Countess LuAnn de Lesseps recently forayed from the affluent suburbs of the Hamptons to: the music studio. That’s right, the Countess’ single, “Money Can’t Buy You Class” received mix reviews, although Lesseps says she performed it for fun, not for critical acclaim. We caught up with the no-nonsense cast member of RHONY to dish on the reality shows she watches, handling public criticism, and the #1 thing she expects from her kids.
What did you your children think about their mom appearing on a reality show?
I don’t think they really knew what to think! I’ve been on television before, so it wasn’t new to them. I started my own cable show when I came back to the Hamptons from Europe, and I was doing manners and etiquette on Fox in the morning. They just think it’s great that I pursue what I love to do.
How do they deal with the criticism and negativity from your viewers that appears online?
They don’t really look at it. But I’ve spoken to them about it, and they understand that sometimes people don’t say kind things and they should rise above it.
If you could teach your kids one life lesson, what would it be?
Respect other people, especially adults.
What shocked you the most about parenting?
Nobody can tell you how hard it is [until you experience it.] You can’t explain it. Juggling everything is the most difficult part, but organization is key.
Do you ever feel guilty for how much time you spend on the show?
Favorite vacation spot: St. Tropez
Favorite exercise: Pilates
What makes you cringe? Cracking your knuckles!
It does take a lot of my time, but they’re very supportive and nurturing because they know it makes me happy to work. But they’re my first thought, my first priority. And luckily with the show, we get to plan and organize a lot, so I have enough time for the kids. It’s consuming but not all-consuming.
Are you the bad cop or the good cop?
I’m more of a disciplinarian. I’m a stickler about them respecting the things that I’ve given them, respecting their home, and respecting the people who are around them.
How have you taught them not to have a sense of entitlement?
They’ve never felt that way. They’re pretty down-to-earth and haven’t, in my opinion, ever been spoiled. They’re pretty comfortable with who they are, and there’s a certain level of comfort knowing it’s not about titles and money; it’s really about decency and integrity. I try to teach them that your word and your handshake are the most important things.
What annoys you the most about New York moms?
That they schedule their children with so many activities. They’re never free for play dates! Like, “Can Noel play with Sam today?” “Well, no, he’s got swimming and then he’s got Bible study.”
You recently recorded a song called “Money Can’t Buy You Class.” What was that experience like?
Oh, it was great. KMA studios – where I worked – has the biggest artists recording now. I always wanted to sing as a kid, I dreamt about it and used to sing into the mirror. I love cabaret and I sing for my friends and charities. It was really fun to be able to create and produce a song. I have a great producer named Chris Young, and to be able to get into a studio like that and record was amazing.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching reality TV. I like Ru-Paul’s Drag Race. It’s hysterical. I also like Dancing with the Stars. I was rooting for the girl from The Insider: Niecy Nash. She’s so funny!
Would you ever go on Dancing with the Stars?
It looks hard, but I might! I’d love to learn how to dance that well. I’d want to be paired with the tallest guy – Tony!