This season on Vanderpump Rules, we were introduced to a woman who brings a charming candor about her private life and personal journey to a national audience. With matriarch Lisa Vanderpump as a known LGBTQ proponent, it is notable that the newest cast member Billie Lee is Vanderpump Rules’ first transgender cast member. In an interview with Danny Pellegrino for his podcast Everything Iconic, Billie Lee disclosed that viewers will get to see much more about her life and the anxieties she grapples with. She also spoke about how difficult it has been to open up about her journey and how she is adjusting to suddenly finding herself in the spotlight. To read more about Billie Lee’s interview with Danny Pellegrino, see my article on the website All About The Real Housewives (AllAboutTRH.com): http://www.allabouttrh.com/2018/02/21/vanderpump-rules-billie-lee-inspiring-story-still-truth/.
This season of Vanderpump Rules has been one about personal growth and maturity for Lala Kent who has made it clear that her female cast mates should be building one another up rather than tearing each other down. In an interview with Kate Casey of the eponymous podcast Reality Life with Kate Casey, Kent made it clear that she has regrets over any disparaging remarks she made to female cast mates in past seasons of the show. She is bringing her authentic “girl’s girl” persona to the current season, hoping to make up for past mistakes. To read more about this interview between Lala Kent and Kate Casey, read my article on the website All About the Real Housewives, AllAboutTRH.com: http://www.allabouttrh.com/2018/02/21/vanderpump-rules-lala-kent-building-relationships-exuding-confidence-becoming-entrepreneur/.
Part of Schlotter’s job is to keep up with the colors people are selecting, to know what color a certain type of room should be (i.e. to keep people energized or calm, to help them feel organized) and have an eye on trends and societal influences that are impacting choices. It was quite a revelation speaking with her and discovering there is extensive psychological and societal research behind each color.
SHW: You’ve said that color often corresponds to mood. What common colors do people choose that reflect their emotions?
DS: Color preference is subjective, but not random. The shades that come out today have involved a lot of study. We often say that ‘we influence trends as much as trends influence us.’ There are societal, geographic, demographic and lifestyle influences behind color. For instance, there is an avocado color that pertained to a certain generation (Boomers). How we connect to colors have to do with our memories and where we came from.
Very often, colors come from nature and the things that go back to our earliest memories help us connect and feel nostalgic..and good! As far as what’s trending right now, our color of the year (2017) was Violet Verbena. We found that purples are only selected 1 percent of the time, so we tried to make the best version of this purple. Violet Verbena was meant to represent a blended society. The male-female boundaries are blurred, age is blurred and it’s really a color that anyone might choose.
As a paint color, it actually went from being an insignificant one on our display to being our best. At, we dive a little deeper into the significance of color. One thing we’ve highlighted is how geography impacts it too. For instance, take the color yellow. Yellow can reflect optimism and hope in the U.S., but in Egypt it is for mourning. In Japan, it signifies courage and in India it’s a top color for merchandising.
SHW: What’s the most popular color for cars today?
DS: Right now it is white. This actually shifted from silver. Also, the white of today is a lot different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago.
DS: Whites and light grays and very neutral colors convey silence and space. They create few distractions. We saw three years ago that there was a lot of white in hotels and it’s because there’s so much chatter in our lives and white takes away from the distractions. People feel there is a cleansing nature to it. So this character you refer to probably feels less overwhelmed by all the noise when she walks into her ‘shades of vanilla’ home. It’s probably a relief to her that it’s clean and uncluttered.
SHW: My sons want to turn one of our basement rooms into a “man cave” and have asked about painting the walls red. I was wondering about this color for four rambunctious boys (ages 8-14).
DS: Be prepared for them to have lots of energy and an increase in appetite…4 sons means you will definitely see a frequency in snacking if they’ve been hanging out in a red room!
SHW: Oh no! We don’t need that. Red increases appetite?
DS: Yes, very much so and it’s a reminder of certain foods. Even meat has some red and of course, certain fruits and vegetables. Blues actually decrease appetites. So when you walk into a popular restaurant, you seldom see blue and you do see reds and oranges and yellow – like with McDonald’s.
