I never thought I’d speak to a Countess, more-so, one of the most well-known Countesses (if that’s even a word) in pop culture. She’s the woman made reality-show famous on Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York; Countess LuAnn de Lesseps: a mother, author, singer, socialite, and philanthropist. And the aristocrat is now adding another title to her resume: co-owner of a new, edgy jewelry line.
But before we talk bling, a little background on Countess LuAnn, someone I simply addressed as “Countess,” after learning that’s protocol on the TV show.
She was raised in a boisterous Connecticut household with six siblings. She got her first job at 16, claiming that’s when she learned the value of a dollar. However, that inevitable lesson was ultimately followed by a series of lucky occurrences. The Countess was a practical nurse-turned-model, who eventually became an Italian television personality. Like any fashion-forward young woman, she fell head-over-heels with the European lifestyle and attitude. Fate then led her to Count Alexandre de Lesseps, a French Aristocrat of the Suez Canal dynasty. The stars were definitely on their side; LuAnn and Alexander married, and she instantly took on the noble title of Countess.
While LuAnn married into high society, the Countess told me the title doesn’t define her; it’s just part of who she is. In fact, even though she’s no longer married to her former happily ever after, the Countess maintains her stature of aristocracy, considering her children are de Lesseps. And she surely lives up to living elegantly, as you’d imagine any aristocrat would.
Of course we all know the Countess as a main player in Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York; she was cast in the original season back in 2008. She says the show has taught her how to navigate friendships among females; if you’ve seen Real Housewives, you know there’s quite a clashing of personalities. With that being said, LuAnn told me her co-stars are authentic gal pals. Despite drama, the Countess strives to remain calm and collected on TV; if you notice she’ll never be caught yelling like the other women. Besides, she says her older brothers taught her to be tough.
Between raising two teens–one in college–and balancing going between her city apartment and home in the Hamptons, the Countess has a jam-packed schedule; in fact, we even battled booking our ten minute phone interview! (But I thank her for her time.)
She does a lot of charity work and makes a number of television appearances; in addition, of course, to filming Real Housewives. She also has a weekly column for Ok! Magazine Online called What Would the Countess Do? The column is based off her book, Class with the Countess, a how-to on being confident, classy, and comfortable.
And LuAnn has even dabbled into the recording biz–click here to watch the Countess’ music video. Listen to the lyrics…she says her song was strategically written to empower women to be cool and courageous. (It’s called Money Can’t Buy You Class.)
In October 2012, the Countess achieved one of her life-long goals, launching an accessory line. (As a child, LuAnn says her jewelry box was a prized possession.) Real Housewives viewers know LuAnn has a sense of elite style, and here’s secret–she doesn’t even have a stylist!
The Countess is determined to impact her female fans, striving to teach them how to be stylish and sophisticated. That’s why she teamed up with Jessica Elliot, a world renowned accessories designer. Now everyone can own a little piece of Countess LuAnn.
The two most recently debuted www.ShopLuAnn.com, a website where you can buy fun, affordable, statement pieces. The Countess told me the line is vintage glam, infused with color and class. There are wonderful options that can easily dress up a simple LBD, taking a day outfit to something fabulous for night. She says her favorite piece is the hammered cuff–an item that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
Our ten minute phone convo went by in flash, so as a final question, I asked LuAnn her three tips to live by when it comes to being a Countess.
Her response: have respect, be confident, and stay true to your beliefs.
For more on America’s eminent Countess, click here.