Countess LuAnn de Lesseps Is A Total Class Act

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is one classy lady. The star of Real Housewives of New York City spoke exclusively with Celebrity Parents Magazine about the Bravo reality show, being a proud mom, and why money can’t buy you class.

Let’s talk a bit about your clothing collection.

I’m trying to do something affordable, chic, and easy to travel with. It will have pieces that allow you to take your look from day to night with jewelry-friendly necklines so you can accessorize. It’s something that I wanted to do, simple yet chic, so that you know that you’re dressed right from the occasion.

What I loved is when we were shooting you just balled it up and it didn’t wrinkle.

Yes, it’s great for working moms and women on the move. I think women stress about dressing and with this collection you can feel empowered that you’ll have what you need. I am working with designers on making silhouettes that look good on everyone. Some are form fitting, and some are more forgiving. We’re also working on cardigans that you can accessorize with the dress. I’m still working with the designers as to what we’re going to be doing. I want something that will be practical and that will work with every body type. I would like to bring my daughter in because she’s great at drawing and design, and loves fashion. She’s also very classic in the way she dresses, so it would be wonderful to work with her, and perhaps work on a younger collection.

Is that harder to watch it happen months later, thinking that you’re in a good place and then finding out everything that has been said?

Well, it’s surprising to me because I’m watching it like a viewer for the first time. I watch it and go, “Oh my God!” [laughs] I’ve been doing this for a while. This is nothing new to me. But it’s never an easy thing to see people talking about you. That being said, I’m used to this Housewives drama, which is exaggerated because it’s a television show.

Your two children are very accomplished.

I am so proud of them because they are creative and more importantly, they are good kids. They respect me and listen to me. It’s hard when they’re teenagers as they find their own personalities, but they have been wonderful. I was so proud of Victoria who wanted to clean out the garage and paint it and put on a show. She had a lot of people reach out for her artwork and she sold quite a bit of it. And Noel is a little entrepreneur, designs his own skateboards and works all the time on making new videos for his site. They are both independent and in a good place. I am very proud of them and I have a great relationship with them.

I loved your book, Class with the Countess.

It’s all about the simple gestures, greeting people properly when you meet them, saying, “thank you,” these are all the basics of good manners. Knowing how to treat people and be respectful, it is so important. It was how I grew up.

How much of that came from your mom and how much came from being the Countess?

I grew up with six brothers and sisters, so you have to know how to stroke people to get what you want! [laughs] It’s the art of working people and understanding that a compliment goes a long way. A large part of my beginning is my family. They taught me the basics, such as sharing, caring, and respect. My mother had this integrity and dignity, and that carries over in how you carry yourself. And my background as a nurse and helping people has really influenced a large part of my life. I know what it is to take care of people. Once a nurse, always a nurse.

It’s like everything you go through prepares you for the current stage in your life.

I agree. Marrying into the French aristocracy, I had to learn all of that. Aristocrats have learned early on how to make people feel comfortable. And I think that’s what class is all about. It’s being comfortable with who you are so that when you do receive people, it’s a comfortable situation. Some people are better at it than others. The aristocrats were very accepting of me and I learned a lot from them, from watching great hostesses in terms of how they put together parties and entertained and interacted with others—even how they used utensils at dinner parties! [laughs] They were mentors for me. I learned a lot from that period of my life. My ex had once said to me, “Where have you been all my life?” and I said, “I was getting ready for you!” [laughs] Had he met me ten years prior, I probably wouldn’t have been ready. Life takes you to certain places in life, and it always prepares you for your next chapter.

And your next chapter looks great.

Absolutely! I feel really lucky to have this show. It’s been a great vehicle for me; I got to write a book and sing, “Money Can’t Buy You Class,’ and “Chic C’est La Vie.” Beauty, class, and elegance lie within the soul. That’s what it’s all about. So I feel so lucky for everything that has happened in my life. Now, I want to take that and empower women everywhere with all that I have learned.

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