SHW: Besides the sadness that can be attached to hospitals in general, when we walk into those buildings, the walls and the floors and everything seems so drab and colorless.
DS: It’s a bad design, but it is changing now because the Boomers are moving into that area and they may need assisted living. We actually just did a presentation that reflects a complete shift for hospitals and places for elder care. You will see the boomers having an impact like they did with all parts of their lives. That will be reflected in a lot more colors taken from nature andgoing to be that wow factor soon simply from changing the color of the paint on the walls.
SHW: How does clothing fashion impact the colors you choose for new paints?
DS: We look at runway fashion very seriously because it starts on the runway and then it’s a little under 15 months until it gets to home decor. We see that the colors people wear reflect their personalities and then they like to have those colors surrounding them in their home.
SHW: I noticed that varying shades of pink are in style for the spring. I actually wondered how the Women’s March in January may or may not have impacted that.
DS: Yes, colors from society are on our minds. Greens from people’s smoothies when there is a focus on health – even that comes out in fashion and home decor. Light pink, like you mentioned, is a compassionate color. We saw that color after 9/11 and we’re seeing it now. We picked Violet Verbena and sadly, Prince died a couple of months later and we noticed people gravitating towards different shades of purple…People think they’re not affected by the colors they see when it’s on the news and in the media, but it can be subconscious. Seeing the televised Prince tributes…the news about Prince featuring video or a photo left purple fresh in people’s minds.
To connect with Dee Schlotter and get some insight on the hues best suited for you, go to.
I frequently hear complaints that a reality television character is offensively over the top. However, week after week those same folks lamenting are the ones tuning in to the program they gripe about. It is the outlandishness of various cast members that keeps us riveted to shows, despite our efforts to deny that fact. Let’s face it: For a majority of us, without the contrast of these obnoxious personalities we would not be watching — or more precisely, “hate watching.”
Last season on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Dorit Kemsley came across as a troublemaker…with a grating quasi-English accent to boot. Arguably, the latter offense maximized the phony vibe this nouveau riche, pretentious and ostentatious Housewife gave off from the start of her Real Housewives tenure. Dorit comes across as privileged, entitled, showy and exceedingly effusive, while at the same time there is something fishy about her and her husband PK. We keep watching as we try to figure out who this person is and what makes her tick, what is authentic versus what is for show. If you fancy yourself a Real Housewives anthropologist or an armchair psychologist, the act of dissecting Dorit…finding Dorit….comes instinctively as she’s a rather baffling character.
“Isn’t she from Connecticut?” we all asked one another last season, and shortly thereafter, awkward photos from her high school days surfaced. In no time at all, they were circulating widely throughout social media. There she was in the graduation shot from her all-girls school class, 1990s poof curls and that signature reddish brown lipstick that marked its territory (all of our lips) during that decade.
Dorit’s undying and overboard professions of love for her questionable cad of a husband PK – who looks much older and is noticeably less attractive than his wife – and their taunting of Erika Jayne for unintentionally flashing her undies (AKA “Pantygate) pitted many a RHOBH viewer against her last season. Camille Grammer was once labeled “The Most Hated Housewife” and Real Housewives of New Jersey‘s Siggy Flicker may have LITERALLY taken the cake, but Dorit wore the gold plaited crown on RHOBH. Some viewers have decided that she is the “worst Housewife” in Real Housewives history.
…But, she’s pretty.
The many looks, the cakey maquillage, the expensive designer duds, the lavish affairs, the ever-changing hair (about a dozen wigs so far this season alone) combined with absurdity and superficiality…Say what you will, but it all earned Dorit a fawning following last season. If Boy George – who is purportedly managed by PK and inexplicably seems to live with the Kemsleys – can appreciate Dorit, then so can many others. Testament to that is the fact that her Instagram blew up after her inaugural season. For some, there was a certain allure to Dorit and her bloviating manner. Then this year, she returned and turned up the level of brashness full force. Viewers have recently expressed that they’re fed up seeing her gunning for the most stable – and entirely-too-normal – new cast addition Teddi Mellencamp. When the most laid back Housewife was called “psycho” by Dorit, viewers expressed that she had surely lost her marbles.
