When I met Lisa Rinna behind a free dance studio on Melrose Avenue on a recent weekday. There is no video crew to record our appearance. When she brought her husband, actor Harry Hamlin, the wine glasses didn’t fly. Rabbits are not exchanged. And he doesn’t pull out his phone to read a definition of Munchausen syndrome.
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We are Rinna’s friends; Under the private guidance of dance-choreographer Robin Antin, the Pussycat Dolls rub our loins as we unfurl the loudspeaker. It’s the kind of action typical of the Bravo reality series, which follows a group of rich women trying to figure out what barbecue is all about in Beverly Hills.
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Rinna isn’t a professional dancer, but she moves with ease on the hardwood floor, having starred as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s “Chicago” and competed on “Dancing with the Stars.” I, on the other hand, look like I’m trying to take my shoes off.
“Oh my god, this is so much fun!” Rinna exclaimed after our first run. She wore patterned shorts with a pink rim – paired with her own signature pout, acting like an optical illusion. Her trademark bouncy bob was rocking in the middle of all our activity.
Rinna spent the early part of her career in the scripted soap opera market. First was the daytime “Our Lives” and then the special-time “Melrose Place.” But at the age of 55, she became more famous by playing a character she is well known for. While most actors criticize reality TV as a career-killer, she sees potential for improvement.
I don’t care whether I am a good actor or not. They want to be famous and will do anything to get there.
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Over the past five years, Rinna has established herself as one of the reliable pot stirrers on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” part of Bravo’s popular and prolific franchise of modern day soap operas. A die-hard fan base that includes some of Hollywood’s elite … and oh, I.
“There was no one more popular than me in this game,” he said. Because of the show,” he said bluntly.
For now, we have moved to a neighboring restaurant. What if Rinna filmed a scene for the show? We both have a camera. It says that a great voice and producer are behind it. We can recap the class we just attended and turn to a recent conversation we had with someone else.
Rinna clearly gets what makes good TV. If an actor can really overcome the urge to perform on a reality show, viewers will get to know Lisa Rinna’s character on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
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“I see her as a character because I’m not everything,” Rinna said. “I used to watch Lisa on ‘Real Housewives’ — or Rinna, as I like to call her. She’s funny. I really get a kick out of her. When I see her, I’m like, ‘God, she’s comic relief.'”
Rinna starred in the show’s fifth season in 2014, where she was introduced at Kyle Richards’ celebrity white party before leaving for the “Mad Men” bash (Hamlin was on the show at the time). Since then, she’s endeared herself to viewers with her down-to-earth attitude, improving her lips and poking fun at herself, including the haircut she’s sported for decades. And she had a hand in some of the show’s most memorable moments. This season, he debated at a dinner during the Senate hearing on Brett Kavanagh’s Supreme Court confirmation.
“What you see is what you get with her,” says longtime friend Denise Richards, who starred in the season. “She is self-deprecating; The same is called I’m not afraid to say when I’m wrong. And I like that about her because she’s been on the show for so long.
Ever since she grew up in Medford, Ore., Rinna wanted to be famous. To be someone like Carol Burnett or Cher or Lucille Ball. It was her idols growing up.
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Rinna said: “I wanted to be a star.” Harry said, ‘I’m an actor. It’s about the craft.’ … I don’t care if I’m a good actor or not, I just want to be famous and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”
“She’s experienced fostering,” her mother, Lois Rinna, told Lisa with a laugh over the phone. “But he was always a good kid; Fun kid. She always knew what she wanted. “… Lisa’s passion for trying to get people to fit their actions (as seen with her “Own It!” announcements on TV) was always there, she says, recalling how her half-sister smoked pot when she was younger. Bathroom.
At 18, Rinna dropped out of the University of Oregon, after being rejected for acting classes and kicked out of her parents’ home. She modeled and acted in commercials in small markets before moving to San Francisco: “I think I got my SAG card to do Mervyn’s ad card.” He got his break on “Days of Our Lives” in 1993 and moved to LA.
But with a decent list of screen credits, Rinna feels she needs a turnaround to stay in the game: “I know as an actor, I’m never going to make money and have a big career. I just know in my gut.”
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A four-year gig as host of “Soap Talk” taught her to play the guitar. So she did. She competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Celebrity Apprentice”. There was even a time when she and Hamlin had their own reality series “Harry Loves Lisa” on TV Land.
“Now that I’m a reality star, I can’t really do acting anymore,” Rinna said. “This happened … Now what do I do? I wasn’t scared when ‘Housewives’ came on. I know this is the way forward.
She has been in the running to star on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” since its debut nearly a decade ago. Feeling stuck and insecure about her family’s financial instability—Belle Gray, whose two-location store has closed—she wants. She had just launched her QVC fashion line and thought the “housewives” platform would help her run that business.
“I’m looking at it from a business perspective,” he said. “I’ve seen it done for Nene Leakes, [Lisa] Vanderpump, Kyle [Richards], Bethenny [Frankel].”
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But not everyone was on board. Hamlin, a husband of more than 20 years, believed it was too dangerous for his career. “Because I’ve been married twice before — I put my divorce attorney’s phone number in my phone,” Hamlin said in a later interview. Bravo’s Andy Cohen, one of the ringleaders of “Real Housewives,” was wary of hiring a famous actress and felt it would change the atmosphere of the show.
Finally they both came to an idea. Hamlin, who is occasionally seen in his famous baked goods, says he has no regrets. Cohen now considers Rinna one of the best additions to the franchise.
“She’s fun to watch,” Cohen said. “He’s funny and laughs at himself. She understands her place in the world and is very secure in herself. I think she’s just entertaining.
More importantly, Rinna got that platform. Her QVC appearances on the show are well-documented, and her line of duster cardigans made her a star. The Lisa Rinna Collection has sold more than 3.1 million units since its launch in 2012, and Duder has sold 180,000 units this year, a QVC spokeswoman said. His daughters, Delilah Belle and Amelia, have benefited from landing modeling gigs for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana.
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“It’s amazing,” says Rinna, “I’ve been able to get deals and generate extra income in that area through my social media platforms. I don’t even know where to start. Everything just keeps coming.”
Our conversation comes a few weeks before Rinna tapes this season’s reunion — the first episode airs July 16 — and she notes some criticism of the season’s focus on the Puppygate scandal.
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