The real life of Real Housewives of Miami's Lisa Hochstein
Few things are more addictive than Bravo TV’s Real Housewives franchise. One of the newest cities to join the fun is The Real Housewives of Miami. We had a recent opportunity to visit with RHOM’s Lisa Hochstein. Here, she tells us the truth about her plastic surgery, why she’s not a princess, and what she did to torture her little brother when they were growing up...
Kat: Were you a fan of the Real Housewives’ franchise before you signed on with the Real Housewives of Miami?
Lisa: I was. I did love the franchise, there were a couple in particular that I watched — Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Real Housewives of Atlanta. I felt Atlanta was crazy and over the top, and Beverly Hills was very chic.
Kat: Who was your favorite housewife?
Lisa: I don’t know if I should say if I have a favorite. Nene (from RHOA) is really fun to watch. I won’t say I have any favorites, but she’s very entertaining.
Kat: You’ve been pretty open about your infertility issues. Is adoption ever on the table for you and your husband?
Lisa: People have asked us about adoption. I believe in adoption, but I feel like my husband and I should be able to have our own biological child. We’re still doing everything we can, so I’m going to keep trying that route. But yeah, if we tried absolutely everything we could, I would definitely consider adoption. I’m healthy, my husband’s healthy, so there shouldn’t be any reason that we shouldn’t be able to have our own biological child.
Kat: Family seems to be a big thing for you. Tell us a little bit about your childhood and any siblings that you have.
Lisa: I have a younger brother, Phillip. I’m very close with him, but we didn’t get along growing up. He reminds me of little things I used to do when we were younger…
Kat: Such as?
Lisa: Teasing him. I used to scare him in his room in the middle of the night. But at the end of the day, I was like a second mom to him. I always took care of him, I was old enough to babysit him, I made him snacks and dinner. He was like my son almost! He visits me and we speak all the time. We’re very different, though.
Kat: How so?
Lisa: He’s the quiet one. He’s in school. He stayed at the university, which I didn’t do. He wants to be a doctor. We’re both very smart — he just decided to go a different route. But he’s wonderful. He lives in Canada, so we don’t get to see each other very often.
Kat: Sheesh! That is a ways away.
Lisa: Yeah, I grew up in Toronto. I absolutely love Canadians and Canada, but I knew at a very young age I wanted to go to the States — somewhere warm. It’s so cold in Canada! I realized with my acting and modeling that L.A. would have a lot more opportunities for me. I felt like I could only go so far with my career in Canada.
Kat: Not a lot of bikini shoots in Canada, right?
Lisa: That, too. If you’re going to do acting and modeling, Hollywood is the place to go.
Kat: So you got to Miami, via L.A.
Lisa: I actually met my husband when I was on vacation in Las Vegas. We decided to take a chance on love. So I decided to move to Miami. It was never on my radar to move here.
Kat: How long have you guys been married?
Lisa: Three years.
Kat: That’s cool! Congratulations.
Lisa: Thank you. October 24th we’ve been married three years.
Kat: Are you doing anything fun for your anniversary?
Lisa: We generally have our Halloween party every year. We raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Humane Society, and recently we’ve been working with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We like to alternate different charities. We’ve raised over $250,000 so far.
Kat: That’s impressive! I’m curious — does it ever get exhausting keeping up with the beautiful people of Miami? Do you ever wish you could just go without hair and makeup and lounge around in your sweats for like a week?
Lisa: You know what? I absolutely do. In Canada, I didn’t have to worry so much about having my hair and my nails and my makeup done, and then moving here, it just seems everyone is so incredibly vain. I didn’t keep myself so perfectly polished before. It’s just one of those cities — you’d look out of place if you weren’t completely put together.
Kat: If you skip all the prep work, people might be like, “Are you not feeling well?”
Lisa: Someone literally asked me if I was feeling ill. I went out with my hair up in a ponytail, no makeup, I was in my Juicy sweats and someone said, “Oh my God, are you not feeling well?” I was like, “Yeah, I feel just fine actually. I just didn’t feel like putting myself together like I was going to a photo shoot.” There’s definitely a lot of pressure to look good all the time.
