Haute Living got a chance to sit down with Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Kyle Richards to talk about the explosive second season of her hit show, her new book, the pitfalls of reality TV and much more.
Q: How’s the book tour been treating you?
The book tour has been so amazing. It’s exhausting with the traveling but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been really touched by that.
Q: What’s the feedback been like from your fans?
Everything from “Oh my God Kyle I went and bought all your make up tips” or “My hairs looking great cause I used the product you talked about in your book” to “Thank you for bringing the spark back in my marriage.” It’s just really nice to hear people say things like that.
Q: On the book tour and in general you tweet you a lot. You are very active on Twitter.
Q: How important is social media to you?
I grew up in an era where we would get fan mail delivered to our agent and you’d have to pick it up. It was very hard to get through all that stuff. To be able to interact with the fans of the show, I really prefer to call them viewers. I don’t know why but the word fan bothers me. It’s just amazing. The instant access to be able to answer viewer questions is awesome. Our viewers are unbelievably observant. I’ve never in my life seen anything like it. I cannot imagine anyone would say, “What nail polish did you have on at Farrah’s graduation?” But I remember because I’m like that. And then of course there’s the downside to Twitter. Which is very difficult, very painful. People tweet things and they don’t realize that you are a human being and that I actually read them. It’s not like I have an assistant reading them or tweeting for me, sometimes I think wow that really hurts. Other times I think God these people are so nice. It has the good and the bad.
Q: You are not an amateur to the entertainment business. You started at a very young age. How old we’re you when you began working in the industry?
Technically I was sticking my toe in around three years old. I think I first started getting a lot parts around four years old. But it’s so different reality television; it’s a completely different beast. And I intentionally use the word beast (laughs).
Q: NeNe Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta) always describes reality TV as “bittersweet.” There’s a lot of perks but there are also some bitter aspects to it.
I tend to agree with NeNe on that but that doesn’t quite grasp it enough, it is extremely bitter at times. It’s very difficult. If you would have told me it was difficult being on a reality show before I did this, I would think oh please, give me a break how hard could that be? But it is very difficult. People are judging you based on snippets of our lives and they’re not always privy to the back-story, which leads to certain things. They base their opinions on one moment and you want to scream out and say you don’t understand why or how. And you really can’t, a lot of times your hands are tied.
Q: I’ve always said that one thing about a reality show is that people feel like they know you, they’ve been in your home, they’ve seen your bedroom etc.
They’re so invested!
Yes! They’re so invested in our lives its unbelievable. That took some getting used to. Forgetting Twitter where the majority of the feedback is positive. But on the street people are so overwhelmingly positive and excited about the show. Strangers come up to me all the time and ask, “How is your sister?” I hear all the time “I’m the Kim in the relationship” Or ” I’m Kyle.” It’s funny to think people know that much about our lives.
Q: Was it therapeutic to write the book in that sense? To get out your thoughts on reality TV, about your family and maybe set the record straight on certain things so people can get to know you better.
I think that people get to know me a lot more reading this book, 100%. However I didn’t get into that much about how difficult reality television is. If I were to make a hand guide for my daughters of what I would want for them in life, what has worked for me, how to find the right man, how to have a happy marriage, how to look and feel your best this would be it. Give it to my daughters and be like here you go, you don’t want to listen to me? Read this! (laughs). It’s a sneaky way to get them to listen to me. There’s not a lot in there about the difficulties of reality television, but it is hard. Right now were meeting after going through the reunion, it’s horrible to have to spend that day like that with these women that you are actually friends with and care about. There have been a lot of things that have happened off camera, that the audience hasn’t seen, so when you address them on camera, which you don’t want to do, none of us want to rehash all those moments, but we have to. It’s all about being honest, when you’re very honest some people are highly sensitive, some people get their feelings hurt, you make up and then it airs! (laughs).
Q: If you could do without the reunion specials, would you do without it? Do you feel like it just rehashes too much negativity? Cause you guys have all moved on.
