'Vanderpump Rules' Cast Sounds Off on Season 8: How They Really Feel About the Newbies (Exclusive)
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Vanderpump Rules has some fresh faces, and the familiar ones have some thoughts about them.
The long-running Bravo hit introduces five new cast members for season eight, including three new SUR-vers: Charli Burnett, an aspiring model and actress; Brett Caprioni, best known as the ex-boyfriend of YouTube star Carli Bybel; and aspiring stand-up comedian Dayna Kathan. They’re joined by two members of Lisa Vanderpump’s managerial staff at her eateries: Danica Dow, SUR's youngest assistant manager ever, and Max Boyens, the general manager of TomTom.
"Well, it's also, you know, the people who are actually working there," Lisa tells ET of adding to the fold, noting that the majority of the cast that started on the show no longer works at her restaurants. "So, you know, it's just who's kinda up and ready to be on a reality show, and who pops and who's legitimately there. You know, you're not 'casting people,' so to speak."
ET spoke with the veteran cast -- which includes Katie Maloney-Schwartz and her husband, Tom Schwartz, Kristen Doute, Lala Kent, Scheana Shay, Stassi Schroeder, Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix, newlyweds Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright, and Lisa herself -- at BravoCon, Bravo’s first-ever fan convention held in New York City, to get their take on their new co-stars.
"I only like two of them," Jax quickly quips. "They're young -- they're fun -- they're young, though. It’s hard to come into a group that’s been together for so long. I mean, as you've seen over the last few seasons, new people don't stick around that long. So, we'll see what happens!"
"I've made an effort with them all," Katie offers. "Some of them are just too young."
"There’s a lot of, like, taking selfies in bikinis, and belfies and, like, they're like [mimics doing selfies] all day long," Stassi laments. "I'm like, can we have a conversation for one second? There’s a lot of that. It’s really hard for me to relate to 20-year-olds."
Brittany is quick to clarify that she and Jax actually like three of the five newbies, name-checking Max, Dayna and Brett.
"I don’t really want them around," Jax adds, though. "So, they can go."
"I mean, some fit in, some don't," Scheana offers. "You'll see that from the first episode."
"I think they’re all really hot, so they fit in that way," Kristen says, to which Lala comments back with, "I don't think they’re all that hot. Some haven’t discovered Botox yet!"
"It’s a lot, it’s a lot, it’s a lot," James adds. "It’s exciting, you know, I think that they bring some good drama and they got their own little stories happening, so it’s gonna be interesting to watch, yeah."
James clarifies that nothing can compare to the drama he and the main crew brings. The general consensus with the OGs seems to be, those who still have a foot in the door at the restaurants -- whether they be waitressing like Scheana, DJing like James or helping to run TomTom, like the Toms -- are giving them the benefit of the doubt, while those who no longer work at the restaurants don’t care for them.
"All of our new cast members are all really great," Tom Sandoval proclaims. "What's really a stickler for me is, when somebody comes on our show, because we're so open and honest and connected, that they be the same way. They be revealing, they open up, they connect and be honest. And I think that, you know, these new people really do that, they really open themselves up and I mean, honestly, I feel like this is probably gonna be one of our best seasons yet, seriously."
"You know what? I'll be honest, it looks like they watched seasons one through seven of Vanderpump Rules and just, like, reenacted everything that we've already done," Stassi blurts out.
"I disagree," Lisa fires back. "I don't think she can say that, because she wasn't around the new cast much. So, most of everything that they filmed was at SUR, pretty much. That's pretty much where it was based. I don't know. I don't think that's really true. Also, the new cast has a dynamic between themselves, as well, not necessarily just with the old cast. They have a dynamic that exists already. There's always a lot going on."
"I mean, they are people that met at the restaurant," Stassi points out. "They're not people, like, they didn't have the kind of friendships and relationships that we had going into the show."
Some fans have speculated that the introduction of so many new cast members might mean Bravo will split Vanderpump Rules into two shows at the end of season eight, one focused on the comings and goings of Lisa’s restaurant, and those who work there (like the early seasons), and another following the lives of the original cast, who have largely moved on and now own multimillion-dollar homes, a far cry from their West Hollywood rentals that served as the backdrop for the series' first seven seasons.
