and a slut?”
I asked Lala if she thinks Katie and some of the other SUR girls will ever respect her. She said absolutely not.
“There was one episode where Katie said thank you, Lala, for not going to Sonoma and that told me all I needed to know,” she said. “You (Katie) don’t hate me. You’re so terrified of me taking your man. That’s what it has to do with. That line right there just explained everything that I have been asking.”
Lala does still hang out with some cast members: James Kennedy who she calls her BFF. Ariana Madix. Lala and Ariana had dinner plans the week of our interview. She also keeps in touch with Scheana Shay. Lala said she wants to support her right now. There are reports that Scheana is going through a divorce.
Despite the negative experiences of Vanderpump Rules, Lala would do it all again in a heartbeat. “It has brought me a lot of opportunities and it has brought me a lot of confidence as well. After everything that these people have said to me on national television I’m still breathing.”
Lala said that she used to be obsessed with all things reality TV, the Real Housewives in particular. But she said after being on a reality show, watching reality TV no longer interests her because she now understands how it works. She wants to use the platform she has built from being on the show to bring awareness to animal issues, Orcas in particular. Lala also wants to bring awareness to anxiety and depression, which she said she personally suffers from.
She is working on a clothing line called Slick Chick which will launch in February. The line features chokers, tees, and sweatshirts. At least one of the tees is made for teens who have been kicked out of their home after coming out as gay or transgender. Proceeds from that tee will go to a homeless shelter.
Lala is writing and in the studio over four times a week, working on an EP. She wants her singing career to take off but said even if it doesn’t she will never stop making music. It’s her therapy, she said. In the meantime, she is making sure her EP is perfect.
“I’m taking my time because I’ve been on a reality show and because of that I can taken as a joke,” said Lala. “So I just want to make sure that what I put out there is something I’m very much proud of.”
Crystal Bustier top and shorts, Dolce & Gabbana.
First look: Snake embroidered lace slip dress, Gucci.