In the words of the wise Harry Hamlin, “What other people think of you is none of your business.”
While Hamlin may not get credit as the originator of the quote, it’s advice wife Lisa Rinna has been taking to heart of late. Although she’s been staying close to home since the beginning of COVID—“even thinking about getting my hair colored or my nails done is a big feat”—she’s also had her fair share of very public backlash for her reality-star role on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills during this time.
“We put ourselves out there. I put myself out there. That’s just part of the process, part of the production. But it [the backlash] isn’t easy at all. I think if anything, I’ve learned to not take anything personally. Harry always says that line and it really helps the girls and me. I tend to go back to that line a lot.”
Something else, Rinna says, that’s important for fans—and foes—to remember: Reality shows aren’t real life.
“My real life is my real life and the Housewives is a TV show. That is as basic of an explanation I can give everyone. I’m not playing a character, there is no script, but we are in front of cameras. I always like to call that out because, yes, I’m being Lisa Rinna, but it’s a heightened version of Lisa Rinna. That’s the best way to put it.”
Of course, pre-Housewives weren’t exactly the days of “Rinna lite.” From the time she left her small hometown of Medford, OR right after high school to pursue modeling, the now 57-year-old’s motto has always been “never say no”—and it’s a philosophy that’s parlayed into a rather secured spot in Hollywood as an actress, spokesperson, New York Times best-selling author and business-woman (her fashion collection on QVC has sold “into the millions” of SKUs). For her next project, she’ll take on the world of beauty for the first time with the launch of an eponymous line, Rinna Beauty, available for pre-order now with a Lip Kit and a planned expansion into skin care in the new year.
“It’s really been a long time in the making. I’ve always wanted to come out with something for lips, and it’s been at least 10 years in the making—maybe even more. It’s really funny, but I could never find the right partner to get into business with. I want to say there were five different times where I got really, really close to making a deal, and then something would happen and it would fall through. I kept thinking, ‘Maybe it’s not meant to be,’ and I would turn back to my clothing line and focus on that. I was going to let the idea go because it seemed like the universe was saying, ‘This isn’t going to happen for you.’”
I put myself out there. That’s just part of the process, part of the production.
But, as luck would have it, it did: “Just when I was going to let it go, this company came along,” Rinna recalls. “I was in New York at the time and I met with them and it felt right. I thought, ‘OK, this is positive.’ Everything kept happening and happening and happening…I went to the factory, I looked through all the product, we were close on creating the formulas and I kept thinking, ‘Well, I can’t get my hopes up because it’s probably not going to happen.’ Then, guess what? It did. It worked this time.”
Like a lot of things, COVID made it a bit more difficult to get the new line off the ground, as did Rinna’s self-described “extreme” level of perfectionism. “The fact that we were doing it during COVID made it challenging, obviously, and everything took so much longer. I can’t really tell how much longer it took, but it took a while. And I’m so specific in what I like—lip gloss and lipstick-wise, and even with my lip pencil—that I’m sure I’m part of what made it take longer. When you really start to get into it, you look at all the brands and colors you love, and then you’re inspired and you go from there.”
“We had many, many, many, many, many rounds, especially on the lip gloss because I like a certain texture of gloss and I don’t want any fragrance—I want it super clean. I like it a little more on the ‘substantial’ side, a little bit thicker. I think I drove everybody crazy there for a minute because I was like, ‘Now, can we mix number one and number two together, and see what that does?’ Sure enough, after about 10 times, we got it right and I could not be happier. The same thing happened with the lipstick. It was a bit quicker, but I also have a very specific lipstick formulation I like. Who knew there were so many different lipstick formulations? Let me tell you, it’s a lot.”
While the process to get the final product may not have been easy, an inherent love of beauty, which she says runs deep in the family, set the stage for this endeavor from early on. “Beauty has always been a big part of my life because my mom, Lois, who is a queen, has never, ever left the house without her makeup on. It was something that was really important to her. She only ever bought drugstore beauty, nothing high-end, but I always saw her take such good care of her skin. She would always have her hair and makeup done nicely, and she always had her lipstick on before she left the house.”
“Now, I’m very much the opposite of that. In my day to day, I’m pretty casual. I don’t wear any makeup, really. In my dance videos I post on social media, you can see what I really look like, which is a good representation of who I actually am in real life—especially during this time at home. My mom always said to me, ‘Why don’t you just put a little blush on? You’ll feel better. It’ll make you feel better, I promise.’ It’s so funny. We still have this running joke because now that she’s 92, God love her, there’ll be times where she’ll look at me and say, ‘Did I put too much blush on?’ And I say, ‘You did,’ and I’ll smooth it out a little bit for her. It’s this running joke we have that’s really cute.”
And then there her daughters, Delilah Belle, 22, and Amelia Gray, 19, whose modeling careers earned Rinna the resume addition of momager during the past few years. “The girls are cutting-edge. I think it’s accurate to say that they’re on the edge of everything! We love to share products. I’ve always had problematic skin, so I’ve tried everything out there. I had adult acne and the girls go through a bit of that, too; Delilah went through a patch recently with some acne and whatnot. I’m certainly able to help them in that area, and so we share all kinds of beauty products and all kinds of things. They turn me onto things, and I turn them onto things. It’s a really nice back and forth.”
“But I’ll try anything. There are so many great things out there. Right now, I love those LED face masks. I’m big on getting facials and lasers, and for the last eight months, I haven’t really gone to get any of that stuff. But maintenance is so important, and what we have available to us for anti-aging has come so far. Because we can’t really go anywhere, what I truly love at the moment is the Dr. Dennis Gross LED Mask—those lights are so great! They stimulate collagen and kill bacteria, and it just works. I love it. That’s my go-to thing right now because I can’t really go out and have the treatments I love.”
One treatment that she’s a bit more “tight-lipped” on: lip fillers (although she does hint that the next scheduled launch for her line is a lip enhancer, as well as an Alter Ego kit that plays off her different “alter egos”).
“I think we all know the story on my lips. I don’t think we really have to talk about it—it’s pretty much out there for the world. I think whatever anybody wants to do is cool. We have all these products and all these treatments, and at the
end of the day, it’s all about feeling good about yourself. That’s really all I have to say about that.”
As for the one thing Rinna is doing to feel good about herself during these uncertain times: the popular dance videos she regularly posts on social media. “It makes me happy to do it. If it brings other people joy, then even better. It’s just a little break. From what I gather, people get a kick out of it. I get a kick out of it. It’s fun when you get to do something that makes you feel good and then makes others feel good. It’s a win-win. What else will I do? Who knows? I’m game for anything. You know me, I’m a hustler. I’ll try anything.”
Photography: John Russo; Makeup: Joey Maalouf for The Only Agency; Hair: Scott King for The Only Agency; Styling: Marielou Bartoli