The question with Dorit is: How far is too far? How much will RHOBH fans be able to tolerate? Viewers seem to have sharpened the focus even more upon hate-watching the Housewife this season. Some have even begged Bravo (via the various social media channels that exist) to fire her.
Based on what we are seeing of Dorit this season, many of us have questions:
Is that indeterminate accent a put-on? Or is it the sort that was legitimately acquired from being married to a Brit and exposed to his diction day after day?
Does Dorit always act as if she hasn’t seen her children in over a decade? Why does she prance them around in front of her friends as if they’re show ponies before a live audience?
What exactly does PK Kemsley do (besides manage singer Boy George – although maybe that is enough?)? More specifically, how does the couple afford their sprawling mansion?
There have been allegations that the house we see them in actually belongs to businessman, investor and philanthropist Sam Nazarian. What we do know is that the mansion is on the market, currently listed with Mauricio Umansky’s real estate company. https://pagesix.com/2018/01/16/dorit-and-pk-drop-mega-mansion-listing-price-by-1-8m/ Is it merely a salacious rumor about Nazarian owning the house, or is it fact? In short, viewers wonder: How much about the Kemsleys is a facade and how much of the glamor and glitz is reality beyond “reality TV”?
Erin Martin, a writer for Reality Tea and host of the Pink Shade podcast says that Dorit reminds her of former RHOC Alexis Bellino, just “a smarter version, with a British accent and bad wigs.” Martin further elaborates: “Like Dorit, Alexis was totally fake with HUGE boobs and had a gross husband like PK. She and her husband both turned out to be lying about their financial status the entire time. They were broke and were renting everything they showed off. This is very much like what has been alleged to be the case with Dorit and PK.”
Then there is the question of: Is Dorit for real when she makes a big deal? We see it this season when she makes a whole stink about the cup from which she takes a drink. We want to shove each glass up her….
And as you know from the show, there’s one for wine, another for champagne, one for red that should never be utilized for rosé…and so on….
Dorit is a very particular woman and she makes her preferences and thoughts known without much filtering. After all, she was responsible for making last season’s “Pantygate” a huge debacle, and this season, the focus seems to be on “Lategate.” Her costar Teddi Mellencamp was miffed that she arrived an hour after their scheduled meeting time, but Dorit is the one who refuses to let Teddi’s annoyance with her go. She remains unapologetic for her tardiness, claiming instead that Teddi is uptight.
Danny Pellegrino, host of the podcast Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino had this to say about the Dorit of last season and the Dorit we’re seeing now:
“Dorit didn’t impress me much on her first season of RHOBH, and she’s not impressing me now. The problem, I think, is that she is a solid ensemble player, but she has become the star and villain of the show in her second season. I don’t think it’s necessarily her fault that the storylines have revolved around her. Unfortunately, I don’t think the other women gave enough for production to latch onto, and it’s forced Dorit to take center stage. These shows are soap operas, and every good soap opera needs a villain. Dorit has taken on that role, but she’s not a strong enough villain for us to root against (or for, if you love the drama a villain brings).”
“Because of that, she ends up coming across as simply annoying, like a discarded Batman villain. If the show had a stronger villain, someone like Brandi Glanville or season 1 Camille, I think it would come across better because the audience wouldn’t be relying on her to drive the story as much as we are now. Lisa Rinna seems to want to take a backseat this season after spending so much time filling that role previously, and Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle are coasting by on their seniority. The tardiness storyline that is driving this season is so incredibly weak for a series that has dealt with domestic abuse, alcohol addiction, squabbling sisters… In another season, that storyline would be a great little B-story that audiences would love because it would be campy, over-the-top and the right amount of ridiculousness. Unfortunately, Dorit being tardy has become the A-story of the season, it’s leaving viewers upset and it’s hard to point the finger at anyone but Dorit since she’s the tardy one. “
“The one thing I do really appreciate from Dorit is her fashions. Her choices range from ridiculous to flawless in any given scene. Even if you don’t like her, it’s fun to see what she’ll be wearing, and that’s not something you can say about any of the other Housewives, save for maybe Erika. I hope for Dorit’s sake that someone else (or multiple people) step up next season to drive the storylines so that we can appreciate Dorit in smaller doses than what they are giving us now. As is, I think a lot of us are rooting for Dorit to get off our screens so we can get some more meat in the drama. It is entirely possible that Bravo is looking to move away from that type of show, and giving us more lifestyle porn with tiny bits of drama, instead of dramatic catfights and table flipping. If that’s the case, I think it will turn off a lot of fans. Lastly, I think we can all do without PK entirely. I think all fans are in favor of him appearing even less than Mr. Girardi.”
