“Own your shit. Own your shit. That’s kind of the point. Everyone, feel great about themselves,” Stassi Schroeder urges over the phone in the tone she has made famous over seven seasons of Bravo's Vanderpump Rules. It’s a voice that is passionate yet shockingly deliberate for someone as intense as Schroeder, a woman who has now parlayed her status as VPR’s reigning queen bee into her very own book deal. The reality star’s first title, the handbook-style Next Level Basic debuts on April 16.
That’s why she’s recommending everyone “own their shit” — that attitude is the very bedrock of Schroeder’s Next Level Basic framework. To truly be NLB, all one needs to do is discover the things they love and embrace them without fear or apology. Cheap tequila shots? Brunch photos? Goat cheese balls? These are all things Schroeder unabashedly loves and touts in her book.
In fact, they’re all tenants of the NLB lifestyle the Bravolebrity outlines in her handbook’s chapter, “The Cult Of Stassi.” It’s a group Schroeder invites you to join, arms wide open, Game Of Thrones already on in the background.
“Cults are such a touchy thing because real cults are horrific. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or bring up stuff for somebody who has an actual experience with them and are probably traumatized,” Schroeder explains from the jump. But, she feels she has a right to chat about the subject. After all, she’s not gleefully making fun of cults and their effects — “I’m invested,” the new author says. That’s why she’s been to L.A.’s Museum Of Death to learn even more about Jonestown, which is one of her top fascinations.
“I couldn’t even go in some of the rooms because it’s that intense. I’m like, ‘I feel sick to my stomach seeing some of the things I’m witnessing,” Schroeder recalls. And, yet, she persisted to see recreations of the Jonestown compound, explaining, “[There were versions of] all the rooms they stayed in, with actual furniture and stuff that was in some of their rooms. That was some of the craziest things to see. I was shook.”
Then there’s the fact Schroeder stumbled into something she never thought she would: Scientology. The former SURver's ex-boyfriend and Pump Rules co-star Jax Taylor roped her into a visit to an L.A. Scientology center about a decade ago after he had appeared in a commercial for the church, as Schroeder explains in Next Level Basic. “At first I didn’t think about talking about my Scientology experience [in NLB]. But I 100% wanted to have ‘The Cult Of Stassi’ chapter in the book. It almost didn’t make it,” she admits over the phone, saying her publishers questioned the chapter’s inclusion. “I was like, I don’t give a fuck. This to me is my favorite part … So I was thinking, ‘Have I ever come close to anything like that?’ And I was like, ‘Uh, I felt like Scientology was like a cult, and I’m gonna talk about it.’”
With Schroeder's background in cult obsession defended, she can consider what else should be included in the Cult Of Stassi. The possibilities make up such a long list that it’s keeping the reality star up at night. “I really do wake up sometimes in a cold sweat thinking, like, ‘Oh my God, I should have done a chapter on this,” she says. “But I feel like I could probably make a Cult Of Stassi list that’s way, way longer [than the one in NLB]. Maybe that can be like an extra mini book to come later.”
Besides the aforementioned fried diary products, HBO fantasy epics, and VPR-approved liquor, Schroeder confirms a #basic fondness for a variety of social media-friendly pleasures. Splurge-worthy shoes (“They always fit, so they last forever), popular true crime murder documentaries (“Come on, it’s basically like watching The Bachelor now. We’re all on board”), which, she spills, have already inspired Schroeder's “enlightened” next book idea, and, possibly, couple tattoos, fall under that purview. “I don’t know anyone who has a couple’s tattoo. I feel like maybe more people should,” she says with a laugh. “You could always get it removed or cover it up.”
Does that mean Schroeder would get one with her fan-favorite boyfriend, Beau Clark? Well, the VPR mainstay won’t go that far, since, at 30, she still hasn’t gotten inked. However, she’s not against her tatted-up beau getting some body art in her honor. “I tell him every day, I’m ready to get my face tattooed over his dick,” she announces. “You know what I mean?”
Speaking of Clark, Schroeder lovingly believes he, like every other man on Vanderpump Rules, is basic in his own way. Well, all the dudes are basic save for co-star James Kennedy, whom Schroeder calls a “fucking terrorist,” after filming the soon-to-arrive Pump Rules season 7 reunion special. That’s not basic at all.
But overall-wearing Clark? He is mercifully sometimes just as corny as the guys filling Instagram with gym selfies, which Schroeder categorizes as regulation behavior. “Right when I started dating my boyfriend, even like the first year, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s so quirky,’” she remembers. Then, he started showing her people’s Instagram stories. “Oh, bro, you have some basic tendencies. Welcome to the club.”