Truth or Fiction: Leslie Birkland from ‘Big Rich Texas’ sets the records straight on her finances

Big Rich Texas Leslie Birkland

By the end of season 1 and in the start of season 2 of The Style Network’s (Facebook, Twitter, Website) “Big Rich Texas” (Facebook, Twitter, Website), we’re left wondering if what Leslie Birkland (Facebook, Twitter) has told the fellow cast members about her life is all a farce.  Fans of the show know that Pamela Martin (Facebook, Twitter) makes it her business to sort out matters like this, and took the lead in poking holes in Leslie’s life ever since she expressed interest in joining Woodhaven Country Club. By the end of season 1 and in the first couple of episodes of season 2, Leslie seems to to be lying about a lot of things, so much so, that her on-camera best friend Dr. Bon (Bonnie) Blossman (Facebook, Twitter, Website) has abandoned their friendship.

For those reasons, I leaped  at the opportunity to talk to Leslie directly and find out how much of what we know about her is truth or fiction.  Since finances have been a hot topic, I’m starting there, but there will be more articles forthcoming that address her relationships with her son Tyler, Goddaughter Kalyn (Facebook, Twitter), cast bestie Bonnie, and newest cast member DeAynni Hatley.  I found the Leslie I talked to on the phone to be the very same Leslie we see on TV.  She’s sweet, but it feels like I’m talking to a politician.  Perhaps, it’s just her pageant upbringing, but she’s not the gal that will give you a simple yes or no, and sometimes I was wondering if she was anticipating questions rather than hearing my own.  Not to worry because I don’t back away easily from a topic, so in the end, I did get response to the questions that I and fans of “Big Rich Texas” were burning to know in Leslie’s own words.

INTERVIEW PART ONE: Leslie Birkland

Reason for moving to Dallas

Ifelicious:  Why did you decide to move to Dallas?

Leslie:  There’s two reasons.  Number one, my absolute best friend, her name is Heidi.  She is from Dallas and has been talking about Dallas for like the last 25 years.  ‘Dallas is wonderful, Leslie.  Really, if you’re going to invest in some property, go to Dallas.  Prices are right’…Also, because of my pageants…I competed in pageants, and then when I was done competing myself, I just sort of had a knack for training people.  So in Texas, not necessarily Dallas, but Texas is so pro-pageant.  You come up against a lot people, especially in Washington state, not so much in California that are like, ‘Pageants are stupid.  They’re ridiculous.  Why would you want to do that?’…at least in Texas people are little more welcoming in regards to pageants and being a pageant trainer.

Ifelicious:  Why even join a country club in Dallas if you’re just checking out the area and leasing this condo?  Did you just join it because you were going to be on the show?

Leslie:  I joined the country club simply because of Connie…Connie is the one that introduced me to everybody.  I didn’t know anyone.  I met Bonnie at the country club…

Ifelicious:  You all are related, right?

Leslie:  Ya, we’re cousins by marriage…My mom’s brother married Connie’s dad’s sister, my aunt Linda.  We share the same aunt and uncle, and then we share the same first cousin…so there’s no blood that actually flows between Connie and I.

Investing in Woodhaven Country Club

Ifelicious: I know season 1 ended with you saying that you wanted to be an investor in the country club, and then things changed, and it looks like you backed out. What happened with that?

Leslie: With the country club, and this is completely true, I have yet to receive any paperwork. I had a meeting with Mr. [Louis] Scoma…He only bought the club himself a few years ago. It is club member owned…so they offered anybody in the club to buy more into the club, but he was going to show me was the return on your money…and as of today, I haven’t received the actual proposal. What’s kind of funny, the scene- I don’t know how it was cut- when everyone is questioning me about it at the cocktail party. He was standing next to me, and I actually looked at him, but they can only show so much…and I just said in front of everyone, ‘He hasn’t given the proposal yet, so I don’t know if this is a wise decision,’ but that got cut out because it doesn’t make good TV.

Ifelicious: The way it’s edited on the episode 1 it’s [Mr. Scoma] responding to Pam’s probing that he says that somebody dropped out. It’s then inferred that the person is you.

Leslie: Really?!!

Ifelicious: Yes, so as I ask you this question, I was expecting you to end your explanation with, ‘so I backed out of the deal’ but you’re telling me that you didn’t back out as an investor at the country club?

Leslie: No, I’m still waiting on that proposal…I don’t know who the other investors are. I haven’t even seen the amount that they need or the construction bid. I’ve seen absolutely zero. So that’s really interesting. Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it, so I guess they’re saying that I dropped out on the show.

