The 'Vanderpump Rules' star chats with ET just days after wrapping filming on season 9, the first to film since a wave of firings.
Same, same but different. That's the vibe for the upcoming season of Bravo's Vanderpump Rules, at least judging by what Lala Kent has to say. The 30-year-old reality star just wrapped filming on the hit series' delayed ninth season, the first to shoot since a wave of cast firings and exits nearly cut the ensemble in half. The production company and network jointly let go of original stars Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute last summer, after past racist actions against former castmate Faith Stowers came to light amid the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement. New additions Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni also got the boot due to old, racially insensitive social media posts, and not long after Jax Taylor, his wife, Brittany Cartwright, and Dayna Kathan all announced they were out, too.
"I think that the viewers will be surprised," Lala tells ET of how the exits are handled onscreen. "Because even myself, someone who's a part of the show going into it, I had my concerns. We lost amazing people on the show who brought a lot of stuff, and I think just what we gave and how everything was addressed, it was real life. I think everyone's going to be pleasantly surprised with how the season turned out."
Lala says she typically describes each season of Pump Rules as a "s**t show," but this time she's calling it "authentic AF."
"Everyone brought their own special things that I had never seen before," she teases. "It's very interesting when you take people out of a group dynamic, how some people kind of change and do things where you're like, 'I haven't seen this before. What is this?'"
It's likely that Lala is referencing Katie Maloney-Schwartz with that comment. Formerly one third of the "Witches of WeHo" alongside Stassi and Kristen, Katie's on her own for the first time in season 9 and, judging by social media, buddied up with Lala. The cast's social media posts over the course of filming (which began in early May) have some viewers concerned, as it appears the group is all getting along, which doesn't exactly make for great TV.
"We're definitely not getting along," Lala says. "This is a very resilient group of people. We're talking about people who have slept with each other's boyfriends and they're still best friends, so even though it looks like something from the outside, we're a group of passionate people but we definitely have a bounce back. I think that's why people keep watching the show and it's like, 'How does this happen?'"
"If everybody were this big of a hot mess, they would be handing camera crews out to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the street," she adds. "From a personal, real-life person, obviously I was disappointed [in castmates] in many ways. But as someone as a viewer, it was like, 'Bravo! This is gold.' I'm turned on by all of it."
Lala says the cast is well aware that they're making a show meant to be entertaining, and they'll deliver that entertainment no matter what.
"I think it went amazing," she says of filming. "I was very unsure about what it would look like and I just feel like we're back to our roots. These are friendships that we've had for, with myself, I've been friends with these people for seven years and they've been friends beyond. I just felt like it was very real and organic, and that's what we pride ourselves on with this show, is showing our real lives and issues that we have with each other. It was really a great time."
Lala hints that she bonded the most with Scheana Shay while shooting season 9. Both women became first-time moms just before production began, with Lala welcoming her daughter, Ocean, in March and Scheana giving birth to her baby girl, Summer Moon, in April.
"I don't know how I would have done if I didn't have Scheana, who was understanding all of those moments of like, 'We have to go film tonight, but I really just want to be with my kid. I haven't seen her all day,'" Lala notes. "So she understood that and it was nice to have that person to bond with over being a mom, and a new mom at that."
"When Scheana and I don't connect, it feels very unnatural," she adds. "And I don't want to spoil anything for viewers -- again, we're a resilient group -- but it makes me happy to see Summer Moon and Ocean together."
Lala says Ocean and Summer Moon have become "the cutest little friends" over the course of the past few months, even if their on-camera time was limited.
"[Ocean's] timing is impeccable, I will say," Lala shares. "When we film Vanderpump, they're only allowed to film for 20 minutes just because of their age, and she could be a terror. The second she knows she's on camera, she calms herself down and then when she's wrapped, she's back to screaming her head off. She's a professional."
Now that Ocean is nearly 5 months old, Lala says she's developing a personality and becoming a "little human."
"I can't believe I created a brain, that's so weird," Lala cracks. "She's getting the cute little personality where she's giggling and she's recognizing faces. It's amazing."
As Ocean gets older, baby fever is already creeping in -- but not necessarily on Lala's part. She says her fiancé, movie producer Randall Emmett, is the one pushing for a second.
"He did this interview and he was like, 'I tell Lala to slow down.' I'm like, 'What planet do you live on? You're the one, Ocean, a month in saying you're ready for another and I'm telling you to slow down,'" she recalls "This is like, 'Do not project onto me.' But I am. I'm looking at pictures of her back when she was first born and she's a baby now, and I got to get another one. I have to."
Lala and Randall postponed their nuptials due to the ever-changing guidelines surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The wedding is now on hold indefinitely.
"I'm not planning my life around this wedding anymore," Lala says. "When we get married, we get married. We're in no rush. I don't want to plan around COVID, and it seems to be coming back, this new variant. I just want my guests to feel safe, so that's on the back burner. When Ocean turns one, I would like to start trying [for a baby] again."
In the meantime, the couple is focused on their creative partnership. Lala frequently acts in the projects Randall produces. Their latest effort is Out of Death, available now on digital platforms.
"It's an incredible watch," Lala promises. "If you just want to sit down and have something easy, it's with Bruce Willis, it's with yours truly. It's just a fun watch. I definitely recommend, and let's remember that on iTunes, I think we're No. 6, which means it's pretty, pretty effing good."
Vanderpump Rules returns to Bravo later this year.