Kristen Doute talks season 5 of 'Vanderpump Rules': 'This is definitely my favorite season'
By: Gibson Johns
Kristen Doute has been through her fair share of ups and downs, but she's seemingly come out on top.
Heading into a fifth season of "Vanderpump Rules," the reality TV star is happier than she's been in quite some time, thanks in part to renewed friendships with fellow cast members Stassi Schroeder and Katie Maloney as well as a relationship with new boyfriend photographer boyfriend, Carter.
Up until the current fifth season of Bravo's "Pump Rules," when the show's diehard fans thought of Doute, they probably thought of her tumultuous relationship with ex-boyfriend Tom Sandoval or that time Lisa Vanderpump, who owns SUR, the restaurant that the cast apparently still works at, fired her. But now, as Doute puts it, "there's been a change."
I recently caught up with Kristen Doute on the phone to talk about her shaky past, how she's gotten to such a great place in her life and which cast member we can expect the most drama from during the fifth season of "Vanderpump Rules."
See photos of Kristen Doute through the years:
Check out our full conversation with "Vanderpump Rules" star Kristen Doute below:
Going into this fifth season of "Vanderpump Rules," it seems as though you're in a much better place than you have been in a while. What's different for you this time around?
Obviously, during past seasons, people have seen their fair share of meltdowns that I've had, but I think that everything happens for a reason. I'm not proud of all of the decisions that I've made, but I think that it really was for the benefit of all of us when I lost a lot of my friends a couple of years ago, because it put me in a rock bottom place. I had to take a hard look at myself and become more self-aware. With that, I was able to make healthier changes for myself, which has resulted in getting these friendships back.
It's not like we wanted what we had before, but we all wanted to get to somewhere even better. It was a huge wakeup call seeing this stuff on TV. This is definitely my favorite season. It's all about Katie and Tom and their wedding, and it feels like a throwback to season one with everyone being back together.
I also have a great boyfriend and a stable relationship -- finally! [Laughs] He's such a great support system, and I really think that helps me a lot.
Will we see him a lot on the show this season?
Yes, definitely. I was very fortunate that he was willing to do this. It's not easy when you are thrown into something like this, something we're all used to. He's not used to sharing his whole life on camera, whereas, for us, it's easy because we've been doing it for five seasons now. For him, it was kind of a crazy thing to have to jump into. He's known most of the cast for so many years, though -- I was probably one of the only people he didn't already know -- and I think that made it a lot easier for him. It wasn't like he was hanging out with a bunch of strangers on camera.
Your friendship with Stassi Schroeder also seems fully mended now. How were you guys able to get to such a good place again?
You mean, how did Stassi forgive me?! [Laughs] I gave Stassi the space that she needed. It took us about a year and a half to even start talking again, and little-by-little I started reaching out. It made me nervous, but I was willing to accept a rejection if that's they way she wanted to go with it. I didn't want to go with her thinking that I didn't care enough to try. It definitely took some time, and we started talking little-by-little a couple of years ago, eventually when she was able to really get over Jax and not care about him anymore and become self-aware in her own place, she was able to then forgive me. It took time to rebuild that trust, and I tried really hard to prove to her that I was a changed person that she could trust. I'm really grateful that it worked out.
Okay, if you're looking at the whole of this fifth season, which cast member would you say has the most overall drama throughout the season?
Oh, God! We all kind of do in different ways, really. I mean, it's no surprise that we're not huge fans of James and Lala. We kind of really stood strong and banded together to protect each other [from them]. In the first few episodes there's also kind of a lot of Katie bullying, and I made it my personal mission to be Katie's bodyguard. Anyone that tried to bully Katie, I was like "She's planning a wedding, leave her alone." So, it's like, the crazy went away, but my feistiness will never go away. [Laughs]
Even so, there are a lot of relationships between the core cast that are going to be interesting for the viewers -- I don't want to give too much away -- but people are going to be talking to each other that you might not totally expect. I also think the guys cried more this season than the girls.
