My Night With “Celebrities”

I’ve never been ashamed to admit that I watch a ton of Bravo shows, but I am reluctant to admit that one of the worst shows of all became a guilty pleasure. 

I panned Vanderpump Rules when it first premiered, despite the fact that I want to be friends with Lisa Vanderpump. I thought the show – which followed the staff of her West Hollywood restaurant and lounge, SUR – was vapid and starred terrible people. Then, I got sick and watched a mid-season marathon, and even though I still stand by my original conjecture, I did get hooked on the show and all of its insane drama. I wasn’t alone; a few of my co-workers watched too, and on Tuesday morning we always had fun rehashing all of the twists and turns of the show.

So, when we found ourselves in Hollywood last week for a work event, we knew we had to go to SUR once it was over. At about 10:30, we rolled up, not knowing what to expect. While I figured we’d see at least one person we recognized from the show, one of my companions was convinced none of the cast really worked there.

Right off the bat, we saw one of the bartenders from the show, Jax, making a drink. If you watched the show, you know he is a pathological liar and may or may not have impregnated a porn star in Vegas (yes, that was discussed during almost every episode). Seeing him in real life was jarring, because he was even better looking in person, and I felt like I knew way too much about a stranger. After staring for too long, we sat down in the lounge and ordered drinks from a very nice woman that wasn’t on the show.

Our drinks were delivered by Stassi, another Vanderpump Rules star who happened to be Jax’s ex-girlfriend. She spent most of the season pissed off at her friends for not taking her side during their break-up, and generally came off as self-centered. She seemed friendly enough, and one of my companions asked her if she ever gets sick of people asking for photos.

“I really don’t mind, because it makes the night go by faster,” she said.

Two members of the group decided to take a photo with her, and the way she posed showed that she was used to taking pictures and knew what to do to look her best. Soon after, we saw that we weren’t the only ones there who watched the show; several people also asked Jax to take pictures with them, which he obliged.

We didn’t see anyone else that we recognized, minus one of the owners, Guillermo. Lisa Vanderpump and her husband Ken were nowhere to be seen, and we found out from a busser (we were not afraid to ask questions) that she had been there the night before at a party. After he told us he was only two weeks into the job, I asked him if he knew that SUR was famous when he applied. He said yes, because he got the job thanks to his parents, who were friends with Lisa and Ken. He added that Lisa is even nicer in person, and that the drama you see on the show (and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) is real, because he’s seen it unfold in real time.

By the time we left close to midnight, I was actually impressed by SUR. I liked the décor, and the drink I had was spectacular (if you go, get the raspberry mojito). We ordered a few appetizers, which weren’t bad either. I almost lied and said it was my birthday, because you get some sort of dessert with a giant sparkler attached, and since I like shiny things I wanted it.

While we didn’t gawk at the SUR staff, we definitely kept our eyes on them, which probably weirded them out. The fact that most of the crowd there was doing the same thing must have made it a pretty awkward work environment. You feel like you know these people when you obviously don’t, but they’re all aspiring actors and models and musicians, so they probably like the attention and the fact that they are getting noticed. I have no plans to return anytime soon, although that mojito really was amazing; maybe I’ll return for another and a possible Lisa Vanderpump sighting.

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Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

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