Never try to predict the likes of Lisa Rinna.
“I heard someone say, ‘Hide those hideous boots! Lisa’s gonna hate these,’” the actress says over the phone from Los Angeles the day after our shoot with Alexa. “I was like, ‘What boots?’ They took them out and I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? These are the coolest things ever, they make the outfit!’”
It’s part of her approach to both life and work, which is that “I say yes more than I say no,” says the actress and ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ star. “Right now in my life, I’m really, really free. I’m not embarrassed, I’ll do anything. And that makes things easier.
At 58, she is a sort of TV Tabasco. If you want to spice up a show, just add Rinna. During the height of the soap operas of the early ’90s, she joined “Days of Our Lives” as the new love interest of fan favorite Bo Brady (Peter Reckell). She moved on to Aaron Spelling’s late-night soap opera “Melrose Place” and had a guest spot on Kristen Bell’s first black teen “Veronica Mars.” She’s been on “Dancing With the Stars” and hosted the SoapNet show “Soap Talk,” not to mention writing three books and releasing a fitness tape and QVC fashion line, before finding a spot on one of the defining reality shows of the last 15 years. years.
His knack for causing trouble is widely recognized as a key revitalization of the Andy Cohen franchise. Because Rinna, more than most, understands how to woo drama. And she serves it up every week on “Housewives,” with a wink. “The person on the show is a version of me for when people throw bullshit at me,” she says. “I do things on the show that I would never do in real life. My real life is very beautiful and quiet.
Rinna will be the first to tell you that she wasn’t always so sure about her career. “I don’t know how I got here, all I know is that it’s really good,” she says. “I don’t care if I look ridiculous, and it’s super freeing. There were a lot of obstacles. I definitely didn’t have that path back then. It’s been 10 or 15 years.”
One hurdle, since transformed into a central part of the Rinna brand, was the scrutiny of her now-iconic labia majora. As she revealed on “Today” in 2009, she had silicone injected into her upper lip when she was in her early 20s, on top of the trend. Gradually, these injections hardened into the scar tissue, leading it to reduction and remodeling surgery.
Her exaggerated (even reduced) pout became one of Rinna’s trademark looks, along with her shag haircut. So naturally her make-up line, Rinna Beauty, started with a series of lip kits and a plumper. “I mean, you see my name, you kinda know what you’re going to get,” she jokes. “It’s not just about having big lips, it’s about having big, healthy, moist lips.” She’s quick to point out that her plumper doesn’t use the chili-derived ingredient, capsaicin, that most plumping products use. “We use something that contains mint. It’s a pleasant experience, unlike ‘Oh my god, my lips are really irritated,’” she explains.
“I really wanted to do this 15 years ago, but I couldn’t make a deal with anyone,” she says of Rinna Beauty, which launched in November 2020 after finally finding the right fit. company to partner with. “And then COVID hit, and we launched a lip kit just when everyone was wearing masks!” she says. “But it took off like crazy, so now I feel like it’s meant to be.”
Rinna follows suit, wearing her mark at every opportunity. “I wear the ‘Notice Me’ lip liner, which everyone loves,” she says. “You cover your whole lip with it. And then I wear the ‘Mrs. Hamlin lipstick on top.
That “Mrs. Hamlin”, a pink blush, seems like a joke to Rinna and her husband, actor Harry Hamlin, whom she married in 1997 and with whom she has two daughters, Amelia Gray Hamlin and Delilah Belle Hamlin . (With a still spicy wedding.)
“You know what? Harry doesn’t like red lips,” Rinna laughs. “He thinks women get bitchy when they wear lipstick. I think his mother wore a red lip. So I’m like, ‘OK, okay, whatever you need, honey.’ I never wear red lips when I’m with him.
But that resolve was tested when she and Hamlin co-starred in “Chicago” on Broadway in 2007. “Roxie Hart wears a red lip!” she says. “So I was like, ‘Honey, you’re going to have to get over this for the next three months.’ It was good, but we still laugh about it.
Hamlin, Rinna says, doesn’t have an Instagram account. “He lives his life completely free, and it’s quite wonderful to watch.” But he’s always up for popping up on Rinna’s feed. A reel earlier this month shows her dancing on their patio as he trims foliage, both dressed in floppy sun hats. “He reminds us all the time that whatever other people think of you is none of your business.”
And what other people think of Rinna is… a lot. Since joining “RHOBH” in its fifth season in 2014, she has polarized audiences with her instinct for digging into social pain points (a compilation called “Lisa Rinna’s Meanest Moments” of the show has 1.6 million views on YouTube).
“I just try not to pay attention to [comments], really. I mean, I’m human, so of course it’s going to get me once in a while. But I think at this point I probably acquired elephant skin,” she says. “You have to get to a point where you’re like, listen, what I’m doing is for entertainment.”
Rinna, a longtime gay rights advocate and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fan, has recently embraced wigs as a way to lean into her character’s character look, both on “RHOBH” and the Red carpet ; she wore a dramatic long mane at last month’s GLAAD awards. “What wigs do is give me this characterization of being someone a little different from me,” she reflects. “For me, it’s like a drag. I understand drag much better than ever. You can express yourself differently, get out of your comfort zone. She even names her wigs and several Rinna Beauty lip kits after them.
But the new season of “RHOBH,” which premieres May 11, wasn’t fun for Rinna at all. His mother, Lois, died in November, a loss she is still going through. “I try to allow myself to feel everything that I feel,” she says. “It’s not just sadness. Grieving is a long process. And you’re going to see him play on the show.
Around the same time, she fell with COVID. “It was bad – I lost my taste and smell. But it really allowed me to sit and cry at that time. Meaning when she wasn’t on a video call for l show. “They FaceTime a lot while I had COVID. So I think you’re going to see that. It’s not always cute.”
Even through the hardships of the past year, she feels grateful to be at the peak of her career at an age when too many women are sidelined by the industry.
“I think I’m an outlier,” she says with her typical candor. “I don’t think that happens for a lot of women. I wish it was more. Not many people I started with are still in the business.
She credits her endurance to her superhuman work ethic and “my enormous narcissistic desire to be approved by the world, probably,” but also says her 50s are much better than she ever imagined. “You really don’t give anything anymore. If you are healthy and taking care of yourself, you feel good because you are smarter than ever. I love my 50s. I think this is the greatest era.
Like her idols, Jane Fonda and Cher and Dolly Parton, Rinna plans to continue operating for decades. “My husband is working with Jane Fonda at the moment, and she said to him, ‘Harry, I’m 85 and I’m doing more movies than I’ve ever done in my career.’ I mean, if that doesn’t give you hope to keep going and not underestimate yourself, I don’t know what does!”
Publisher: Serena French; Stylist: Ashley Pruitt at The only agency; Fashion assistant: Laura Camargo; Photo editor: Jessica Hober; Hairstyle: Bryan Fisher of A-Frame; Makeup: Steven Tabimba; Location: 1 West Hollywood Hotel; 8490 Sunset Blvd.