From the carnival to Bravo, LeeAnne Locken always takes the bull by the horns
LeeAnne Locken has spent her whole life preparing to step into the limelight. From growing up in an actual carnival to working the Miss USA pageant circuit, she now revels in the chaos that reality TV creates. She moved to Preston Hollow 20 years ago and made her reality show debut on “Big Rich Texas” before assuming her role as an outspoken instigator on the “Real Housewives of Dallas.” The glass-tossing philanthropist doesn’t stray from drama, but she insists that isn’t why she stampeded into the spotlight. Locken is all about helping others, she says, and being a household name draws attention to the causes she values most. “I don’t need to be a part of the show,” she says. “I’m not trying to show you my $30,000 watch. I’m not dropping price tags left and right on camera. I’m just living my authentic life.”
What do you love about the neighborhood, and what do you hate?
What I love about Preston Hollow is that the lots are larger. We almost have a half-acre here. It’s fabulous, because we have one side yard with the swimming pool and the cabana. Then we have a whole other yard just for the dogs. What I don’t like is all the construction at Preston and Royal. It’s been a tiny bit of a mess over there. I’ve been trying to avoid that area if at all possible, except for the fact my grocery store, my dry cleaners, my hair bar, Starbucks — everything I go to — is right there. Keep tearing up those streets, people.
How has Preston Hollow changed since you moved here?
Originally, what was in the surrounding area was perfect for the age of the community, but there’s really no more property. People are now looking for larger lots with bigger homes, and you can find that at a great value in Preston Hollow. As younger people move in, the area has been forced to try to keep up.
Has being on “Real Housewives” impacted your privacy?
Yes, more people know me when I go out, but that’s part of the fun of being on the show. People are watching you. They want to be a part of your life. I don’t mind that. The way I grew up and the way I’ve lived my whole life has always been in the public. Plus, let’s face it. You really don’t want to come to my house if you were not invited, because there’s a lot of guns.
What did you learn from “Housewives” this season?
I have a long way to go on who to trust and who not to trust, for sure. I was really shocked and blown away by it, honestly.
What TV moments make you proud, and what makes you cringe?
I have so many beautiful moments this season. I’m so proud of being engaged on camera. I love that I will forever get to watch that moment. If he forgets to take the trash out, and I get pissed, I know I can just watch the scene. I was really proud of the stuff I did in anger management.
The moment I’m not proud of? Being naked while Brandi Redmond was mic’d and being on a tremendous amount of medication before surgery.
In the final episode, you and your estranged mom go to therapy together. What was that like?
I was really proud of the scene with my mom and finding that moment after so many years of angst and hurt and pain. I wish that could’ve happened 40 years ago.
My life is my life, and I’m not ashamed of it. I had to let go of shame in my life. I tried to kill myself, more than once, because of how ashamed I was about my past. For me, doing that on camera was no different than doing that in general. I also feel like I’m not the only person who has a difficult time with their mother.
Since the season wrapped up, what have you been up to?
I’ve been very, very, very busy. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t do some form of a charity event.
What causes are most important to you right now?
I’m trying to limit myself, as my schedule gets tighter, to the things I really love the most. First would be animals, then my LGBT community, domestic abuse — being a survivor, and child abuse — being a survivor.
What’s the best and worst job at the carnival?
To me, there really wasn’t a worst job. The best thing was all of the strength and speed at which I had to learn about humanity and the art of manipulation. I started working when I was 3. By the time I was 11, I had adults working for me. I made bank. It taught me to be an independent, aggressive, no-bullshit kid, which turned into a strong woman. I dealt with millions of different types of people. Where else do you get that kind of training?
Interview edited for clarity and brevity.
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