Countess Lu Ann De Lesseps, known as The Countess on The Real Housewives of New York. Now, is now teaching manners in her new book Class with the Countess. Her advice: Money can’t buy you class! “I would define class as someone who is well mannered,” Lesseps told Uinterview in an exclusive interview. “Someone who treats people with kindness and again respect.”

The Countess was also formerly a fashion model for the Wilhelmina modeling agency. Her courtesy title comes from her previous marriage with Alexandre Lesseps, the son of the architect behind the Suez Canal in Egypt. They divorced in 2009 and have two children together. Prior to her role in Bravo’s television reality series, Lesseps was a licensed nurse in Connecticut.

So who does The Countess think is classy today? “Obama. Because the way he speaks to you is engaging,” she told Uinterview. “He is not putting on airs.”


A week of entertainment news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

Leave a comment

Read more about:

Q: How would you define class? What sort of qualities or behaviors can you spot in a person who you would consider as having class? - Uinterview

I would define class as somebody who is well-mannered, respectful of themselves as well as other people. Someone who treats people with kindness and again respect.

Q: Now, in your own life, have you ever not lived up to how you wanted to behave being a Countess? - Natasha

There’s always things you look back on. Just because I’m a Countess doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. Sometimes I would forget to be more complimentary and courteous toward people.

Q: There have been some TV shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Would you ever consider doing an etiquette advice show? - Joe Galbo

I would love to. I would love to help women on dating and pulling themselves together. Definitely helping women strategizing on how to get the right man for her. I’ve actually been approached to do a show like The Bachelor. There’s interest in it because it’s not just about dating, it’s about saying the right thing, being dressed appropriately, did he hold the door, so I think it would make for a more interesting dating show.

Q: What Housewife do you think could benefit most from your book? - Joe Galbo

Oh, many times I’ve had to bite my tongue. Many times. I think you see it because I’ll roll my eyes, I’ll look a certain way, it’s the suggestion. Oh, when Ramona tells me that my husband’s is old [laughs] in front of my children. And it took a lot on my part to not get angry. To come out with that in front of my daughter, I just thought that was terrible and I think everybody else did, too. Well, I’d hate to single any of them out, but I think I just did!

Q: Are there any sort of modern rituals that you think are particularly objectionable? - Uinterview

The obnoxious chewing of gum. [laughs] That you see over and over again, even on the red carpet.

Q: What do you think about text messaging and calling at the table? - Uinterview

Well, you know, it’s part of our world and I saw the whole section on text etiquette, but there’s a place and a time for everything, including the cell phones. [laughs] I miss phone booths, don’t you? Where you had to go and close yourself in and have a conversation that not everybody else has to overhear.

Q: What would the Countess’s rules be for text messages? - Uinterview

Don’t drop your phone onto the table as soon as you walk in for lunch. You shouldn’t be having a conversation in the elevator. Treating your bus or your train like your office and basically not being respectful of other people’s space. So those are my text pet-peeves.

Q: When is it appropriate to send an email instead of a thank you letter? If you go to a dinner, would it be inappropriate to send an email, do you have to send a thank you letter? - Uinterview

No, I think today it would be acceptable to send an email. It’s better than nothing. If you’re not going to send a note, then at least you can send an email. Actually, a phone call isn’t bad either. So it doesn’t always have to be a thank you note. I think so because the world we live in a lot of invitations are done by email. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying thank you by email, but again it’s nicer to do it in person or by a note.

Q: What public figures do you think exemplify class? - Uinterview

Obama. Because the way he speaks to you is engaging. He is not putting on airs. The way he carries himself. And, you know, he’s an upstanding man and citizen. He is engaging when he speaks to you, humble, sympathetic, and all of these things I think are based on civility.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake that women make in dating? - Uinterview

I think by not letting the gentlemen pick them up, meeting them places. Well, I think that a gentleman should know that a lady doesn’t show up alone to a restaurant or a bar and if he wants to take her to lunch, go and get her. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get. With most women, you don’t expect that or know enough to ask a gentleman. I say to my own daughter, yeah, you can’t go and meet your friends. They come and get you. In the city, a young girl walking around at that age. And I think it’s appropriate for her to show up with an escort because it makes a huge difference.

Q: Some people think that reality TV shows are not classy, so how do you address that criticism? - Joe Galbo

Who says reality can’t be classy? Just because there are some bad reality shows out there, basically the drama is hit the girl in the face for ratings. I believe that people do want to see good behavior as well as bad behavior, and I think there’s room to set an example for that.

Q: Any other advice for the other Housewives? - Uinterview

Money can’t buy you class, which coincidentally is the title of my new dance single due out in March.