Seven years to the date of its series premiere, Vanderpump Rules returns to Bravo for its eighth season on Tuesday night. The entire original cast is still intact -- a wild feat for any reality show -- but there's also a heavy injection of new blood for the new batch of episodes. The core group of OG stars is joined by seven official new cast members, including familiar faces like Stassi Schroeder's fiance, Beau Clark, and James Kennedy's girlfriend, Raquel Leviss, as well as five Vanderpump eatery employees.
ET met up with the three newbies lucky enough to "raise their glasses high" in the new opening sequence -- TomTom hostess-turned-SUR waitress Dayna Kathan, SUR sever Brett Caprioni and TomTom's general manager, Max Boyens -- at the show’s home base, Lisa Vanderpump's Sexy Unique Restaurant, for their first official interview about joining the Witches of WeHo's orbit as they step into the world of Bravolebrity.
"[We're] definitely anxious," Max admits about the season finally airing. "Excited, but… I don’t know? I don’t think we all know what’s gonna happen."
When the season trailer dropped, Dayna admits her first reaction was "f**k," as the reality of her surreal new normal started to settle in; the trailer came along with an updated main title sequence, the sight of which elicited another expletive from the newly minted reality star: "Holy s**t."
"It's an established show, it's been on for years and I’m just curious to see what everyone’s reaction is gonna be to us," she adds. "I feel like we all went through some s**t this summer and so, like, that in it of itself -- this is not the hard part. Like, watching it come out and seeing all this … The hard part was just living our lives and having everything so captured."
The newcomers are pretty seamlessly introduced in the first few minutes of the season premiere, and they all cough up to seeing the show before. Dayna was the most invested in it beforehand, having watched the first few seasons. Max claims to have only seen one episode before, the one where Jax Taylor broke up with his then-girlfriend Carmen over pizza, while Brett recalls watching Scheana Shay's wedding and a later episode where he realized the marriage didn’t work out.
Even so, they all went in with, they say, fresh eyes and promise that everything viewers will see is organic, not calculated.
"I'm hoping the audience perceives us as who we really are and not what, you know, is said online, or what people fabricate, you know, behind keyboards," Brett shares.
Dayna, a more-than aspiring comedian who regularly plays comedy clubs in Los Angeles, hopes the audience finds her "hilarious and down to earth," while Max -- who has a bit of a playboy reputation -- bluntly admits he just wants to be accepted.
"I just want to be liked," he confesses. "I'm already well aware of what’s really gonna happen, you know? Everyone has the people that don't like them, who do really like them, and I think we just gotta really just embrace who we really are on this show and who we are in life, because that’s what they're filming."
"I just want them to be excited for new faces," Brett says. "New people, new energy, stuff like that. I’m looking forward to the reaction to that."
Brett, a New Jersey transplant, comes to VPR hot off a breakup from YouTuber Carli Bybel (a relationship he credits with helping him grow and get comfortable in front of the camera). He was also Lisa's personal trainer before picking up shifts at SUR, though he admits you can't really train the former Real Housewives star, seeing as "she calls the shots." In fact, he jokingly compares her boss-lady attitude to that of notorious Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco, who was known as the "Cocaine Godmother."
Dayna will look familiar to eagle-eyed Vanderpump fans, thanks to a brief appearance on season seven. She was one of the girls partying with the guys at a hotel in Los Angeles while the girls were on a wine country getaway. After that encounter, she landed a job hostessing at TomTom, where she reported into Max, who walks a bit of a tightrope when it comes to balancing his friendship with the Toms, Sandoval and Schwartz, with the business needs of the bar and Lisa's expectations.
Also tricky for Max is the fact that he and Dayna hooked up before the cameras started filming their lives. Their "will they or won't they?" dynamic is established quickly in the season premiere, and will be a through line for the episodes ahead. It seems safe to say, though, that the relationship fizzles. Today, the pair doesn't even seem to call each other "friend."
"She works for me at TomTom again now, so she’s just bartending," Max replies when asked to define their relationship. "We don’t grab drinks outside of work or anything."
Still, they are part of the same social circle now, which Max, Dayna and Brett all admit was both easy and challenging to navigate at first. While they say the Toms and Ariana Madix were welcoming, a few of the other SUR-vers put the newbies through their paces. Namely, Scheana. While the longtime Vanderpump star took an immediate liking to Brett (they've made out!), she found an unexpected enemy in Dayna.
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Scheana Shay Sounds Off on 'Vanderpump Rules' Newbies and Season 8 (Exclusive)
"I mean, that was definitely from her end," Dayna clarifies. "Like, she was pretty cool to me upfront -- and I can speculate as to why I think that was, she'll say something different -- but she seemed to have a problem with me pretty quick off the bat. And then, after weeks of me just taking it, I finally didn’t want to anymore and then we finally came to a head and took a turn and became better friends and, like, started over… and then some other things happened that you'll see this season and, you know…"
The trio also says they didn't interact with some of the original crew as much as fans might like -- they all seem to refer to Stassi as more of an acquaintance than a pal -- but they promise they bring just as much drama as their predecessors, something Lisa teased in the season’s trailer.
"I would say it’s, like, same-same, but different, 'cause theirs is more deep-rooted and there's this history that they have, and I think some long-term issues that people are invested in," Dayna says. "Then ours just happened organically, but is new and people haven't seen that yet. So, I think there's a lot on both sides."
The group sums up season eight as "insane," being about change and just plain exciting.
"Just get ready for some real s**t,” Brett exclaims. "Life, living in L.A., being single, getting into trouble with things and being scandalous, you know?"
Vanderpump Rules airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo. Watch the video above for more with Dayna, Brett and Max, including their reactions to some harsh (and a few nice) thoughts about them from the show’s original stars.