If you ever have the pleasure of talking to Vanderpump Rules breakout Lala Kent, she might refer to herself as simply “a girl from Utah,” which is just about the last way anyone would talk about the Bravo star. A woman who nibbled on some very controversial pasta? Yes. Reality TV’s most vocal millennial feminist? That too. Queen Of bodysuits And baby bottles? Definitely. Now, Kent is adding to that resume with Lionsgate’s serial killer and sorority girls horror film The Row, which debuts Friday, July 27 on video on demand and in select theaters.
The Row marks Kent’s first time leading a major motion picture, as she plays Riley Cole, a college freshman who begrudgingly enters the Greek system. Everything is fun, games, and partying with a Teen Wolf alum (Dylan Sprayberry) until a serial killer begins terrorizing her sorority chapter in a truly gruesome, haunting, and shockingly personal manner. Along the way, Riley learns her family has some dark secrets of its own.
Despite some charming B-movie-ish cheese sprinkled throughout The Row, it still manages to explore themes of campus sexual assault and sexist objectification amid all the murder and mayhem. So, we called Kent up to chat about her summer slasher flick. Keep reading to find out what she said about how it really feels to move from reality TV to leading a movie, her unexpected opinion on serial killers (and all the pop culture about about them), and, of course, whether The Row is about the pasta.
Refinery29: So, is The Row about the pasta? Inquiring minds need to know.
Lala Kent: “It is not. It is about a bunch of hot sorority chicks that are getting slaughtered left and right. But the story is incredibly cool. My mind is blown that I get to be the lead in this movie.”
You did a great job.
“Thank you! I really feel humbled by pretty much everything. In The Row, I tried really hard to be an actress and not just be some girl on a reality TV show.”
What attracted you most to The Row? Was it getting to breakout of the Bravolebrity box?
“I’ve always thought that I was going to be the type whose movie roles would be in this box of rom-com or me as a badass with a gun like Lara Croft. I never ever thought I wanted to do a horror film. [But] when i read the script it was like, ‘I have to do it because it’s going to make me feel uncomfortable. It’s going to test me in a way I haven’t been tested before in any acting class.’”
Did you end up feeling out of your comfort zone while filming?
“It’s always nerve wracking when you’re going into a situation where [your co-stars], this is all they do all the time. They’re auditioning every day. This is their craft. For me to finally be in this zone of, ‘Okay, I know what acting is about, but I haven’t been beating the streets. I’ve just simply been in classes,’ I was a little nervous.
“But then you go through day one, day two, you and your cast members become extremely close and bonded. You go back and forth about the script. After the third day it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in my element. This is what I want to do. This is my passion.’”
Hopefully you’ll see me whipping a long braid around on a motorcycle soon.
When did you even find time to film this between your music and Vanderpump?
“I’m pretty good at making time for all of my little crafts. When I heard I had booked this role and was going to take on the lead, I knew I had a chunk of time I needed to basically only focus on this. So I put everything else on hold for a second. Everyone was cool with that. It’s really hard to take on a role, especially when it’s your first movie and you’re not [usually] doing this every day, to focus on multiple things.”
While you were totally focusing on The Row, did you feel like any part of it reflected your own past? Even if it wasn’t that grim.
“I read it, and the person who I play, Riley, she was totally anti-sorority. She thought it was really lame. I related to her in that way. Then she becomes a part of the sorority and she’s bonded with these girls.
“Even though it’s not the exact same thing, I felt like there are those times where I’m like, ‘Ugh, this is so lame.’ Then you dip your toe in, and you bond with people you never thought you would bond with.”
That almost reflects your arc on Vanderpump Rules, where you’re now super close your fellow female castmates.
“Yeah it kind of mirrors that. The girls who are in The Row with me, they’re also all doing their things. They’re auditioning every day; they’re in Sports Illustrated.”
Speaking of your cast, which is stacked with young actresses, do you think the movie really says something about how society views women as body parts rather than people?
“Our writer, Sarah Scougal, is a woman, and she’s from England so she’s like, ‘I come from kind of a different place than [you] Americans.’ Where we’re like running around naked all the time. I don’t know if that theme was intentional for me. Instead, it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this [killer] is psychotic and really trying to freak people out.’”
Why do you think we're so fascinated by serial killers?
“They’re just intriguing. It’s like, ‘What goes on in the mind of someone who is so far gone they could not only take someone’s life, but leave their mark?’ Serial killers always have that one little thing. Whether it’s biting or, in The Row, leaving them as life-size dolls. It’s like, ‘What possesses someone to do something like that?’
“In the film, you get to see the story unfold and [learn] why the killer does what they do. It’s very intriguing because it is about family and the lengths you’ll go to to get revenge and ‘justice’ for a loved one. Even though it’s not the right way obviously.”
You Vanderpump co-star Stassi Schroeder has a well-documented obsession with serial killers. But, do you? Do you watch all of the TV shows and movies about them?
“I probably should not even say this because a horror film is coming out that I’m starring in, but I am so terrified of horror films. If you ask me to watch a horror film, I’m probably going to run the other way. Like, I’m going to be ‘sick’ that night. On Halloween, I’m terrified, I hunker down and watch Friends until the night is over.
“So no I don’t have an obsession with them. Maybe it’ll change now. Maybe I will see it differently than I did before...I’ll be able to remember, ‘Oh! That’s how they did this. I’m not afraid.’”
Did the Vanderpump Rules cast come to set?
“I like to keep those two things pretty separate just because when I’m in my artistic mind I like to make sure that’s put on the forefront and not tainted in any way. I don’t even really allow my mom to come see me on set. I like to stay in my zone. I like to be very much on my game.”
Like we said earlier, you kind of now have a Row-type sisterhood with your fellow Vanderpump ladies. Do you feel like your role has changed on the show since?
“I feel like everything is great between the girls and me on the show right now.”
Do you hope you’re going to breakout in the artistic fields you’re passionate about, like acting and music, in a way your cast members haven’t? Since they’ve mostly pivoted towards entrepreneurship.
“Vanderpump has been so amazing for me. I feel like I could never pay the show back because they really brought me into the light for people to see who Lala is, and people are giving me opportunities. Like starring in The Row, or I have another film we’re going to start in a couple months. Vanderpump has brought a lot of opportunities to my front door.”
And you’re taking them.
“I’m still in this zone of like, ‘Wow, is this real?’ … A lot of people move out here to do things and they end up losing track of why they’re here. I’m proud of myself that I never lost sight of my goal and what my end life should look like.
“The next film coming up is more of a romantic comedy. And then hopefully you’ll see me whipping a long braid around on a motorcycle soon.”
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