Millions of Vanderpump Rules viewers and podcast listeners know Stassi Schroeder as a major defender of Basic Bitch rights. There’s nothing more boring than people who take themselves too seriously. Stassi champions the things that many of us are afraid to love publicly for fear of being labeled basic: lattes, pugs, bubbly cocktails, millennial pink, #OOTD (outfit of the day, obvs), astrology, hot dogs, the perfect pair of Louboutins, romantic comedies...the list goes on and on.
“There’s something for everyone under Schroeder’s big basic umbrella” (Elle) and in Next Level Basic, the reality star, podcast queen, and ranch dressing expert gives you hilarious and pointed lessons on how to have fun and celebrate yourself, with exclusive stories from her own life and on the set of Vanderpump Rules. From her very public breakups to her most intimate details about her plastic surgery, Stassi shares her own personal experiences with her trademark honesty—all with the hope you can learn something from them.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Next Level Basic
First let me say, despite what you might think if you’ve seen me on Vanderpump Rules—I am not an authority on life what-so-fucking-ever. But I am a premiere authority on being basic AF. I’m opinionated and judgy (which is one of my main skills, and if they gave out Academy Awards for judginess I would definitely need a trophy room), so I have some pretty strong opinions about what’s important in life: ranch dressing, ghost tours, cocktails, hangover patches, hot dogs, actual dogs, the perfect pair of Loubs, Game of Thrones, and Ouija boards, to name a few things.
In my experience, there’s nothing more boring than people who take themselves way too seriously (I live in LA, so I should know). This book is for everyone out there who is tired of pretending they would rather read War and Peace or see a Daniel Day-Lewis movie about sewing than watch a Saw marathon and drink a delicious but basic AF cocktail like a Kir Royale (nine parts champagne and one part crème de cassis, whatever that is. The point is, it’s mainly champagne). This book is for people who want to let their basicness shine and listen to show tunes while they drive to the gym (with a full face of makeup, natch), but then drive past the gym and head to the bar instead. It’s for the Khaleesis* of the world, who know that the best way to get over a breakup is to assert your authority and coerce people into doing things for you (in 2019 that means having them buy you pizza and wine), and express your rage by any means necessary (in my case, that means singing show tunes at the top of my lungs). I’ve survived some very public and dramatic breakups, often with a camera crew documenting the entire before and after, so you could say that getting through them is one of my specialties.
So, no, I’m not ever going to be featured on Goop or give a TED Talk, but I do know some things. Like, let’s be real—everyone wants to look good AF on Instagram, and I can help with that. Most people would secretly rather eat the best hot dog on the planet than eat $26 roasted heirloom baby kumquats with a foam framboise reduction (and I can help with that too!). All humans have basic tendencies, and I am the living embodiment of a human who embraces her inner basic bitch, with pride.
In this book, I’m not going to share deep life lessons about finding myself during an (expensive) ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon or feel-good stories that make it seem like I have it all figured out. This is me getting real, raw, and taking my basicness (and hopefully yours) to the next level, because embracing those tendencies can give you the confidence to speak up and do things you might never attempt if you were hiding your truest, most basic self. Reading this book will be like catching up with your honest, and yes, slightly bitchy friend. I will tell stories about losing my virginity, totally screwing up on social media, and learning that I don’t know shit about life—which is a pretty good lesson to learn in your twenties—and how not everything can be solved by bingeing on Taco Bell. I’ll explain what not to do on Instagram or Twitter (like, everyone knows that picture of you “sleeping” is really a selfie). I’ll tell stories about being basic AF in high school, and then basic AF in my twenties, and I’ll reveal embarrassing and true moments from my life (because not everything ends up on Vanderpump!) that prove that being basic 2.0 takes guts. I mean, you have to be kind of brave to live in foodie LA and admit that hot dogs and Cool Ranch Doritos are among your favorite foods. But YOLO, right?
