‘Vanderpump Villa’: Stephen Alsvig & Gabriella Sanon Dish on Chateau Drama

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When you work for Lisa Vanderpump, you best be prepared to deliver her vision and be on your game. As seen on other shows, she expects nothing but top-tier service and work ethic as her hand-selected staff have found out on Vanderpump Villa. The Hulu reality series follows them welcoming and serving guests a luxurious experience at the French estate Chateau Rosabelle.

Of course, it wouldn’t have Vanderpump without the drama along the way. A few episodes in and we’ve already seen drunken confrontations, emotional breakdowns, employee clashes, potential love triangles, and even lead server Marciano Brunette almost being fired.

Event coordinators Stephen Alsvig and Gabriella Sanon have had front-row seats to all the fireworks. Despite helping manage the team’s complicated dynamic, they also feel the pressure of the task at hand. For them, that means realizing Lisa’s carefully curated vision for her latest business venture. This could be easier said than done when there are big personalities at play including pushback from chateau manager Eric Funderwhite.

Here Stephen and Gabriella dish on budding romances, potential guest-cast hookups, and towing the professional line while still providing a good time.

Gabriella

Gavin Bond/Hulu

Stephen, I know you’ve worked for Lisa in the past. How would you compare working for her in this environment? 

Stephen Alsvig: This really was a new situation and environment to experience. I’ve worked for her and her brand for almost five years now. In Vegas, we’re more of a corporate way of thinking so I strictly looked at her as a boss. There was a bit of a chip on my shoulder because of that. So it was really hard for me to get to the point where I looked at her more as a mentor and almost a motherly figure because she really does care about each and every one of us. I’m so used to seeing her as strictly the boss and always rolling out the pink carpet.

Did you feel any added pressure because you were entrusted to see Lisa’s vision through? 

Gabriella Sanon: Definitely. She has done so many things. Ultimately, I think her confidence in us and just the action of her selecting us gave me and Stephen our confidence. She was also constantly giving us positive reinforcement. It really helped us get things done and execute the vision.

Stephen, there was talk about you going for the same position as Eric. How would you say your working relationship with him unfolds the rest of the season because early on there seemed to be some butting of the heads. 

Stephen: Lisa does clarify that Eric is the estate chateau manager, meaning he should be managing the grounds. He is not supposed to be managing the staff. I think we were all confused by what he was doing. I was never upset he had the job over me. I was more upset that we were all confused by him taking the word manager and rolling with it. I think that caused tension that wasn’t necessary that you’ll see evolve into what it’s supposed to be this season. You’ll see our relationship shift and change with that. I kind of went into it that if LIsa chose someone else to be a manager, there is a reason for it. I was excited to get into the coordinating position and learned everything I could and shine in every positive way. Then Lisa can say, “Wow, I chose Stephen to do this. I made the right decision choosing Stephen and Gabriella.”

We saw how Lisa dealt with Marciano for his behavior after kissing a guest. Do you think she made the right decision keeping him on board to wash dishes rather than firing him? 

Gabriella: I think Lisa is very loyal to her people. On top of that, we’re in this chateau in the South of France. It’s not easy to just grab another staff member. It’s not like she is at a Vanderpump cocktail bar and can just fire someone to have a new server come in. She definitely had to have a new level of flexibility and patience. Doing that for him, you’ll see in the next couple of episodes how it helped.

Stephen: You’ll see he learned his lesson.

The tables turned because for the last guests to visit the chateau, the girls were front and center. Do you think it was a double standard with the way the girls were acting with the male guests in a similar way the guys were acting with the female guests in the past? With the girls, Lisa seemed more okay with it. 

Gabriella: I think it was also the kind of thing where Marciano kind of f*cked up there. So Lisa saw it as girls, have your fun. Just enjoy. I think she also had the trust in us that we were going to have the type of fun that was appropriate and good for what we were trying to accomplish at Chateau Rosabelle.

How was it walking that fine line when it comes to staff-guest relations?  Gabriella, you fell into temptation when you kissed a guest in Dan.

Gabriella: For me, I’m very big on professionalism and the right time and right place. I was clocked out, It was the end of the night. Lisa was very clear when we clocked in, you’re doing your job. But when you’re clocked out, you’re more than welcome to mingle with the guests upon an invite.

Stephen: Right. But also you can’t just show up to their parties and crash. When you’re filming for six-and-a-half weeks, all that was crammed into 10, 45-minute episodes. So there is a lot of context that is not there. But we only went to parties we were invited to.

Gabriella: Yeah. And I was very much invited to that one as you guys could tell.

Gabriella, what can you tell us about what we’re going to see between you and Andre [Mitchell]? There seemed to be a budding romance there. 

Garbeilla: Yeah. You guys will definitely have to see what transpires. Andre is a very standup man, and we are starting to connect a bit more. You’ll see how that grows.

Stephen

Gavin Bond/Hulu

Beyond the staff, we’ve also heard some captivating and inspiring stories from the guests this season. 

Stephen: What’s really exciting for us as the event coordinators is having these dinners, parties and activities that were elaborate and planned. I won’t use the word curate because we’ve heard that word one too many times, but just know every detail was thought about based on what these guests were celebrating. Everything we had to do we had to make happen for them. It was exciting to see each event and why each one was so important and heartfelt and touching. To see why what we did was so important in executing the vision Lisa came up with literally months, years in advance for these guests to have an experience like any other.

Gabriella: What was really cool is it wasn’t just your typical bachelorette party. As you can see we had Harlan’s group, she was celebrating her rebirth. These are things you never really see people celebrating, which is why this is even more special. You’ll see some really cool things in the next few episodes celebrated with these guests.

Tell me how much you’ve bonded from this experience. Stephen, I saw even on your Instagram that many of you went to Disney together. 

Stephen: I’ve actually said this to my parents because my dad’s also on active duty Air Force. I’m a veteran. My brother is also on active duty. I said that I never thought I would have an experience like I had in the military where I found new brothers and sisters that are meaningful for a lifetime. Coming out of that chateau and those six weeks of being 24/7 with each other. We loved to hate each other sometimes. It may sometimes be I love you, but I just don’t like you. I’m excited to have these relationships knowing they are going to be in my life forever.

What would you say you’ve learned about yourselves from this experience and now reliving it? 

Stephen: I’ve really learned to trust myself and be proud of the work I do. That’s a hundred percent without arrogance. I know there is room for growth, but this experience taught me to take a breath and say, “Stephen, you’re doing it.” Any mistake you make you can learn from in the future. I’m excited for the world to see my journey and deal with that situation. It was teased at the very beginning where you see a preview of me and Lisa having a heart-to-heart. That was a really groundbreaking moment for me. That I was able to shatter that glass ceiling.

Gabriella: I look at it as wow, I am a strong, powerful person. This was a very taxing experience. It’s long hours of working. I know it’s hard to tell. People may ask if we were working or not. No, we were doing a whole job. Then along with it, we’re alongside people we’re living with and may not get along with. To see how I handled a lot of the situations and my composure, I’m very proud of myself. That’s what I took from it, especially watching it over.

New episodes of Vanderpump Villa drop on Mondays on Hulu. 

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