Lala Kent has not always had an easy time on the incredible restaurant reality show Vanderpump Rules. The 28-year-old SUR hostess was met with the typical new-cast-member scorn upon arrival in season four, immediately earning the ire of her fellow castmates after saying she had to take off work for a photo shoot — when really it was not for a photo shoot. She flirted with Jax and had an unfortunate semi-relationship with James Kennedy, former SUR busser and current SUR DJ. Rumors that she was involved with a married man (which she denies), evidenced by Range Rovers and Louboutins and trips on private jets (on a SUR hostess salary?), swirled before she briefly exited the show, citing the negative impact it had on her real, non-SUR relationships.
But this season she’s back at SUR, hostessing once again. And thank god! The takes-no-shit Kent serves as a necessary foil in Trump-era Vanderpump Rules, pushing the women to band together against the often disrespectful, often disloyal, always-using-words-wrong men, frequently leaving them nonplussed and slack-jawed at the defiant women that suddenly surround them. She’s great.
She also drank milk from a baby bottle recently, which was very intriguing to me. What is the deal with that baby bottle? I spoke with her recently from her home in Los Angeles to ask her mostly about the baby bottle, and also a few other things.
You said on the show that drinking milk from a baby bottle helps with your anxiety. When did you start doing it?
I started when I was first put on my anti-anxiety meds — I’m on a very small dose of anything that my doctor has given me, because I don’t prefer meds. You know, there are a lot of people who say if you put an elastic band around your wrist, and your anxiety is out of control, you can flick it against your wrist. For me it was like … having something in my mouth makes me fall asleep. And, obviously, if I have something to suck on I don’t want to choke and die.
So a baby bottle was just the next thing. I’d watch babies do it and it’s so soothing for them. So I was like, okay, maybe it would still be soothing for a grown-ass woman. And it is! It’s not something that I do on a daily basis, but anytime I’m going into intense situations I always make sure to pack it.
And is it just a thing you came up with yourself, or did you hear about other people doing it?
I did it on my own. I just, like I said, looked at little kids who find comfort with their binkies or their baby bottles and I said: let’s just test it out. And, you know, at night is when my mind keeps going. So it kind of takes the focus off of what I’m thinking about and puts it towards … sucking, I guess.
So, practically speaking, when you travel do you just ask room service for warm milk and honey?
Yeah, I just call down to room service and ask them for warm milk and honey, and they always think I’m a weirdo. Then I just make the bottle in my room and call it a night. Turn on some Friends or Family Guy and suck on my bubba.
Oh, that reminds me! Did you call your bottle “bubba” before you knew that was Tom and Katie’s nickname for each other? Is it inspired by that in any way?
No, not at all; I’ve always called baby bottles “bubbas.” So, no. But I love that they call each other that.
Okay, so on a non-bottle note — I read that you’re venturing into more scripted stuff now. How is that going, what have you been working on?
I am absolutely obsessed with acting and I’ve been in the arts since I was 12. I kind of signed on to Vanderpump Rules as something to act as a springboard, and it’s been absolutely epic, you know — that show has brought so many opportunities to me. I have a film called The Row coming out; it’s a horror film and I play the lead.
Oh that’s great.
I originally booked a supporting role but they moved me to the lead — that comes out July 27. So I’m extremely excited for that. And I did a film called The Vault, and that has Theo Rossi, who used to be a part of Sons of Anarchy. I play opposite Samira Wiley, who you would know from Orange Is the New Black and Handmaid’s Tale, so that was pretty epic. I just wrapped that about two weeks ago. And, obviously, other things are in the works. So I’m extremely excited about what’s to come as far as scripted work for me.
So did you act much before joining Vanderpump Rules?
Yeah, I moved out to L.A. for that reason. I always wanted to be an actress, that’s what I prefer to do. But … I went to this audition for Target and I looked at the sign-in sheet and it was very different from what I was used to. It, like, asked for how many followers you had on social media. And I wasn’t even a part of social media at that time. And I felt so intimidated that I left the audition, and — I kid you not — the next day was when I got the job opportunity for Vanderpump. You know, Lisa came up to me and asked if I wanted a job at SUR, and with that came the show. And obviously there have been bumps in the road when it comes to the show, and me leaving, but I can’t thank everyone enough. Because it’s been the ultimate springboard for me.
So Lisa approached you, and that’s how you got on the show?
Yeah. I’ve been going to SUR since I was 17 years old. Like, before Ken and Lisa even owned part of it. It was this teeny, tiny little boutique restaurant. So I knew a lot of the people who worked there, including the cast. I think she looked at that, and it was just an organic fit, you know, to have me be a part of the show on top of — you know, obviously I worked there as a hostess. But yeah, with the job as a hostess came the show.
I didn’t realize SUR existed before Ken and Lisa.
Yeah, I think it was an amazing partnership because Ken and Lisa just know the restaurant business inside and out. Just to have the Vanderpump and Todd come together with Guillermo and Natalie, who were the original openers and owners of the restaurant … the restaurant is huge now, and obviously known worldwide, so it worked out for everyone. But yeah, it was around before Ken and Lisa, and when I tell you it was tiny, it was like the most boutique restaurant — so cute. And now it’s like … even more cute and beautiful!
So another opportunity you’ve gotten from the show is your makeup line, Give Them Lala. How is that going?
It is thriving. I am so proud of my line, I can’t even begin to explain to you how I feel about it. I finally have a product that not only I have both hands and feet in, but it’s something that I would definitely wear even if it wasn’t my line. Because it’s just a quality product.
As the original Vanderpump lipstick creator, how do you feel about Katie’s new lipstick line?
The thing about it is — Katie’s is a collaboration with a brand, and my line is my own beauty line. So it’s not “Lala Kent by Anybody,” it’s strictly — there’s no direct competition. I do glosses and liners and I have a beauty line, whereas she has three lipsticks — which, by the way, are absolutely amazing. I went to her launch last night, and they feel like butter. But again I don’t have lipsticks, I have — as far as lips go — just my glosses. So I don’t know that I would say I’m an “original” of anything, because like I said, her’s is a collaboration whereas mine is — I have a full line.
So you don’t feel competitive.
Oh, no. I was rocking her lipstick last night and I know she feels the same way. She has been nothing but supportive of my line, and I will do nothing but support her as well.
I know you had a little bit of a run-in with Jennifer Lawrence. Can I ask what your relationship is like with her now? I saw you tweeted that you guys made up.
Everything’s good. So. Next question.
All right! I have a question about the drama currently happening in this season of Vanderpump Rules. How do you feel about the James and Kristen situation — do you think they hooked up?
You know, now when I watch it back … I feel like at the time, when you’re in it and living it, you never really know what’s happening. And then when you watch it back you kind of see how people are acting. And I think 100 percent nothing … like I would be willing to bet money on it that nothing happened. You know, he was so upset, and I remember that day I was just feeling for him so much. I think that Kristen has evolved tremendously, and I just don’t see them hooking up like that. You know?
They have such big hearts. They probably spoke about really deep things, they probably hugged and cried, and then went on a bike ride and, you know, were shitfaced.
Something I think is odd is that James admitting to “hanging out” with Kristen that night has been treated like it’s an admission of hooking up. I don’t get it.
I don’t either! It’s kind of like the whole thing with the pasta. Everyone was like, “Oh, it must have been a codeword for a drug.” It’s kind of like, “Oh, hang out means that they boned.” Like, no, guys, let’s just call it what it is. Sometimes things are as basic as they seem.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Vanderpump Rules airs Mondays on Bravo at 9 p.m. EST.