Inside My Mom's One-Way Feud With RHOBH's Sutton Stracke
She's from Illinois, but she has some thoughts on Southern decorum
My mom insists on liveblogging new episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills every Wednesday in a group text composed of me, my sister, my cousin, and my sister-in-law. I don’t have cable and usually can’t watch it until the next day, so I steer clear of the chat because I don’t want spoilers. Plus, my mom’s commentary on Sutton Stracke, a divorcee who comes to Beverly Hills by way of Augusta, gets quite personal — she’s always threatening to report Sutton’s behavior to Andy Cohen. Clearly, she’s working something out.
(My mom is, of course, alluding to Olivia’s famous one-sided feud with interim Jeopardy host Mayim Bialik.)
In this exclusive interview between me and my mother Suzanne, she finally speaks her truth about Sutton Stracke.
Why are you feuding with Sutton? Elaborate as much as you need.
Thank you for asking, Claire. May I call you Claire?
If Sutton were just living her best life as an L.A. transplant, that would be one thing. But she feels a need to speak endlessly about her Southern roots, her place in that society, her money, exaggerating her drawl for dramatic effect. As you may know from your magical [Ed note: debatable] childhood, my best friend Dru is a Southerner. [Ed note: I grew up in Illinois, where my mom is from, but her best friend Dru is an Arkansas transplant. She knew the Clinton brothers in high school, but that’s a different story.] I learned you never return a borrowed bowl empty, if you are experiencing multiple bad hands playing bridge, put a napkin on your head and make everyone change seats, and, most importantly, how the word "seemly" translates IRL. [Ed note: When asked for clarification on what she means by “seemly,” Suzanne sent me a picture she took on her phone of her computer screen of the Oxford dictionary definition, but she added, “Don’t tell me who you are, who you know, what you have, where you live, what you are driving, wearing, drinking. I’m sure someone is interested but not me.”]
Also [Southern manners dictate] if no one else will sit with someone, even if they appear to deserve it, consider that maybe they're just socially inept, so go sit with them, it's just one dinner and will not kill you. Never ever, ever, ever talk about money, unless you're in company you implicitly trust, or your life is threatened. Do good works, striving for anonymity, because you want to do them. Don't talk about other people's appearance — they are doing their best. It's actually the definition of, to use Sutton's air quotes, "friend."
So... to watch Sutton go through the [Southern] motions was at first annoying. Now I can't rest.
As you may know, I am a legal resident of northern Florida. [Ed note: My mom and dad retired to northern Florida, which my mom claims is like “the South” even though it’s Florida.] Which is a mixed bag. Obvi, I have a lot of issues with the Sunshine State, but St. Augustine, where I get my brows done, is the oldest city in the U.S., and Jacksonville is close behind. I am pretty sure peeps here do not consider Sutton a Southerner. Again, not impressed, but some of them can trace their questionable ancestors to 1564, and I believe Sutton can trace her own to the 13th tee at the Augusta National Golf Course. [Ed note: I asked for clarification on what this meant and her answer schooled me in the ways of satire: “The 13th hole was just a comedic device. She just makes it seem like being Southern is a given for all things proper and with lineage,” she said.] No one is winning here. Please don't send me hate mail.
I decided, for research purposes, to troll Sutton's IG. At first, it was worrisome, as it looked a lot like mine, but with better-dressed friends, better restaurant reservations, and an average of 166,000 more likes, but THEN I STRUCK GOLD. I was able to experience Sutton and her cousin, accompanying her on guitar, singing Taylor Swift's classic "Mean" to an anonymous audience at a pool. (I know it is not a pool at Augusta National bc my source has told me they have no pool.) [Ed. note: Dad?] Sutton is singing (btw, she does have a better voice than Ramona and/or the Countess) but she is gesticulating like a third-grader singing "Tomorrow" in a park-district production of Annie. As though Tay Tay had been prescient and knew that someday Sutton Stracke would encounter the same level of hatred for her own talent and newfound fame. It's a classic.
Do you think you could make Sutton cry if you met IRL?
It is not my personal goal to make anyone cry. Besides, she's always crying anyway.
I know you're particularly miffed at Sutton for telling Crystal she'd anonymously send her flowers, thus defeating the purpose of anonymous flowers. Why does this annoy you so much?
First and foremost, we do whatever we can do to let people know we appreciate what they've done for us, large or small. I personally am a fan of the personal note, even though I recently wrote ten in a row and couldn't read my own handwriting but sent them anyway. I'm praying it's the thought that counts. To tell someone you will "probably anonymously send them flowers" is just stupid. Send them or don't. Just unseemly. Also "girlfriends bring girlfriends their coats" [Ed note: She’s paraphrasing. Sutton kicked off three episodes of plot by bringing her castmate Crystal her coat into her bedroom, claiming that’s what “girlfriends do.” Crystal was, unfortunately, nude when Sutton entered her chambers.] is definitely not a thing. Also talking about her divorce — and I'm sorry she had to move out of her dream house — but referring to it as a "rich people divorce" is also gross. And screaming at Crystal about her fake leather pants? Unseemly. Look it up. No manners whatsoever.
Do you think she dresses well?
I think Sutton has some decent pieces. But she is impossibly dressed for every occasion. Every occasion. Crazy over-dressed 24/7. Sometimes, I am frightened by what she is wearing. That Picasso-esque blazer, case in point. Truth be told, not one of the Housewives franchises has a fashionista. I mean, Dorit is cute enough in head-to-toe LV but...
However, one of my particularly favorite exchanges was Lisa Rinna asking Sutton why her dress had real "jewels" but her own dress from her garage was just made of “sequins,” and Sutton replied, "We've been over this before, it's couture." Double bonus — talking about couture and the fact that we all know Rinna cannot pronounce bolognese.
I hope this was helpful. Please contact my assistant Jonathan if you need further help. [Ed note: She doesn’t have an assistant named Jonathan. This is a Carusillo family standby that I think derived from a running gag in the animated program Rugrats. Charlotte Pickles had an assistant named Jonathan].