We were all fine before the reunion. There were things going on that weren’t addressed. People could sense with Lisa and I that there was something going on. But it was all off camera, so the audience doesn’t really know what’s going on. So you start to address those things on camera and it’s just hard. I’d much rather deal with it without a camera in person, but if you’re going to do a reality show and be real and honest. That’s what it’s all about. I think that’s why our show is so successful. If they want us to sit there and drink tea and laugh, they maybe should watch a scripted show.
Q: What’s your favorite chapter in the book?
My favorite chapter is the one about my Mom Big Kathy. That’s probably my favorite. For a number of reasons, my Mom taught my so much in life. I really admired her strength, when I was a little girl I was embarrassed by how strong she was. I really appreciate it as an adult now and as a Mom. I enjoy passing these stories on to my daughters.
Q: With your family life, you are a busy working Mom.
Yeah, I am. People don’t get that.
Q: You are not just running a family. Has it been a hard adjustment balancing the Real Housewives, book tour and everything else?
It’s been an enormous adjustment. I’m fortunate enough that because it is a reality show my kids can be with me. Portia is always right by my side, she’s glued to me and I’m glued to her (laughs). But my other kids will be home; doing their homework they just aren’t in front of the cameras. That part of reality television I enjoy. However the schedule, doing press, having to get over my fear of flying to do the book tour, I’m much better about flying now, but I’m getting better.
Q: That leads me to my next question. You have two very famous nieces, Paris and Nicky Hilton.
Yes I do.
Q: Why haven’t we seen them on the show?
Paris was doing a show at the time. There was a contractual thing that they weren’t allowed to come on our show and vice versa. Which we thought it would work out, cause its Oxygen and it’s all underneath the same umbrella, but they didn’t allow it.
Q: Do you know what I remember? You were on the Simple Life!
I was! Everyone seems to remember when I jumped in the pool with my Gucci boots on to get the girl in the pool. I get a lot of tweets about that (laughs).
Q: Paris is a reality television veteran. Did she give you any good advice before you joined Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?
Starting out I did not ask her advice. I really did not think this was going to be difficult. I really did not. Once I got into tit, I turned to her and said I’m really having a hard time with this. I don’t think I can do this anymore. She said this should be a fun time in your life, good or bad you can’t listen to all things people say to you. Which is very true. I was on the phone with my sister Kathy tonight and I used to say to them (Paris and Nicky), don’t let that bother you, don’t pick up that magazine! And now that I’m in this position and its not even an iota of what Paris has gone through. I have a newfound respect for her. I said to Kathy tonight, the comments people make are so crazy; she was such a young girl going through this at such an enormous level. I don’t know how she kept it together. As a grown woman, I don’t know how she did it. I really have a newfound respect for her, always have. I love her, she’s my niece, she’s my blood, and I’ve always admired her, but even more so now.
Q: If you could set the record straight on anything from the reunion shows, what would it be?
Where do I begin? (laughs). When I watch the show, I think you can even see in meeting me right now that that’s not how my facial expressions normally are. I’m a very happy person, I love to have fun, and I love life. But when I look at myself and I look like a different person. But I guess when I’m stressed that’s how I look. I look very rigid and uptight. I’m so not an uptight person. `
People were also really upset that I didn’t come to Lisa’s defense with the Adrienne situation about the radar online comment but I was in a very bad position. Because I am friends with all of them and Mauricio and I are very good friends with Adrienne and Paul. That’s the number one thing. And number two, Adrienne was not making it up that she was told that. Even though it wasn’t true, they (radar online) owe everyone an apology because it caused that whole thing. What was I going to do? I cannot get involved in every fight. I got a lot of comments from people asking why didn’t I step in? And the next week when I defended Taylor, people said why didn’t you stay out of it, it’s none of your business. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t in reality television. You can’t make everybody happy. I know who I am and that’s all that matters.
Q: I remember I interviewed Taylor Armstrong after season one and I said this to her, but people can tell you guys are all friends at the end of the day and that’s what makes conflict on your show so painful.
That’s what makes it so difficult. I’ve met girls from other shows and they genuinely don’t like each other. That’s why when we get into these situations its so difficult. But because we do care, it makes it hard.