The 80s icon and famous pop star Boy George recently chastised an Instagram user for not being able to appreciate a campy woman. Is that where many of us are going wrong with regard to Dorit? While some viewers have stated that they can’t wait for her to leave the show already, I’ve referred to this season as “The Real Filler Scenes of Beverly Hills” and feel that Dorit spices up an otherwise boring show. I have not been able to identify many “storylines” since the current season began.
So, even as Dorit offends and irks, I feel she is delivering necessary drama through her erratic and mind-boggling antics. There is no denying that her questionable behavior has fans talking, tweeting and weighing in…albeit, to their own chagrin. I’m not sure where we would be without her, or who would still be watching if she wasn’t on our screens.
Her extremities began to tingle. “What … do … you … mean … YOU … DON’T … KNOW?”
“I don’t think I can go through with the conversion,” he said, squarely looking her in the eye. For a flicker of a moment, she thought she heard the word “conversation,” but there it was: the weightier C word.
Two years earlier, Karen and Jeff, both in their late 20s, had met through work acquaintances. The attraction was instantaneous, as was their connection. To Karen, who had been raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish home, her religion was an absolute. To Jeff, it was a part of Karen, whom he loved. He began to fervently explore her religion and truly became interested in studying the Torah. He began to know many of the laws and texts better than Karen did from her years in religious schools. However, as all who are familiar with Orthodox Jewish conversions can attest to, the process is deliberately a difficult one.
“Becoming part of the Jewish people is a serious matter,” says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, MS, LCPC and Certified Imago Relationship Therapist. Rabbi Slatkin, aka “The Relationship Rabbi,” spends his days counseling couples. “Even for those who are born Jewish, it is a life-long endeavor learning how to live as a Jew. The conversion process is deliberately difficult because we need to make sure that the prospective convert is sincere about this complete transformation.”
Slatkin explains that a convert is considered like a newborn baby, born anew and with a new soul. “We want to make sure that a prospective convert understands this and realizes that they can remain a non-Jew and still merit the world to come if they live a righteous life. Becoming a Jew is an awesome responsibility and we want to make sure that they are prepared for this.”
Jeff sat down to learn several times a week with a rabbi. Several times a week his intentions were questioned by members of Karen’s community. And several times a week, Jeff’s shell cracked a little, then a little bit more. His work schedule began to be affected and his relationship suddenly seemed to require more effort: He was regularly defending his zeal for Judaism it seemed to Karen’s and her parents’ acquaintances. Since Karen wasn’t one of those girls who regularly raved about her own religious beliefs, a drop of doubt fell for Jeff. The drop became a rivulet.
“Interfaith relationships, as well as relationships in which one is more passionate about the same religion than the other [i.e. one is Orthodox Jewish, the other is Jewish but not at all religious], are extremely complicated,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, child and family psychotherapist and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.” “[Those types of relationships] need careful exploration and discussion prior to marriage and children. A detailed dialogue about how each one wants to raise their future children should take place early in the relationship. Both individuals need to be close to center, rather than polarized or extreme in their religious practices and beliefs. If one is to the right, then many complex challenges arise that include where the kids will go to school, will they be baptized or bar mitzvahed, how to celebrate holidays, attendance at church or synagogue — not to mention in-laws and extended family pressures.”
Dr. Walfish goes on to say, “All this said, I have treated couples in which both were close to center at the onset of the relationship. After marriage, when a baby was born, one in a couple that I was counseling became more attached to her religion. She enrolled her child in a Catholic school behind her Jewish husband’s back and against earlier commitment to public education for their kids. Although the husband could eventually forgive her, no one could sway the wife to return to her earlier, middle-of-the-road commitment. It was a deal-breaker for the marriage that sadly ended in divorce.”