I hope you can read this book and not only have a laugh and a little departure from the stresses of your everyday life but also feel like you can relate. We need to take back the joy of being basic and wear it as a badge of honor. The next time you go on a first date or meet a new group of people, I hope you feel comfortable being exactly who you are and that you don’t worry about saying or doing the “right” thing, because there is no “right” thing. Except when it comes to charging your cell phone. People who run out of charge are the worst and they deserve to be slowly tortured with nipple clamps, and with this book I am going to prove it!
If you’re not yet basic AF, I’m not judging you. Well, maybe I’m judging you a little. What I want is for everyone to embrace whatever they’re into, even if society or their boss or some asshole online says it’s lame. If you think chanting in a yoga class is the best thing ever, then good for you (even though it makes me want to gouge my eyes out with steaming-hot pokers). If you want to order the seasonal sugar-filled pumpkin-flavored whatever at Starbucks rather than some froufrou European drink, own your truth. Embracing your basicness can actually make you a happier person for one simple reason—because it’s fun. It’s so much more fulfilling to bond with people over your shared love of, say, overplayed pop songs or astrology than it is to sit in a corner and act like a hater. It gives you a sense of community and bonds you with strangers in a world that can be pretty isolating and harsh. It’s a lot more fulfilling to sing “Sweet Caroline” in a bar with a bunch of strangers than it is to pretend that you don’t know the words, missing out on something that’s fun, memorable (depending on how many shots you do), and social. That’s the essence of the Next Level Basic mentality—stop being a hater and enjoy yourself!
If your perfect day means a Kardashian marathon on the couch with an Aperol Spritz, that doesn’t make you any less cool than the guy who spends his day home with his microbrew, listening to jazz (which sounds boring AF, BTW). Personally, I’m tired of people feeling ashamed of what they’re into just because they’re afraid someone might make fun of their love of bedazzled ranch dressing bottles or because they watched Kylie’s ten-minute pregnancy video more than once. I mean, I did. And if you didn’t, I bet you’re tempted to google it right this second. Welcome to Next Level Basic.
Maybe you totally believe in the whole Mercury-in-retrograde thing (I do). Maybe you idolize Chrissy Teigen (who doesn’t?). And maybe you really love the whole rosé-in-a-can craze. So what if someone else says pink wine in a can is lame? Life is way too short to care what someone else thinks about what you think is cool, especially when it comes to something as personal as wine. So let’s stop taking ourselves so seriously and get back to basic—because I bet even Dame Judi Dench is probably out there at the local pub living her Next Level Basic best life. Let’s follow her lead.
* Since starting my podcast, a community of badass, smart, funny basic bitches has organically arisen. And those BABBs are called Khaleesis. I mean, it’s pretty basic to name Khaleesi as your fave Game of Thrones character, because she is kind of the ancient version of a basic bitch, with her platinum-blond hair and braids. So it only makes sense that fans of my podcast are named after her. . . .
Table of Contents
Section I Basic AF
Chapter 1 Find Your Voice 3
Chapter 2 Why Musical Theater Is Cool AF 17
Chapter 3 The Cult of Stassi 27
Chapter 4 Obsessed 35
Section II Committed AF
Chapter 5 Basic Breakups 53
Chapter 6 Next Level Dealbreakers 65
Chapter 7 Like a Virgin 83
Chapter 8 Witches of WeHo 93
Chapter 9 Get Yours 103
Section III Hot AF
Chapter 10 Style Confessions 115
Chapter 11 Who Wore It Worst? 127
Chapter 12 How to Look Hot on Social 137
Chapter 13 Basic Beauty 145
Chapter 14 What's in My Bag (Uncensored) 163
Section IV Eat, Orink, and Be Enlightened AF
Chapter 15 Cocktail Hour(s) 171
Chapter 16 A Foodie's Nightmare 181
Chapter 17 What's Your Sign? 201
Chapter 18 Hashtag Namaste 209
Chapter 19 Basic Mistakes 217