Last week, I pointed out how shockingly mature the walking, talking hot messes of Vanderpump Rules are becoming. This week, with Monday night’s “SUR Going South,” the Bravo reality show took that adult-ish vibe a step further, turning arguments that formerly would have become tequila-soaked screaming matches into low-volume, quickly-resolved conversations. Even Kristen Doute admitted that maybe, just maybe, ex-boyfriend DJ James Kennedy isn’t a total piece of trash. Vanderpump Rules season 6 is a time of redemption for all (except for Jax Taylor, reiki or no reiki).
No one has benefited more from all the growth happening in the SUR orbit more than Lala Kent, a young woman who was originally best known for feuding with her female co-stars and making cracks about their “beach bodies.” As we head into the final episodes of the season, Lala has proven she’s the beacon of female empowerment amid the chaos of West Hollywood’s most famous group of friends.
Although Lala initially entered the melee of Vanderpump by throwing critical barbs at her fellow cast members, “Going South” proves just have far the cast is from those days. Instead, this is the age of Lala Kent’s relentless, unapologetic body positivity. We’re reminded of as much by the episode’s indisputable high point, when the singer goes for a moonlit witching hour dip in the Caribbean Sea with former enemies like Katie Maloney-Schwartz, Stassi Schroder, and Kristen.
“I’m getting into the water. But-ass naked. Because I did not wear underwear and I don’t have a bra on,” she announces. The words, “And you all should too,” seems implied. Lala does as she promised and proudly stands “butt-ass naked” on the beach in front of her friends, proving to her co-stars there is no reason to be ashamed of their bodies. There is an obvious atmosphere of sisterhood as Lala, happy in her birthday suit, helps unzip Stassi’s romper. Soon enough, everyone is giggling half-naked-to-real naked in the surf.
While Katie will go down as saying the most iconic line of the night — “I feel like, if we all touch nipples, do we cast a spell?” — it’s hard to believe we would get that instantly quotable bon mot without Lala’s body-positive presence.
The feeling of Lala saying or doing something deeply necessary when no one else will has become a running theme of season 6. That is what led to her most memorable line in all of Vanderpump Rules, “I thank my little kitty cat because it takes that D like a champ." Although that example of self-love is hilarious and deserves to be turned into a canvas poster, it also speaks to something much greater and more meaningful than a funny piece of commentary on vaginas.
The only reason Lala even gives her kitty a shoutout on national television is because Ariana Madix, Pump Rules’ most guarded cast member, reveals her own history with abusive relationships in “Sex, Lies and Audiotape.” During a shopping trip, Ariana explains she doesn’t enjoy “P in the V” sex with her boyfriend, Tom Sandoval. Nonplussed, Lala asks if that means their relationship is built around oral sex. Ariana says no. So “finger banging?” Again, Ariana says no, explaining, “I don’t want anyone touching my vagina, like, ever … I was in a really mentally and emotionally abusive relationship where I was told my vagina was disgusting.” Lala is visibly shocked because, as she said earlier in the conversation, “I want every woman to know her worth.”
So, it naturally becomes the SURver’s mission to turn Ariana’s attitude about her body around. Lala repeatedly tells her pal her body is “perfect” and “perfection,” and you can tell by just how instant she is, the singer means it. That’s why Lala brings up her kitty — she wants Ariana to thank every single part of her body for serving her so well, including her vagina. It’s the same ritual Lala performs every single day, which leads to wonderful realizations like, “I thank my hands, even though I think they’re man hands. They give great hand jobs.”
Thankfully we see Lala’s pro-woman behavior isn’t limited to cis ladies, as she is one of the first people to truly try to connect with new hostess Billie Lee, who is transgender. “I can’t even describe to you how much I love and adorable Billie,” she said during a confessional in episode “See You Next Tuesday,” adding with her traditional Lala twist, “She just embodies everything a human being should embody. She has great tits too.”
Lala’s cheerleading for every woman around her has led to to some of Jax Taylor’s most interesting confrontations this season, following his cheating scandal. In the inaugural Mexico vacation episode "Nothing Here for Me," Lala notices how little Jax actually knows about girlfriend-of-two-years Brittany, down to the fact he has no idea what her dream job is. So, Lala reminds the disgraced bartender his relationship is a “partnership,” not a dictatorship. Rather than saying, “Yeah, that sounds right,” Jax replies, “Don’t talk to me that way.” And, so, the Lalacano erupts, as she informs Jax, “I will talk to you however I damn well please … Respect her!”
It now seems like the only way to actually see Lala trash other women, the stereotypical bread-and-butter of reality TV, is when she is attacked first. Famed Bravo-obsessive Jennifer Lawrence called Lala a “cunt” during an appearance on Andy Cohen's late-night series Watch What Happens Live earlier this month. The offensive remark was used in response to Lala’s recent redemption arc, which made it all the more cutting. So, Lala's immediate reaction was to tweet, “Bitch, you better pray I don’t see you in the streets … You claim you are pro-women and you call another woman a cunt? You’re gross.”
Despite that very aggressive statement — and a later podcast appearance where Lala criticized Lawrence’s appearance and drinking habits — the Vanderpump Rules star confirmed last week, “I wanted to let it be known J.Law and I are all good now.”
Apparently, even the women who hurt Lala the most are now welcome under her feminist umbrella of pet names and positivity.
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