Rabbi Slatkin, who sees many Jewish couples in his practice, says that even though these couples are not interfaith, the religious disparity can be enough to cause major tensions. He does not recommend that people initially get involved in a relationship where one person is Orthodox, for example, and the other is not. There are enough religious issues that can arise with Orthodox couples alone, he explains, “especially where one is more ‘into it’ than the other. To get into a situation that will add another layer of conflict would not be wise. Keeping a kosher home, Shabbos, the laws of family purity, sending to Jewish day schools, at a minimum is a major lifestyle difference. If one person is not interested in these things, it will be very challenging.”
Rabbi Slatkin adds that this is not to say it can’t be done, but that to enter into a relationship with these types of issues from the start is precarious. “I do not believe in forcing people to change as it only leads to resentment,” he says, “If one gets married thinking the other will change or be OK with things, it won’t happen. When we fall in love, we say a lot of things. Once we get married and the inevitable power struggle arises, these issues may become a bone of contention.” For those already in relationships of this sort, Rabbi Slatkin says that it is possible for the relationships to work if both are committed to open discussions and learning how to understand one another. “I don’t advise looking for such a relationship in the first place,” he adds.
Jeff and Karen are not together today. After much heartache, a few breakups and attempts to reunite, they both found new partners and moved on. But did they really? When I speak to Karen, who no longer speaks to Jeff, but stayed in touch with him for several years after their breakup, she says that a part of her will always love Jeff…
…and a part of Jeff will always love Judaism.
I was recently on the Buttered Pop podcast to recap an episode of the wildly popular Bravo show Vanderpump Rules. While there are no pregnant characters on the show… yet, there was a story-line about a character receiving unsolicited comments on her body from another (male) character. While delving into this with the podcast host Armin Mahramzadeh, he and I discussed the concept of a man weighing in to criticize and heavily scrutinize a woman’s body. We wondered if 2018 would finally be the year for men to take a second look at this habitual and (also unfortunately) historic behavior, realizing how wrong it is to issue these types of intrusive remarks.
Even men who profess to be feminists and to understand women, should think before making a nasty barb about the female bod…
Because guess what, men? You are men. Whether you are gay or straight, single or in a relationship, live with a woman or do not: You have no firsthand understanding of the female anatomy, hormones and related weight fluctuations like someone with an actual female body has. Often enough, you’ve exhibited that you have no concept of what a realistic female body type is, what is desirable versus what is achievable.
I feel the above frustrations as a woman and I also remember feeling a great deal of annoyance – amplified by overwhelming surges in hormones – when I was pregnant.
Until I actually started to show during my first pregnancy, I had no idea that that time period in my life would open the floodgates to all sorts of unsolicited commentary. It boggled my mind then that folks felt they had license to issue all sorts of rude and tasteless insults to the most hormonal people on the planet, expecting it to roll right off their backs. With the subsequent two pregnancies, I still remained aghast though perhaps, I was a bit prepared. Otherwise, pregnancy is a blessing and having gone the fertility route to achieve a sustainable pregnancy, I felt super thankful and appreciative to even have this time to complain…..Still, the sorts of things that people will say – I will never forget some of those comments!
In retrospect, I can laugh at the ridiculousness, but in the moment, I really just wanted to school people on the things they shouldn’t be saying.
Can you imagine if I walked over to a man and said “Oh my God, you are so fucking bald! What happened to all of your hair?” Something tells me it wouldn’t go over well at all, that it would be seriously shocking and be perceived as terribly inappropriate. So the fact that it is far less shocking to tell a woman “You are huge!” while staring at her belly (pregnant or not, because people never cease to amaze me) is appalling.
My experience with pregnancy – three times- is what inspired me to write a little skit that was performed in an Off Broadway production a few years ago under the directorship of Aliza Shane and the 3V Theater company.
Without further adieu, I present you with “Sh*t People Say to Pregnant Women” and perhaps after you read it, you’ll remember to insert your own pregnant pauses into conversations about women’s bodies:
“Are you seriously eating that?”
“Are you going to eat ALL that?!”
“I never ate that much when I was pregnant…”
[Laughing and pointing] “Talk about ‘eating for two’!”
“You know that you don’t really need to’ eat for two.’ The baby is the size of a lima bean.”