Kat: Well, the good news is that someone recognized you without all your hair and makeup done. Some folks are unrecognizable when they skip all the intensive preparation. That’s a good thing.
Lisa: I think that’s a great thing. I like looking like that. My husband loves it when I’m just in my sweats with no makeup. At home I’m very casual and comfortable. But definitely in Miami, people judge you.
Kat: When you moved to Miami, did you ever have a moment of “Oh my God. What have I done?”
Lisa: Nah. I’ve always liked to play dress-up and be glamorous and all of that. But there’s a time and place, and I don’t like doing it all the time. I go out Tuesday night for dinner and I have to get all dolled up.
Kat: And you’re probably thinking, “I’m just hungry. I just want to eat.”
Lisa: Yeah! I just want to eat! I end up choosing Benihana. It’s very casual. It’s one of my favorite places because I don’t have to do anything to go there.
Kat: You know the paparazzi are going to be stalking you outside Benihana now to get a picture of you without your makeup on!
Lisa: I just loving going to those kind of places because then I don’t have to do the whole getting ready thing.
Kat: You have got some serious abs! Tell us about your workout schedule.
Lisa: I’ve always been very petite and I’ve always been into ballet, and I’ve always been athletic. I’m lean naturally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to watch what I eat. Being as tiny as I am, if I put on 10 to 15 pounds, it definitely shows. I eat well all week, and I have a cheat day on Sunday. The rest of the week I eat vegetables and protein, fish, sushi, whole wheat pasta. When I go out to eat, I modify stuff. I ask that they hold the butter or cook it in water, not oil. I work out three times a week, sometimes four. I do cleanses twice a year — I think everyone needs to do them. You can buy them at the drugstore, and they can really jump-start a diet.
Kat: What’s your go-to place for your Sunday cheat food?
Lisa: Oh, my gosh. Well, me and my husband, right now during football season, we’ll order pizza and Mexican take-out. We order beef tacos, nachos with cheese, pretty much anything we want. It’s great because you have something to look forward to, which I think is so important. And it motivates you all week.
Kat: Speaking of your husband, Lenny, he’s a plastic surgeon and has the nickname “Boob God.” In the intro to the show you say you are his greatest creation. Is there anything you regret having done, or is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to?
Lisa: I’m very open about what I have and have not had done. I’ve had breast augmentation. I had a boob job when I was 19. And it wasn’t the best job. When I met my husband, I always wanted to fix it. And since he’s known as "The Boob God," I thought if I’m walking around with him, my breasts should really look great. Otherwise people would think he did this not-so-great job. I finally convinced him to re-do my breasts. It was against his wishes, because he doesn’t like to do unnecessary surgery. He’s very conservative about that. I had to really convince him. I’m not his creation, like he created me from head to toe. I think people misunderstand that. I’m glad you asked me that, because I want to make it clear that my breasts are all he’s ever done on me. I have had rhinoplasty, because I had just a little tiny hump on my nose.
Kat: I never would have guessed you had rhinoplasty.
Lisa: It was just a tiny little thing, and then my breasts. But sometimes I think after making that comment, “Oh s***.” I’m kind of kicking myself. People think I’ve had more done than I have.
Kat: So no tummy-tuck on those abs at all?
Lisa: Oh, my God, no. I’m 30 years old. I haven’t had any children. People don’t generally do tummy tucks unless they’ve had a couple of kids or they really need it.
Kat: Or they’re married to a plastic surgeon.
Lisa: Or they’re married to a plastic surgeon. But I can assure you I haven’t had that done. Genetically, I have a lean figure, and I work out and I take care of myself. Those three things combined really help.
Kat: Damn! I was kind of hoping you would say that you’d had one.
Lisa: No, when I was younger I was made fun of because I had a very boyish figure. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to get my breasts done. I was so skinny, and I had no hips and no butt and no breasts.
Kat: So now after three pictorials in Playboy, you get to thumb your nose and say neener, neener to all those people who said you had a boyish figure growing up.
Lisa: Right! I have been called a fem-bot, and the only thing that’s really different about me since I was younger is my breasts! My nose was so minor it wasn’t that much of a change.
Kat: I feel like you’ve had a gut-full of people thinking that because you’re married to a plastic surgeon that you’re plastic from head to toe.