Oh, judging by the trailer, that is definitely true. (*Watch the trailer at the top of this page*)
Seriously! I mean, Sandoval obviously. But Schwartz had an emotional summer and there were more, like, guy-fights. It was kind of strange.
So, at this point, you are all full-blown celebrities, but you started simply as wait staff at one of Lisa Vanderpump's restaurants. When did you really notice a switch in how people were treating you and reacting to you?
Saying that word is just so odd, I don't know. We're still the same people, but I feel like we started noticing a major difference between season two and season three, when people really started to become invested in our relationships and lives and having feelings about our breakups and fights. I think that people started to relate to those things, and that's what we like most about doing the show.
We're all so honest, and not all reality shows are "real." We all know this. There are some that are more guided or maybe even scripted -- who knows. But our show is really the only one that, I feel, is completely genuine. We weren't cast, and when we started noticing that people were invested, we felt as if we were almost helping them. I had people reaching out to me after my breakup from Tom Sandoval saying, "Oh my God, I went through that, too! Thank you for sharing your story!"
When people come up to you, what's the most common thing for them to say to you?
Now, people still get stuck in 2012. They're still stuck in "Crazy Kristen" and "Why are you trying to stalk Tom Sandoval and trying to break up Ariana [Madix] and Tom?" It's like, that was four years ago! I still get a lot of that on social media, but in person people say positive things. People don't know my boyfriend, Carter, yet, but people are seeing from social media that I'm happier [with him]. There's been a change.
It must be nice to be getting that sympathy from viewers.
For sure. And, listen, we put ourselves out there, and we know what to expect: People are going to have opinions, but it's nice when people are able to realize we aren't one-dimensional and that you don't see everything on the show.
How has your relationship with Lisa Vanderpump evolved over the course of the show's five seasons?
When she fired me, obviously it wasn't ideal in the way that it went down, but at the same time it was a blessing in disguise, in that it was the healthiest thing that could've happened for both Lisa and I. It was just becoming very tough for me, and it made it even tougher for Lisa, because she had to deal with the backlash of my actions.
But I think that on a personal level, because we're both so stubborn. But I've grown up, and I have the utmost respect for Lisa. She is a brilliant entrepreneur. I can't imagine handling all of the businesses she has plus her family and the dogs and Yulin. Hats off to her for leading that charge. I'm very proud to be able to say that I know her and work with her.
You and your cast mates recently went on the "VanderCrawl," a bar crawl around the Meatpacking District in New York City, to gear up for the premiere. What was that like?
Oh my God, it was crazy! Literally mind-blowing, I couldn't believe what a turnout we had. It was so much fun and really cool to be able to meet so many people, because the bottom line is that we wouldn't have a show without every single fan and viewer.
You recently launched your lifestyle website Vegiholic. Can you tell me about it and why you wanted to start your own website?
I'm not a chef or a dietician or a nutritionist, but I've been a vegetarian for 22 years, and I do love to cook. I love to pair things and come up with cool ideas for everyone -- whether you eat meat or you're a vegan or what have you -- I just think that I can turn people onto a cleaner lifestyle. A lot of people don't realize how easy it is to start eating healthier, even with the things that you already have in your fridge.
I think a lot of people are nervous about a vegetarian lifestyle, because they think it's expensive or they think it's time-consuming. The website is not just recipes (though, there will be recipes and things you can make from scratch) but it's also fun recommendations and things. I'm going to be doing kind of a restaurant crawl over time, and I want to teach people that when you go to a restaurant you wouldn't normally eat at if you're a vegetarian, you don't need to just get a side salad. There are so many ways to do that.
I'm just so excited about it -- it's a huge passionate of mine -- and I feel really fortunate that my boyfriend is in photography. Katie Maloney has a blog and, right when I was starting, she told me that I have that secret weapon that successful bloggers have -- a photographer boyfriend. That's been really cool to have him shooting for everything I'm creating.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Tune into "Vanderpump Rules" on Bravo, Mondays at 9 p.m. EST.
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