In Deep: An introspective reality star dives back into TV

Despite leaving Vanderpump Rules after Season 3, Stassi Schroeder returned to the show for Season 5. Bravo TV's hit reality series about the beautiful staff at multimillionaire Lisa Vanderpump's West Hollywood restaurant SUR (Sexy Unique Restaurant) is a spin-off of the network's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Schroeder, who has dated fellow Vanderpump cast members including Jax Taylor and Peter Madrigal, recently rekindled with former beau, radio host Patrick Meagher, as evidenced by a photo of the two posted to Schroeder's Instagram on May 22 with the caption "Back again" followed by three blue hearts. It's almost like reality, only more fun to watch   PACIFIC: How did you get involved with Vanderpump Rules? [Bravo] came to us, and we were all told to have a meeting at SUR, and I thought that it was like a restaurant meeting. Turns out they said, "We want to do a show on you guys, so we're gonna interview all of you." It kind of then just went from there.   Describe what you do for a living. I expose my personality, and what happens to me on a regular basis, for the sake of other people being able to relate. So, even if it's not on Vanderpump Rules, but I talk about it on my podcast ("Straight Up With Stassi"), it's all for the sake of making people feel less alone. I watch reality TV and I listen to other people's podcasts, so I know what I want to hear and I know what I want to see. I want to see real shit that I can relate to. If something embarrassing happens to me, like I get wasted and fight with somebody on TV and I'm mortified by it, at least people can relate to that and be like, 'God, I feel so much better about the time that I did that.' Or a dating story that I tell on my podcast that happened to me - at least I'm making somebody else feel less alone.   What's the coolest thing that's happened to you because you've been on the show? One is my podcast; I don't think I would have ever had the opportunity to do it. I don't think anyone would give me that chance if I wasn't already on a show. I feel really thankful for that. Also, being able to go to Fashion Week. Every time that I'm in New York and I'm at a fashion show and I'm sitting there, my whole body tingles, and I can't believe I'm here. I know that's because I was on a television show.   How did you get started doing podcasts? I was with my ex-boyfriend Patrick* at the time, and he's a Sirius XM radio host. I became best friends with one of his best girlfriends, Taylor Strecker, who's a Sirius XM radio host. So, when I lived in New York, I was always at Sirius XM; I was always around radio people. I've listened to talk radio for a while, so I've appreciated it, but I always thought, "There is no way in hell I could ever do what they do." I would watch them and I'm like, "Oh, my God, your brain has to be going the whole time." You have to listen and think and speak at the same time. (Ultimately), CBS Radio's network came to me and they said, we want to give you a podcast, an opportunity. We'll give you six months to see if you can make something of it and, if not, we can fire you. I was like, "No, no, I can't do that." Patrick, at the time, was really adamant about me doing it, because he's like, 'You really don't have anything to lose. I can teach you everything." I've been doing (the show) for two and a half years and I've never missed a week.   *[Editor's note: This interview was conducted May 16. On May 22, Schroeder announced on Instagram that she and Meagher had gotten back together.]   What's the podcast about? I want people to feel like they're getting drunk with their friends, talking to their friends about things that they normally don't say in public. I want people to listen and be like, "I think the same thing. Thank God somebody is finally saying it!" I want it to be real, I don't want to edit it.   Anything strange happen to you since you've been on the show? One time, somebody tweeted me and said, "I just sat on the same toilet that Stassi did." That really made me feel weird.   What's it like to be stopped on the street by fans? I'm so thankful for it. Unless, I'm maybe on the toilet, then not so much. Then I'm like, "Just hold off one minute."   What have you learned about yourself since being on the show? I feel like I've been forced to recognize a lot of my faults. Like, seeing Season 1 - now I watch that and I'm like, "Who is that? Who was I?" I thought I knew everything. I really thought I had my whole life figured out. And the older I get, the more I realize I know less and I know nothing. So, it's kind of like you're forced to really see, like, wow, you're a selfish person. How do you get better at that?   What's dating like when you're on a reality show? That is the hardest part about being on a reality show, because I'm not attracted to men who want to be on a reality show. And my job requires for whoever I'm dating to be on it. Say I meet somebody, and they're super eager to be on it, I'm like, "Do you like me, or was this you just trying to get on something?" But then, if I like somebody and they don't want to be on it, then I get in trouble, and that hurts my job. Being on a reality show, you're just exposed.   What was it like leaving the show during Season 3, and then returning later? I always say that I needed to leave. What's great about our show, and, I think, what makes it so popular and special, is that we were a real group of friends who were dating each other -- best friends -- and we did everything together and worked together before we ever had a show. They didn't have to cast us and tell us to be best friends and hang out. Because of that, while it makes our show really good and entertaining and real, it also makes it that much more painful. When you're fighting, when things happen and go down, those are actually the people that you would call after a day of work. I'm actually fighting with my real friends or my boyfriends. That's very real. And Season 3, I just felt...
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