The classy Countess Luann de Lesseps is a big fan of the old bump and grind.
“I love burlesque!” Ms. de Lesseps confessed to the Daily Transom on Wednesday night, May 27, during intermission at former Roxy and Palladium promoter Lee Chappell‘s risque weekly Foreign Affairs show in the dimly lit lounge at Vikram Chatwal‘s Night Hotel on West 45th Street.
Sporting a slinky black Michael Kors dress, the 43-year-old co-star of the popular Bravo series the Real Housewives of New York City sat legs crossed, slowly sipping a glass of red wine, while onstage the contortionist and onetime Cirque du Soleil aerialist Ekaterina Sknarina performed a steamy striptease and bawdy hostess Lady Rizo belted out an appropriately schizophrenic cover of the 2006 Gnarls Barkley song “Crazy.”
“I’ve been to the Crazy Horse in Paris,” noted Ms. de Lesseps.
Not to be confused with the Crazy Horse in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Daily Transom pointed out. (Slightly different aesthetic.)
“I haven’t been to that one,” Ms. de Lesseps said, laughing. “I’m married to a Frenchman, so …”
In fact, her marriage to the Count Alexandre de Lesseps has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, with her rep ultimately confirming rumors of a split.
She vowed to cling to her noble title, nevertheless, she told the Daily Transom. “And the jewelry!” she added, laughing.
“But I love cabaret and I love this kind of music,” Ms. de Lesseps said. “I’m a big fan of Mae West. So this takes me back. I actually just wrote a book called Class with the Countess. And I write about Mae West and I write about how I think that she was such a great woman because she knew how to be a woman. You know, how to flirt. I talk about the art of seduction in my book and I talk about Mae West and I pull out a lot of her quotes, which I love. You know, ‘It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.’ I think it’s a lost art. I really do.”
She said she was enjoying the evening’s rather suggestive show while still respecting its tastefulness.
“It’s not over the top,” she said. “I’m sure it can be,” she added, “but so far this show has been pretty low-key. Don’t you think? Compared to the Box?”
Had the classy countess been to the Box?
“I’ve been to the Box a couple of times,” she said.
Had she cozied up to Simon Hammerstein, the prurient proprietor of the ribald nightspot on Chrystie Street?
“I know Simon,” she said. “But I haven’t been there in a while.”
What’s the most over-the-top craziest routine she had ever seen at the Box?
“They do some pretty crazy stuff,” Ms. de Lesseps said, slightly giggling. “It’s hard to pick one thing.”
She added, “Actually, I haven’t been going out that much.”
She said she was busy promoting her new book, with an upcoming appearance at Bloomingdale’s on June 16, and noted that the Bravo network would soon be airing an entire episode of “lost footage” from the recently concluded reality series.
“They always drag whatever they can out of it,” she joked.
The season finale was, what, four hours long?
“We sat there for, like, seven hours, so they had to make two shows out of it,” she said.
What was it like being in that room when the claws came out?
“Well, you know what? It’s not really played up,” Ms. de Lesseps said. “It is what it is. Those are the personalities on the show! Kelly Ripa on Regis & Kelly, the other day, he asked her, ‘So, what did you do last night, Kelly?’ And she said, ‘Why do you always ask me difficult questions?’ And then she goes, ‘Okay, I remember, I was watching the Real Housewives. I’m a huge fan.’ And Regis was like, ‘Come on, that’s not real. It’s scripted!’ And Kelly went, ‘Ooooh nooo, it is real because I know some of the girls on the show and I know Kelly [Bensimon].’ And he says, ‘Don’t you feel guilty about watching bad television?’ And she said, ‘If watching the Real Housewives of New York City is wrong, then I don’t want to be right,’ which I think was really funny.”
How long can the show, which just wrapped up its second season, go on?
“That’s a good question,” she said.
Would it ever get to the point where everyone gets along?
“I don’t think so. I think there’s always friction between Jill [Zarin] and Ramona [Singer]. And Ramona and I have had our share of friction. And Kelly and Betheny [Frankel]? Oh my God! That could last forever.”
Maybe the producers could make them mud-wrestle?
“That’s a terrible idea,” she said. “I would hate to be in the audience and get dirty,” she added, laughing. “Maybe Jello’s better.”
What’s next for the countess? A younger new husband perhaps?
“I’m not a cougar!” she said. “I’m looking more to do a game show.”
“No, no, no! Like The Dating Game,” she said. “It would be fun, right? Who better than the countess to do The Dating Game?”