Our fave Real Housewife of NYC, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, talks to momlogic about those epic cat fights, who does and (does not) have class, and what it's like going through a divorce in the public eye.
You may be surprised to hear that, despite the success of the show on Bravo, her phat pad in the Hamptons, her fabulous figure, and her jet-setting lifestyle, in many ways she really is just like us -- she worries about the same things every mom does: her kids. Momlogic talked to the Countess about her life, love, and her children:
ML: You're going through a divorce in the public eye; what is that like?
Countess: Yes I am. We have been married a long time, we have two children, but things were not great. I didn't expect to be told via e-mail, but through this whole thing my husband said, "You're the true aristocrat." I try to handle it with grace. Sometimes breakups are a blessing in disguise, but you know, it's hard. I have two kids that have to look at me every day. My advice for anyone would be to hold your head up high, walk tall. It's the only way to go and the only example I want to set for them. I am so thankful for the book right now, it's been inspiring to be on book tours and talking to people -- so amazing.
ML: What are your thoughts on Elizabeth Edwards and what she's faced with?
Countess: It must be so painful for her. She's going to have her moments and going through a horrible time. I believe that forgiveness is what it's all about. When Christie Brinkley's husband had the affair, I was like, "WOW! That is horrible!" but part of me wanted to say, "Why did he do that?" And had they talked about it, maybe they'd have kept it together. I am into saving the marriage. Working it out. For me, it's just when you have a life together.
ML: You always look so put together. Most of us are on-the-go moms and don't have time. Do you have any advice?
Countess: Anyone can get ready in 15 minutes, you just have to be organized. Keeping things simple and classic, and then adding accessories is the key. You only need a few staple pieces, like a little black dress, then add something like a scarf or jewelry. It doesn't have to be complicated.
ML: You have a new book on etiquette and class. Why is this important to "real" moms, not just high-society moms?
Countess: It's important from the moment kids talk to teach them "please" and "thank-you." It will help them through life. Although many moms don't have much time, making time to have one meal with your family a day is so important: kids can learn to set the table, make food together, clear the table, do the dishes. It's a time to catch up with your kids, too. It's a whole process, shopping for food together, making the meal. I think this is where families crumble, that people are too busy.
ML: Your life seems very privileged. How can "regular moms" relate to you and your book?
Countess: You're either born with class or you can learn it, but you can't buy it. My mom always had her hair done, pantyhose on, and always looked together. It inspired me. It's about being yourself and being good with who you are that makes moving through life easier. Making time for yourself, being your best, and making others feel comfortable. I talk about that a lot -- making others feel comfortable. I think that's what class is all about. My book, Class with the Countess, is not about money. It's about the art of being yourself and hereby making others comfortable. With this, you can go a long way. Life is richer when you have people in your corner.
ML: Of the women on the show, who needs your book the most?
Countess: I'm handling that with class, darling -- I'm not going to say.
ML: Do you hang out with the ladies outside of shooting the show?
Countess: I see Jill and Bethenny, Kelly not that much, and the other ones I don't see. For the show, we invite each other. I am friends with some more than others, but it's an ensemble.
ML: Kelly vs. Bethenny?
Countess: When Kelly told me what she had done, I was like, "OMG! NO! That is not the way to get people on your side."
ML: What's it like being on the show?
Countess: I like being on the show, it's a challenge and an adventure. I was very curious. I worked in TV before doing etiquette segments, so it was a medium I was familiar with. My family was very supportive, they said "Go for it." I wanted to raise awareness for the charities I'm involved with. I love having the opportunity to show this. While the girls are having their cat fights, I get to give back.
ML: What worries you the most as a mom?
Countess: I just hope my children will be able to fend for themselves out in the world we live in. The issues of terrorism -- they're growing up in a scary place. I hope that they'll be equipped for life in general, and that I'll prepare them correctly.
For more on Countess de Lesseps, check out ClasswiththeCountess.com.
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