Where’s my Bravo hive at? I am an unabashed and longtime fan of the world that Andy Cohen built. And I refuse to call anything on the network—from “Vanderpump Rules” and “Real Housewives” to “Below Deck” and “Southern Charm”—a “guilty” pleasure because there should be no shame in enjoying what you enjoy on television. Also, show me another network where women over 50 are the superstars across multiple franchises.
As a recovering New Yorker myself, I’ve always held a special place in my heart for the ladies holding the apples—the Real Housewives of New York City, who burst into our lives in 2008 and left the pop culture landscape forever changed.
One of those OG Manhattanites was LuAnn de Lesseps, a literal countess at the time thanks to her marriage to the aristocratic Count Alexandre de Lesseps. The two officially divorced in 2009 and while she may have officially lost her title, she’ll always be the countess to me. Over the years, de Lesseps has given fans some of the show’s most iconic moments with lines like “Don’t be all, like, uncool” and “Don’t let it be about Tom.” There were her knockdown drag out fights with Bethenny Frankel in the “Beserkshires” and that time she fell down in the bush. And, of course, we’ve been privy to her darker moments, too, like her divorce, her arrest, and her rehab stints.
But there is nothing quite like the music career nobody saw coming with songs like “Money Can’t Buy You Class,” “Chic, C’est La Vie,” and “Feeling Jovani.” If you know, you know. And next month, de Lesseps is bringing her cabaret show, as seen in snippets on RHONY, to the Old National Centre’s Egyptian Room.
I chatted with the countess by phone to find out what we can expect from the latest iteration of her show and the upcoming season of “Real Housewives of New York.”
“I started this whole thing because I love to tell jokes and I love to sing to my friends,” she says when I asked her what keeps the show going. “And I love to host dinner parties and have people over. This is my living room, basically, and you’re invited in while I tell you stories from my diary.”
She’s currently performing holiday shows through December, but we’re lucky enough to get the cabaret’s newest iteration, “Marry, F, Kill,” in January. “This show is more about relationships, sex, men,” de Lesseps reveals. Expect new fashions from Jovani and that Broadway flare that the countess, and her theatrical friends, love so dearly.
As for what’s next outside of the act—well, there’s a lot. The RHONY cast (minus Frankel for the first time in years) is still filming their upcoming season (the 12th), which de Lesseps promises is going to be great. “We have a new Housewife [Leah McSweeney] on and she holds her own with our not-so-easy crowd,” she says. “She fits right in—it’s really interesting. She’s an entrepreneur; she started her own business. But at the same time, she’s very vulnerable and I think people are going to relate to her.”
The countess is also about to release her newest song “Viva la Diva,” has a new book coming out in 2020 about her journey the past couple years, and is also in talks for a docu-series about it as well.
In the meantime, never forget that elegance is learned, my friends.
Tickets for Countess LuAnn and Friends at Old National Centre on January 24, 2020 are available here.
Photos: Adam Grim
Abby Gardner is the executive editor of Indy Maven. Here’s her Housewives tagline: “I may be a writer, but nothing about me is scripted.”