As the last original cast member of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kyle Richards knows a thing or two about survival. This skill set, which has helped her outlast her peers over 11 seasons of the Bravo show, is put to good use in Halloween Kills, the sequel to the cult classic 1978 horror film Halloween, where she returns as Lindsey Wallace, reprising the role she originated at the age of 8.
Although Richards began her on-screen career over four decades ago as a child actor appearing in productions like Little House on the Prairie and Fantasy Island, these days, her name has become synonymous with the top tiers of reality television, of which she could be considered a veritable pioneer. When RHOBH premiered in 2009, Richards was no stranger to the nature of filming a reality show—she had already appeared on her niece Paris Hilton’s show, The Simple Life. Becoming a housewife, however, made Richards a reality superstar in her own right.
The early years of Beverly Hills (which, though it was the sixth Housewives franchise created, quickly established itself as the crown jewel thanks to its high-octane wealth, celebrity and drama) largely centered on Richards and her sister Kim, herself a former child star. But as subsequent seasons have aired and cast members, including Kim, have left, it’s become clear that Richards, now the last OG, is the undeniable protagonist of RHOBH, leading the current cast through its most iconic and bombastic season yet: Already, Richards’ other sister, Kathy Hilton, has delighted fans in her official debut on the show, and real-life drama has ensued in the wake of an embezzlement scandal.
Make no mistake, however—Richards’ main character energy is hardly limited to Beverly Hills. In addition to the show and filming Halloween, she’ll be appearing on the Housewives spin-off, Ultimate Girls’ Trip (which fans have lovingly dubbed “Housewives All-Stars”), and starring in a Christmas movie, both releasing on Peacock.
Ahead of the release of Halloween Kills, Richards spoke to TIME about the drama this season on Beverly Hills, filming with her sisters and what she has in common with Michael Myers.
TIME: How did it feel returning to your role as Lindsey Wallace in Halloween over four decades later?
Kyle Richards: Oh, my gosh, it was just surreal. It was such an incredible experience. I felt so fortunate to be working with Jamie Lee Curtis again and to get the chance to work with David Gordon Green, who I’m a big fan of, and this reunion with some of the original cast members, as well as interesting new cast members.
What does the Halloween franchise mean to you? And how do you feel about these new films that are directly related to the original movie?
It’s such a connection to my childhood and so nostalgic for me. The fact that all these years later, the fans are still so passionate about a movie that was made in 1978 speaks volumes to John Carpenter and what he created, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Just to be able to be a part of that, I feel so incredibly fortunate. It’s funny for me, because I have the Halloween fans and I have Housewives fans, and now they’re blending because all the Housewives fans are excited to see Halloween and the Halloween fans are starting to watch Housewives.
Michael Myers famously cannot be killed, which is why there are so many Halloween films. How do you relate to this as the last OG standing of the Beverly Hills housewives?
Well, I guess I’m the Michael Myers of Housewives. I’m still here, I don’t know how, some days it feels like I can barely hang in there another day. But it’s just the tenacity, what can I say? I’m a strong person.
I mean, Beverly Hills couldn’t exist without you.
That’s very kind—thank you so much. Because I started the franchise when it was new and we didn’t know if it was going to be a hit or not, I always have love for the show and it’s important to me. I see new cast members come in and they have a very different approach to the show. And I almost wish I had that, but I care about the show too much. And it’s hard for me to turn that off because I have been doing it for so long. The crew and all these people have been in my life for so long. It’s really woven into the fabric of my life now.
What was the most difficult scene you’ve ever had to film for the show?
The stuff with my sister Kim was the most difficult. When we had fun, we would laugh as only sisters can do, but when it was difficult, my most difficult things were with my mom and my sister. Family stuff is difficult anyway and then to have cameras there and having people weighing in on your family’s issues was at times more than I could handle.
This season, your sister Kathy Hilton joined the show and has really charmed viewers and kept us all laughing. Was Kathy always this funny?
Kathy’s always been really funny. My family is funny. My mom was really funny. My mom’s brother’s really funny and so there’s definitely that gene in there. When I was telling people, ‘I really want Kathy to join the show,’ some people were like, ‘You’ve done this with a sister [before] and you had such a hard time—are you sure you want this?’ I just thought, the timing is right. I’ve been doing the show a long time and my sister and I are in a good place—why not? I’m happy people are getting to see that side of her.
Is it hard to deal with family dynamics like sibling rivalry, in addition to all the other dynamics that are swirling around while you’re filming Housewives?
