LOS ANGELES — Monday night, the eminences of Bravo gathered at Sur, the eatery owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump. As it happens, Sur is also the setting of Bravo’s newest reality gem, Vanderpump Rules, which premieres on Jan. 7. The show recasts Vanderpump as the mentor/den mother to the group of supernaturally good-looking and volatile young Hollywood climbers who wait tables and tend bar at her restaurant — not to mention the standard reality-show trifecta of fighting, hooking up, and talking behind one another’s backs.
Presiding over the evening’s festivities was perhaps Bravo’s greatest star, Vanderpump’s prized Pomeranian Giggy, who was seen constantly at Lisa’s side throughout RHOBH and who now moves on to helming his second series.
We kept close on Giggy’s tail throughout the evening, anxious to learn how a dog adjusts to the heady thrill of being the front man of not one, but two major television programs. Had fame changed Giggy?
The Sur bar was packed with Bravoistas as hors d’oeuvres circulated the room. Standing toward the back in a purple-tinted lounge room, we found Giggy discreetly off to one side, quietly greeting well-wishers. The star was accompanied by his bodyguard and special companion, Ken Todd (shown above), also known as the husband/consort of Ms. Vanderpump and designer of Giggy’s wardrobe.
Todd made it clear that divas — at least of the Bravo variety — are born, not made. “Giggy was always a star,” he said, pointing to Giggy’s outfit, one of 50 in his bespoke wardrobe. “Ever since he was born he’s been a star.”
For this event, Giggy wore a stylish set of black pajamas, trimmed with silver buttons and gold lacing — but he had a change of clothes ready in the car, should Giggy feel in need of a fresh look. Asked who had more outfits, Lisa or Giggy, Todd admitted that Lisa was still the lead clotheshorse in the house but that Giggy was “catching up.”
Inevitably the conversation turned, as it always must in these circles, to Giggy’s relations with his hard-feuding colleagues on RHOBH. Todd sighed, admitting Giggy gets along with some of them better than others. Brandi Glanville, a fellow dog owner, he said, was the favorite, though since her rehab stint, Kim Richards has “been quite nice.” However, he said, Giggy remains at paw’s length with “Jackpot’s mother,” aka Adrienne Maloof, with whom Vanderpump has fought on the show.
Vanderpump Rules stars/Sur staff Stassi Shroeder and Scheana Marie.
I spoke with some of the Sur staff, who are featured on the show and stayed busy at the party in their day jobs, serving drinks and passing the canapes around the room. As they themselves could be on the cusp of stardom, I wondered how observing Giggy around the restaurant had prepared them for the ride ahead. All said they had long been impressed by how well Giggy had kept his paws on the ground through it all.
Waitperson Scheana Marie, however, made a crucial point little known about the great star — and perhaps largely covered up with television effects work. Although he is, in fact, a dog, she revealed, Giggy speaks in a dialect more common to mallards and ringed teals. That is to say: “He quacks.” Noticing my incredulous expression, Marie repeated the assertion: “He doesn’t bark. He quacks.”
Eventually Lisa took to the microphone to address the crowd and show a preview of the show. Some troubles with the sound, however, forced Giggy to step in and see what the hell was going on in the Sur AV department. Lisa joked they should “show some porn” while they waited. Soon, however, under Giggy’s glare, the problem was resolved.
Her speech done, Lisa came to check in. She made clear that despite the galaxy of stars-to-be in the room, Giggy outshined them all. “He’s Andy Cohen’s favorite Bravo star,” she said. “Andy got him 12 outfits and dressed as Giggy for Halloween.”
Star or not, however, Giggy is not free of the humiliations set upon canines who seek work in a human dominated field. “At CAA,” Vanderpump recalled of a visit to the prestigious talent agency, “they said ‘no dogs allowed!’ But I said, ‘Excuse me, that’s not just a dog. That’s a client!’”
After a night of receiving people, Giggy made a beeline for the bar, where at last he was able to quietly throw back a drink before being besieged by the next fan.
“It’s very hard,” Lisa said of all the demands on him. “He’s got one paw here. One paw there. Somedays everyone wants a piece of him. He’s done five talk shows this week.”