Ifelicious: The cocktail party conversation amongst the girls seem to be for the purpose of getting you to admit that.

Leslie: I’ve just had friends calling me saying, ‘Ya, I wouldn’t watch this if I were you. They’re actually making you trying to look like you might be fake,’ and I’m like ‘What?’ I never ever lied once on TV or otherwise or elsewhere, but that’s makes better TV.

Side note- I’ve seen episode 1, twice. At the cocktail party, the gals are all together with Mr. Scoma, and Melissa asks, “So who is this investor that backed out?” To that, Leslie responds, “I had already announced to everybody that I was going to be investing, but I just want to put my money elsewhere.” Melissa then follows up with, “You’re not investing at this time,” to which Leslie agrees by saying, “Not at this very time. Actually, what I’m going to do is my attorney and I are going to open up a Pilates studio.” They cut out to an interview where Pam’s happy to proclaim, “I told you so,” then the scene goes back to Leslie where she also announces that she’s enrolling her Goddaughter Kalyn in the Miss America pageant.

Leslie’s Pageant Consulting Business

Ifelicious:  With that in mind, you mention at the beginning of season 2 that you’re going to start a pageant consulting business.  Is that fully up and operational at this point?

Leslie:  What I really did before was pageant seminars…Typically they were in hotel rooms…Sometimes, at bigger pageants…a lot of the girls are inexperienced and so they’re really nervous, so they’ll have like a pageant seminar…I would run the seminars…I kind of specialize in interview, and so a lot of people that I’ve trained [I can manage] over the phone or by email…In Texas, because [pageants are] a little bit bigger…I’m doing something a little unprecedented.  I’m having mock pageants with mock judges and an audience…so that these gals won’t be so petrified when they actually go onstage when it counts.  That’s sort of the concept.

Ifelicious:  How can people learn about your services?  Is it online?  Do you have a website?

Leslie:  It’s not because Tyler, my son, hasn’t put my website together.  It’s like under construction right now.  Actually, I have another son.  He’s older.  He’s graduated and has his degree in computer science and so he’s going to try to do some neat things with [the website].  For right now, it’s mostly been word of mouth.  In the pageant industry, people are familiar with me.

Ifelicious:  How is your new pageant business doing so far?

Leslie:  It’s doing really really well, but…I don’t want to give people the illusion that this is some big, huge, monster money making business.  That is not my intention.  I’m doing it because I love pageants, and I love working people, and I love helping them.  So this isn’t like a nine-to-five.  I don’t even want it to be like that.  I want it to be like where I can just travel and go and do seminars or even host an event and do things like that.

Ifelicious:  Is there something else you do on a full time basis?

Leslie:  I manage my properties.  That’s what I do for a living.

Opening a Pilates Studio

Ifelicious:  In episode 1 of season 2, at the fall cocktail party, you mention opening a Pilates studio.  Is that out of the picture now?

Leslie:  No, that is not out…I’m really excited about it…There’s a gal who has a Pilates studio in Brentwood, California, and I met with her right before we started filming [season 2], and I have a friend who is an attorney, and she wants to invest with me…We were just looking at the numbers, and it may not happen within the next six months, but it is definitely something that I would like do and franchise…It was kind of funny when they were making fun of it [on the show]…I think Melissa and Pam were thinking it was just going to be a Pilates class…In fact, we’re looking at a space in California.  I thought I would do it in Dallas, but it just makes more sense because this attorney friend lives in California, too.

Property Management and Ownership

Ifeliicious:  In the first episode of season 2, Connie is reporting back on her ‘recognizance mission’ in Washington to the gals and says that you don’t own any properties in Washington.  In fact, there’s another Leslie Birkland who’s Asian, lives there, and is the one that owns those properties.  Also, Whitney supports this suspicion during her break up with Tyler, telling her mother, Bonnie, basically the same thing.

Leslie:  [Tyler] did bring [Whitney] to our family home [in Washington], and it really is on the market. Rick (her husband that passed away) and I have sold it on a contract, so…it’s still a part of the estate…to a woman that we’re basically holding the mortgage on…He had brought her to two of his buildings that he inherited [from his dad]…one is a beautiful apartment building, and it has lovely views of Puget Sound. So, I just thought it was interesting when [Whitney] was saying, ‘Well, they don’t really have anything’…We actually do own another lovely property in that same area that we sold under contract, and we may be taking that back. I don’t know if we’re going to foreclose on it.

