Lisa Rinna — The Real Deal

Erika Long
Alison Marie Isbell
Gemma Lacey

After leaving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Rinna is experiencing an inspiring renaissance, gracing catwalks across the globe in a series of ever more fabulous outfits. The actress, entrepreneur and muse shares her secrets for celebrating yourself, staying vibrant and understanding the real power of the word ‘no’.

Starting her career as an actress on hit soap opera Days of Our Lives, Lisa says acting was in her blood from the start. “My mum wanted to be an actress and did not fulfil that dream for herself. So I think I came out of the womb wanting to be an actress,” she says. That’s not to say it came effortlessly to her, but on talking to her it’s clear positivity and a can-do attitude are an integral part of her character. We discuss pivotal advice she received, and she recalls meeting with an agent in LA when she had just moved there from Oregon. “When I first started out, I had an agent say to me, ‘Sweetie, I think you should just get back on the bus and go back to Oregon because it’s not going to work out for you’. That was probably the best thing that happened to me because it drove me, and it probably still drives me. I mean, that was said to me in 1981, clearly I’ve never forgotten it.”
While some young actresses might have taken that knock more seriously, Lisa was inspired by it. “I thought, well, ‘How dare you tell me that? How dare you say to me what I can and can’t do?’ And guess what, I’ll show you! I think when you come from that drive or look at how many movies are made on revenge, and it’s not that I’m taking revenge, but do you know what I mean? It’s like a spark inside of you. I’ll say maybe he was one of my greatest teachers because that drove me and it’s probably still driving me.”
Seven screen tests later she landed the Days of Our Lives role, something which was a huge deal as she’d grown up watching the show. “I came to find out that in the acting world, soap operas are very low on the totem pole. Which is unfortunate because I think that’s some of the greatest training ground, you know, you really learn how to act, you really learn how to learn your lines and act on your feet and be very professional. So I always thought it was a great thing, and I made it into a great thing, and I made it into a cool thing. But most people were like, ‘Oh, you’re doing a soap opera’, and kind of poo-pooed it.”

Rudi Gernreich monokini, stylist’s own vintage belt, Stuart Weitzman shoes, Jennifer Fisher hoop earring, Martine Ali ball earring, L. Jardim rings

Kenzo jacket, shirt, trousers & shoes

One thing which strikes me is Lisa’s positivity. There’s not so much a refusal of negativity but a curiosity surrounding it. A reason why – in addition to her acting career – she’s also a successful entrepreneur. She credits Suzanne Somers with inspiring her. “I watched her go from acting on a sitcom to selling that Thighmaster and making something like $300 million. I thought, ‘I’m not doing the right thing. I have to rethink this’. She really opened my eyes to being able to be an actor and be a businesswoman and create and do anything you want.”
For Lisa, her products represent different sides of her personality and how she expresses herself. “The lips obviously are such a big part of me, and the alcohol and wine, I mean, I like to drink. I love to have fun. And so really everything has been very authentic. And I think when you do things that are authentic to you and feel right, they are successful and they are quite easy to do. It’s when you try to fit a round peg into a square or square peg into a round hole, that it doesn’t quite work. But as long as it’s something that you are passionate about and it feels authentic, I think it works.”
This strong sense of identity is evidenced clearly by her catchphrase, “Are you ready to own it?”. I ask about the origins, and she reveals its roots were from The Real Housewives. “It happened on the show. I was really frustrated with one of the characters, one of the girls on the show who I knew was lying and who I just got so frustrated with because I had the proof that she was lying, and it just flew out of my mouth. I just said, ‘Just own it. Fucking own it.’ It just came out of the fact that I don’t like injustice and I don’t like when people try to pull the wool over your eyes.” It seems typical of Li-sa’s spirit that an adverse situation would birth such an empowered statement, as she puts it, “I mean, it’s really kind of funny, but it came out of a frustration I had for someone who was lying.”

Kenzo shirt, leggings, hat & necklace

Versace dress & shoes, stylist’s own sunglasses, L. Jardim earrings

We discuss how reality shows are set up for conflict and how she navigated that. Her reply was surprising. “I wasn’t ready for it, and I wasn’t used to it because I don’t have conflict. We don’t have a lot of conflict in our lives. And again, I just looked at it as a job. That was my job. That’s what those shows want. It’s very easy if you put eight women together, you don’t have to do much to piss somebody off or for them to piss you off. It’s just set up that way. And I think that it served its purpose. I did it for eight years. But I think there comes a time when you maybe need to have peace in your life and not do that anymore.”
Peace for Lisa may look different than it does for most of and fun and boy did I get it!” As we speak, she’s in Paris hunting down a vintage bag by Tom Ford for Gucci, all amidst some dramatic forays into fashion week where she roamed the catwalk in swimsuits and leopard print to rapturous applause. “I just kept saying ‘yes’ to the universe, and as one door closes, another one opens. We could say all the things that people always say, but it’s really true. Once I closed that door, so many doors have flown open and I have had the time of my life. I’m meeting people from all over the world. I have this friend Frederick from Sweden and we like to go to the shows together. So that’s been a blast. And so I’m just living this life that I’ve always wanted. I’ve always loved fashion. I’ve always loved to express myself that way.“
We discuss the wonderful renaissance we’re seeing with established actresses, for example Jennifer Coolidge’s recent incredible performances on The White Lotus. “I think it’s so amazing, and I think we’re so lucky that this is happening. I mean, I’m a 59-year-old woman. I am not a spring chicken. Jennifer Coolidge is in her 60s. We’re still vibrant. We still look great. We still have fun. There’s so much life to live. We’re not dead yet. And so I think it’s fantastic. I’m so excited!”

LRS collar, stylist’s studio custom skirt, Stuart Weitzman shoes, Jennifer Fisher earrings, Chrishabana bracelet

Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello dress, shoes & bracelet, Jennifer Fisher ring

Another fun aspect of her recent shift is to spend time with her daughters who are also modelling. “One of them is 21, and I’m 59. I mean, to me, it shows that there are no boundaries, and women should be able to do all of this at any age for as long as they live. Look at Jane Fonda. I mean, we’re lucky. We’re really lucky. And look at Rita Moreno at 91. Yeah, we have great role models right now that are being embraced by the public, and that is very lucky, and I feel so blessed for that.”
We talk about what’s next for her and she expresses her desire for more acting. “I’ve never played a murderer, I think that might be fun. I mean, I would love to work with Ryan Murphy. I would love to work with Mike White. I would love to work with Darren Starr again from Melrose, who does Emily in Paris. I mean, there’s some great producers out there who would be amazing to work with. So I just keep putting it out into the universe. I mean,
I’d love to do an American Horror Story. I think that would be so fun.” As we close out, we talk about the theme of our current issue, ‘Inter-lude’, and I ask what it means to her. She ponders, then tells me, “I think of music and I think of something positive and magical. To me, the word ‘interlude’ means magic. And I don’t really know why. I think that it allows space for magic to happen.”

Kenzo trousers & beret

Order your copy of issue 17 here
Photographer: Erika Long
Stylist: Alison Marie Isbell
Makeup: Courtney Jones using Makeup Forever
Hair: Ben Jones using Davines
Set: Nat Hoffman
Production: Olivia Gouveia & Auriel Rickard at Family Projects
Lighting director: Christian Robinson
Photographer’s assistant: Tyler Roste
Stylist’s assistants: Caroline Anderson, Stella Evans & Héctor Suriel
Hair assistant: Davey Matthew
Production assistant: Peter Christensen