Obviously, all families have issues, but with my sister Kathy, jealousy or sibling rivalry are not issues that we ever had. My relationships with Kim and Kathy are very, very different. It was fun to see Kathy sort of step out on her own [on the show]. Because she got married so young, she’s been with her husband since I was 5 years old. So she’s never done a girls trip and all of a sudden, she’s doing girls trips!
You were the only Beverly Hills housewife on The Real Housewives’ Ultimate Girls Trip. How was it? What what can we expect?
It was the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done. Honestly, I was in shock because the format is very different than how we do Beverly Hills—there was zero downtime. But it was very interesting to get to know these women in a different light because I was going in not just as a cast member, but as a fan. You know, I watch the shows, so it was interesting to me.
Did you come away with any new best friends or allies? Or was there anyone who was really stirring the pot?
Well, of course, there’s always that! But I was excited to get to know these women and not think about what I’ve seen on the shows and just see them for who they are in person. Some were just what you would expect. And some really surprised me. I think Teresa surprised me the most. There’s a bond there, even if you’re not good friends, because you’ve been going through the same thing for years, even though our franchises are very different. There’s camaraderie, for sure.
What was the surprising thing about Teresa?
She’s very, like, unaffected. Not someone who’s diva-ish, she seems very unaware of the cameras. And just very genuine.
Thinking of all stars, if you were to swap cities, what other franchise or citydo you think you would do well in and what city would you not survive in as a housewife?
Well, for existing Housewives, I would like to go to New York, because I love New York City so much. I don’t think I would survive in Orange County, even though it’s in California. No way. There were some very hardcore seasons that I’ve seen in the past.
This is the first four-part Real Housewives reunion ever. What was that like doing the reunion this year?
Extremely draining and emotionally exhausting. You know, some reunions are more challenging. I was not the one that had the most difficult reunion [this year], that was obviously Erika with everything that she’s going through. And Andy Cohen really had to go in hard with her. Because the audience is expecting that—they have questions and it’s his job to give them the answers. It was hard to watch. Just thinking ‘I cannot believe it,’ the pummeling she’s getting, but I understood that he was in a tough position.
Did you think that Andy was too hard on Erika?
Like I said, he was hard on her. But I know that the audience is expecting these questions to be answered. So he had a job to do. But was it hard to watch? Yes, it was hard to watch at times.
Where do you stand today with Erika today, post-reunion? What’s the state of your friendship?
She was upset with me and hurt by some of the things on the show that she had seen, because I had questions and it was all very confusing for me. And then there was a scene with PK [Paul Kemsley] and my husband where they made a joke about the the car accident and Dorit [Kemsley] and I laughed—it was hard not to laugh, because PK is so funny. While we were shooting it, I thought ‘This is not going to go over well,’ I knew that she would be hurt. She was expecting people that know her to defend her because she has all these people who don’t know her who are jumping to conclusions, assuming that she knew everything. It was very hard because we had so many questions.
The Real Housewives franchises have always had a really loyal following, but I think in recent years, there’s been a cultural shift toward it becoming mainstream viewing, especially with the pandemic. It feels like everyone is watching now. Do you feel like the public perception of being a real housewife or being on reality TV has changed at all?
Oh, I do! I can only speak from my perspective, but there was this immediate image when you thought about a housewife back in the day. I think even the fact that I have been able to cross over and go back to my acting and doing movies and producing television—I don’t think that that would have happened years ago. I’m grateful to be in this unique position.
What do you see for like the future of the franchise and your role within it?
Reality television has taken over soap operas and now people want to follow real people’s lives. We’re the no. 1 show on Bravo right now and have been for awhile. I don’t see an end in sight—I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing! But I really am excited to be focusing on my acting and I would love to be on a scripted show and continue producing television. So I will balance both for as long as I can until it’s too hard for me to do.
I’m sure you’re aware, but your husband Mauricio is roundly acknowledged online as being the hottest house husband of not only Beverly Hills, but the larger Housewife universe. Do you have feelings about this?
I always laugh because he’s always been the cutest thing to me, but when I started the show, it wasn’t like people thought of him like that! But with Andy Cohen and going on WWHL, it started becoming, like, “He’s the hottest house husband.” I was like, “Excuse me! This is my best kept secret! Everybody leave me alone! Buzz off!” But I find it flattering and I think it’s fun and he laughs about it. We like that he has that title. But I’m always like, “Don’t get too cocky here!”