Lisa: Thank you for saying I look plastic — I actually take that as a compliment, because if people think I’ve had all this work done, and I haven’t, it must mean I look really great!
Kat: Are you kidding me? You look freaking amazing! Let’s talk for a minute about your unorthodox relationship with your maid, Daysy. How long has she worked for you?
Lisa: I think she’s been with us for just over two years.
Kat: How did the friendship develop? Just you guys being in the same place at the same time always?
Lisa: No, because I’ve had housekeepers before who didn’t work out, like they wouldn’t show up to work, and I had someone who stole from me before…
Kat: Oh, no!
Lisa: Yeah, but Daysy, she’s just amazing and honest, and we just clicked. With her and me, we just developed a friendship.
Kat: She’s a real kick in the pants, isn’t she?
Lisa: She’s great. A real character. She’s a big, big personality and she’s a go-getter.
Kat: She wants a bunch of plastic surgery, but she’s also studying to be a pastor. There’s something about that that is kind of hilarious. It somehow seems like such a contradiction.
Lisa: That’s Miami for ya! (laughs) It seems like people from Latin America are more into plastic surgery and are accepting of it. Their culture seems more accepting. I don’t know if that’s factual, it’s just what I’ve been told.
Kat: There’s a lot of reference on the show to “new Miami” versus “old Miami.” Can you give us some specific examples of that?
Lisa: I think what that means is there is the new generation that is moving or marrying into Miami, like myself, and it’s changed it a lot. Miami was just a different scene. The club scenes have changed, the restaurants have changed, the people have definitely changed. There’s a strong Latin influence. I think this was more of a Joanna comment.
Kat: Do you feel snubbed at all, or like you have to prove yourself or anything like that?
Lisa: Not really, because when I go out I treat everyone the same. I don’t care what you have or where you came from — I have friends in all different walks of life. I think certain social circles are kind of pretentious or snobby or look down on others, but I’m not like that.
Kat: I think your maid also being your friend speaks to who you are at your core.
Lisa: I don’t feel the need to be a part of these social circles just because of status. If someone’s not going to accept me, I’m not going to try to win them over. I’m a little bit crazy, I’m a little bit quirky, I’m a little bit silly. If they look down upon that, there’s nothing I can do.
Kat: Sounds like a great attitude. “Take it or leave it.”
Lisa: Take it or leave it. That’s exactly the way it is. The more people see my character they’re like, “Wow. I had no idea,” and I’m like, “Well, yeah. That’s because you never gave me a chance.”
Kat: Do you think it’s difficult to have real friendships in such a competitive society?
Lisa: I think it definitely is. It’s really difficult for me to find real friendships in Miami. I have found a couple and these two people have been amazing. My one girlfriend grew up in Ohio. Her name is Carrie, she’s my best friend — she has three girls. You’ll see her on the show later. She doesn’t get mixed up in all the South Beach craziness and so we ground each other. We have a lot of the same values. We always discuss the things you and I are discussing about Miami society and the pressures to look a certain way. I’m very lucky to have found her.
Kat: How cool to find someone that you can sit down with and be like, “Are you serious? Are these people for real?”
Kat: People assume you don’t work, but you say you’re a professional housewife. Do you want to speak to that?
Lisa: Well, on the show I say that I don’t currently have a job…
Kat: You’re between opportunities?
Lisa: I’m between opportunities! But I take care of my husband and do stuff behind the scenes. He really doesn’t have any time to do anything other than work. I’m his personal assistant, his banker, I take care of the house. I used to act and model, which I still do, just not as much. I’m not like this princess.
Kat: Bravo TV has really taken some liberties with the definition of housewife, but you actually are a housewife.
Lisa: Yeah, Daysy is only here twice a week, so I’m doing laundry and cooking on the days she’s not here. I don’t just sit on my ass drinking vodkas and Red Bull. I’m really hands-on.
Kat: So what’s in your future?
Lisa: Well, I really wanted to use Real Housewives of Miami as a platform to do my own fitness products, skin and hair care products. I feel like this will help me launch all of this. I definitely want to make this experience lucrative — I’m happy making my own money. It’s in my nature to do stuff myself.