"I mean, it’s gonna be a lot [about] viewer response, I think, and how they take to [the new cast]," Stassi says of the possibility.
"Oh gosh, I don't know," Lisa, who is an executive producer on the show, offers, playing coy. "I think we just go one season at a time and see where that lands us. I mean, it's been incredible, the support and how kind of loyal people are to this show, and how exciting it is, I think, to see them take on new challenges and these people to grow up. But no, I don't know. I have no idea. Who knew it would be on for eight years?"
Tom Sandoval admits he has mixed feelings about the idea, but the majority of his co-stars seem to think it would be genius to split the series in two.
"The new cast is great, without a doubt, and they added so much to the season, but, you know, we're the OGs," Tom Schwartz says. "We kinda have the-- even before the show, we had lightning in the bottle, like, our little group of friends."
"I'm not mad at anything, as long as I'm still on it," Ariana jokes.
Viewers will just have to stay tuned for season eight, which will still largely focus on the OGs and their drama. Ariana sums up the season as "dark," as it includes Jax’s falling out with her boyfriend, Tom Sandoval, and the dissolution of the Witches of WeHo, aka Stassi, Katie and Kristen.
"Yeah, actually, that's a recurring theme this season," Tom Schwartz teases. "Deep, deep-rooted friendships are tested."
"It's like family," Jax says, referencing his issues with Tom Sandoval. "So, when we fight, it's like, brother and sister. You're with these people all the time, and sometimes you just need a break, and I think we were both just kinda getting on each other’s nerves after a while, which happens in friendships, and we just both needed a break. I was getting tired of him, and he was getting tired of me and it just -- the pot just kind of blew up! And that’s kind of where we stand right now."
Jax and Tom’s issues seem to be more easily solved than the ones impacting Stassi, Katie and Kristen, the details of which are still largely unknown.
"I just have my POV, which is probably different than Katie's and Stassi's, or both of theirs together," Kristen shares. "I just think we're changing, we're growing in different directions [and] at certain points. I don’t think we'll ever, like, have any sort of relationship again, personally. I just think it's gonna be a lot different if we do, and that would be a very positive thing."
Lisa admits the "intensity of their feelings" -- across the board -- surprised her while shooting the season.
"I think things got heated, I think things probably went too far," she notes. "But things escalate with them. I think, you know, hopefully, it can be repaired. But in some cases, maybe it is best to walk in the other direction. But I don't know, there's so much cohesion in this group. If it's not them that's glued together, it's their respective others."
"Look at them, the way they've all moved next door to each other," she continues, referencing how Jax and Brittany, Tom and Ariana, and Tom and Katie, have all moved into new houses very close to one another. "Who does that, right? It's just, like, one moves there. Why do they all have to live on the same street? That's just who they are. Even when we're not filming, you know they're all on vacation together."
There will be more big life moments for the cast this year, as fans will see Katie and Tom Schwartz learn they never got legally married, Jax and Brittany tie the knot and Stassi’s boyfriend, Beau Clark, pops the question. The pair is currently in the throes of wedding planning.
"It's a b***h," she admits. "No one tells you how hard it is to plan a wedding, much less a wedding that’s gonna be on television. So, that’s just another layer of added stress."
"[But] listen, I grew up on this show," she adds. "This show is my s**t! Of course, my wedding is gonna be on Vanderpump Rules!"
Viewers, on the other hand, won’t see Lala's wedding to her fiance, Randall Emmett, play out on TV. While Randall will make his first Pump Rules appearances on season eight, Lala plans to keep their big day camera-free.
"I like those parts to be just for me," she says. "I know that I’m not supposed to say that, ‘cause I signed up for this, but, you know, in real life, I wouldn't invite people to watch my wedding. Like, just like in real life, I wouldn't invite you to my therapy sessions."
After Stassi and Lala, Scheana could be the next Vanderpump kid to walk down the aisle (it would be her second time). She brought her new man, Brock Davies, to BravoCon. While he won't appear on season eight of the series, Scheana promises "he’s not going anywhere."
"I mean, [we're] hopefully headed in the right direction," she admits, blushing. "You guys will get to know him. He's the first guy I've ever dated who I don't need to brag about and shove down your throats."
Vanderpump Rules returns with new episodes on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
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