“YOU are going to gain so…much…WEIGHT!”
“Oh wow, [slaps head] you’re pregnant! I thought you just got fat.”
“Your nose has gotten wider; you must be having a girl!”
“Your nose has gotten wider; you must be having a boy!”
“You must be having a girl. Girls suck out all your beauty…”
“Don’t you love how now you can just let yourself go and eat whatever you want?”
“Oh, no wonder you’re letting yourself go!”
“No wonder you’re eating so much!”
“Oh, you’re showing early because you’re so skinny.”
“My other friend who’s pregnant didn’t show as early because SHE’S thin.”
“I wasn’t sure it was a PREGNANT belly. I thought it might just be a MARRIED belly.”
“Oh, I knew it! I just knew it! I knew it before you told me!”
“I thought your face was getting a little fat.”
“I noticed your boobs were looking bigger.”
“Oh, phew, I really was wondering why you were suddenly getting so chunky.”
“Ohhhh. Can I touch it?”
“Should you be eating that?”
“Should you be drinking that?”
“You know you shouldn’t be eating that.”
“You SURE you’re not having twins?”
“Twins? You are going to BURST!”
“One’s gotta be hiding behind another. That happened to my mother’s sister’s cousin-in-law’s best friend’s aunt’s daughter.”
[Whispers confidentially] “Could it be triplets?”
“Well, it definitely has to be twins! You’re too big to be carrying only one. I don’t believe you…”
“You’re too small. Are you sure you’re eating enough?”
“I don’t care what your Doctor says, I KNOW you’re having twins!”
“You’re HUGE! …oh, it’s twins? [Nervously] you’re really carrying small. I hope the babies are ok.”
“Are you taking folic acid?”
“Are you taking your prenatal vitamin?”
“Natural or IVF?”
“Wow, you got pregnant fast at your age!”
“I guess your eggs weren’t fried after all, girl!”
“Wow, so close to your last baby?!”
“Weren’t you JUST pregnant?”
“Didn’t you just get married?”
“Don’t you believe in birth control?”
“What’s the rush?”
“Was this planned or…a surprise?”
“You’re having a baby?… I am so NOT a ‘kids person’!”
“Oh, I so hope it’s a girl since you already have a boy!”
“Will you be disappointed if it’s ANOTHER boy?”
“Are you finding out what you’re having?”
“Are you keeping it?”
One of my earliest memories involves a cringe-worthy moment for my mother, when I turned to a tall burly man in a Bronx elevator and said “You shouldn’t smoke, it’s bad for you.” While it is likely true, it’s not something I would now say to a perfect stranger. I remember my mother’s anxiously polite response (as well as the man’s), the jaw-splitting smiles, the chirpy laughter, her trying to cover up for the brash 4-year-old that I was.
… I was cute enough to get away with it then.
Cut to the present day… I’ve noticed that some of my acquaintances choose words carefully while others seem to have what is known as “no filter.” It is far less adorable. The things you wouldn’t say….well, very often, someone else will.
When I was pregnant several years ago, a neighbor approached me at the community rec center and loudly proclaimed “You’re gonna bust right out of that T-shirt. You sure you should be that big for just five months pregnant?” When I informed her I was actually carrying twins, she scolded me repeatedly for being too small.
While I contemplated launching a maternity line with witty comebacks (e.g., “MYOB: Mind Your Own Belly” and “Hands off!”), I saw how free people were to say things with no foresight about what might be hurtful and highly annoying.
Words that could potentially put Kleenex out of business (if you’ve ever been pregnant, I know you know what I’m saying) are often the result of cranial overload-induced verbal diarrhea.
On the other hand, it is not always possible to predict what might be hurtful to others. That which one person hears as a teasing tune of a flute may arrive as the clash of cymbals to the recipient’s ears.
A few years ago, I upset a friend, a fellow mom of twins, by sharing a dream I had about her. I had no idea she was desperately trying to get pregnant again and had just suffered an unexpected miscarriage when I informed her I had dreamed she was pregnant. We’ve all inadvertently upset someone by saying something we thought nothing of. There’s no way to go through life offense-free, but I would say that if you have an inkling of doubt, take out that filter. Try to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let your mind do the thinking before your mouth does the talking.