I have come to a not-too-startling conclusion that perfection is overrated especially that oddity known as the “perfect family”. Who are these people who get along swimmingly with one another and who pass the peas with the perfect smile on their faces? Who are these folks who never have a minor misunderstanding let alone a vein-popping, eardrum splitting argument? You know who they are: freaks of nature.
Real families are messy. They have their challenges but are willing to stick together and stick it out for the greater good for when its all said and done, they truly love one another.
One such family that keeps it real (pardon the overused term) is the Lamas clan as seen on E!’s Leave It to Lamas (Sundays, 10:30 p.m. Season Finale, November 29). We have Shayne, noted for being the chosen one on the series The Bachelor, a bit ditzy sometimes but always lovable as she tries to be peacemaker while pursuing her own interests. Then there is her brother A.J, a charming, yet somewhat hapless sort, whose strained relationship with their father Lorenzo (yes, that Lorenzo) is at sometimes painful to watch. Finally, there is solid-as-a-rock, half sister Dakota, and loving, and at times kooky, menopausal mom, Michele Smith.
Oh, did I mention that Shayne, A.J. and Dakota live together?
They do and as you might suspect both tension and hilarity ensue. Like the time when AJ barges in on Shayne and her date. Awkward…Get your mind out of the gutter. They were just chatting but it was awkward nonetheless.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with little sis Dakota, who seems much wiser, more grounded at 19 than I was at any age. Although, I could never do it because I’m difficult to live with by my own admission, Dakota has been roomies with her older sis Shayne since she was 15 and living with a brother she says is no problem. For Dakota it’s about being young, having fun and enjoying life — despite the occasional fight or two.
So what is it like having Shayne as a big sister? “Fabulous,” says Dakota, “We’ve always been best friends, except when we were 9 and13 and fought over clothes and toys. As we started growing older, became more like best friends and there no limits with what we share with each other.”
As for Dakota and her brother, they both are “extremely close”. “A.J. has a way of making me laugh and lifting my spirit,” says Dakota.” There is no jealousy between Shayne, or I or A.J. or I”
When Dakota was younger, at times, she was the girly girl that played Barbies with Shayne. At other times, she would be the tomboy, hanging out with A.J. and his “super cute” friends. To fit in, Dakota would mess up her hair a bit, wear baggy clothes, skateboard and hit a baseball or two. Then after finished hanging with the boys, she would have Shayne do her hair.
It’s because she loves her brother A.J. so much that disputes, hard feelings, between he and his father Lorenzo, who she says is an “amazing person”, are upsetting. When she looks at A.J., she sees someone who his still young, still learning about life who needs a father to help him work through things.
Enough about A.J., Lorenzo and Shayne. What about Dakota?
Dakota has wanted to be a singer since around the age of 12 or 13. It was on the set of a Jewel music video that she fell love with the craft. When Dakota told her mother she wanted to sing, she got an “okay honey” but it never went beyond that. About a year ago, an older, more committed Dakota started singing and writing songs in earnest. Six to eight months ago, she began recording. “It’s been a learning experience.” says Dakota who calls her style”pop/rock”, “I’m my biggest critic. I always want to be better.”
Now as for being on a reality series, Dakota says it has been “fun, great” but not a lot has changed in her life. Yes, she is busier with promotions and other possible opportunities. “Doors open for you but the fact is you don’t always have the job,” says Dakota, who other interest lies in acting. “You’ve got to do the work to get it.”
To follow Dakota (@Dakotajpike) on Twitter, click here.
She Likes to Get Her Snack On: Dakota has what she calls a “midnight eating thing.” She wakes up about 4 or 5 a.m., goes to the kitchen, grabs something to eat like pizza, donuts, cookies, makes a huge mess in the process and then goes back to bed. Shayne, who calls her”Babycakes”, is usually none too pleased with the mess Dakota’s made.
Favorite singer: It’s Pink, who she calls “amazing”. Dakota also loves Alicia Keys and Rhianna.
Favorite food: Dakota is s “addicted” to sushi. “It might be full of mercury. But it will be okay,” she chuckles.
A Song that Would Describe Her: The Fray’s “You Found Me”. “The song touched me..I was at a certain point in my life two years ago when I found spirituality. I definitely pray. It gets me through things.”