But that’s what we do. Other people have really good jobs. They probably make a lot more money than do. That’s just what we’ve done for a living is just being property owners and managing our own properties. Also, on the show, in season 1, I was very forthcoming about what I had, and I did not embellish…but the problem was that somebody would say, ‘Well, Leslie says she is some real estate mogul,’ but I never said that, ever.

…What I find is the most amusing is that there is a lady who lives in the same city.  Her name is Leslie Birkland…of no relation to my family.  She is a professor at the University of Washington, and she’s an Asian lady, and my sister saw her once at Costco’s because my sister works at Costco, and she just thought it was interesting that somebody had her sister’s name ‘Leslie Birkland,’ but that whole thing seems just so absurd because I have never false claimed to be Asian (side note: i cracked up to myself about the Asian comment) or to be a professor at the University of Washington…I’m still trying to figure out why people are still saying that I’m trying to claim to be this other Leslie Birkland.

Ifelicious:  From what I’ve seen in the first couple of episodes, I didn’t take that to mean that you were impersonating her from her career perspective.  I thought they were saying, ‘Here’s the real, in quotes, Leslie Birkland who owns properties up in Seattle.’

Leslie:  She is a professor.  I don’t know what her husband does…and I have to tell you that I kind of feel badly about it…they don’t own any properties, and now because of this, I think she’s probably getting a lot of grief.  I mean I certainly wouldn’t go out and try to match anyone else’s names.  I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of ‘Pamela Martins’  out there in America… I guess it would be different if this other Leslie Birkland did own a lot of properties and was into real estate, and I was just staking claim to what she owned, but that’s not the case…They’re like a nice family with kids and that’s it.

Ifelicious:  OK, so to set the records straight, tell me what you do actually own.  I wouldn’t normally ask somebody what they own and what they do because it just doesn’t matter to me, but it’s so much a part your role on the show.

Leslie:  It sure seems to be!  I have never even actually asked any other cast members what they own.  I just wouldn’t do that, and in fact, I’ve never even offered it.  It’s only been when I’ve been asked, and Pam’s really the only one to ask me.  She’s just determined…I don’t think it’s polite to ask somebody what exactly do you do, and how much do you have.  It’s just not my style.

Ifelicious:  OK, again, so let’s set the records straight.  What exactly do you own?

Leslie:  I’m just sort of done with [the question]…I’ve said it on TV when I’ve been asked, and that’s just sort of it because people are very invasive…So much has been posted online already, and it’s actually shocking to me what’s been posted.  I can see what hasn’t been posted is any other cast members and the properties that they own or what properties they had.  Like I know that Bonnie has had a couple of homes, and I think Connie and her husband owned a home maybe in Plano just because she shared that with me, but I would never go online and look it up… I do have rental properties, I will say this, in the state of Washington, and I own a home in the state of California, and I’m leasing in Dallas, and I plan on leasing.

Ifelicious:  I think why this is so important to our perception of you is because ‘Big Rich Texas’ as a show is based around a country club.  I’ve never belonged to a country club, but I know it’s very expensive and elite…but I would imagine that there are people will want to know how you were able to be a part of the club, and people just get to be nosy, too.

Leslie:  People are nosy!  I think people are little nosier in Dallas.  I haven’t experienced this anywhere else.  It might just bee the whole country club thing.  Actually, I do like Woodhaven Country Club.  It’s a golf club.  There’s a social aspect, but for the most part it is a golf club, and that’s why I like it because, although I took golf lessons in season 1,  I’ve been golfing for five years.  My house in California sits on the golf course.  That’s just what I enjoy.

Country Club Lifestyle

Ifelicious:  Is [Woodhaven] the only country club you belong to?

Leslie:  I belong to three country clubs.  It’s kind of interesting, where I live in California, just by owning a home you automatically…become a member of the country club so that’s real convenient.

There you have it, the lowdown on Leslie and her loot.  Next in the series, I’ll be sharing Leslie and her relationships.

You didn’t hear it from me, but…

Pssst!  In doing research for this interview, I ran across a rumor that there will be a reunion show at the end of this season.  I think the plan is sometime in April, and I have no idea who’s hosting.  As soon as I’m able to confirm the details, I’ll be sure to let you know here on Ifelicious Thoughts, via Twitter (@ifelicious) or on my Facebook page.

Read all of my blog posts about “Big Rich Texas,” including an interview with Bonnie and Whitney, by CLICKING HERE.

Follow Leslie on Twitter @LeslieBirkland and “like” her Facebook page.

Follow “Big Rich Texas on Twitter @BigRichTexas and using the hashtag #BigRichTexasYou can also like the show’s Facebook page.

Related Links

FrontRow’s D Magazine has awesome and witty recaps of “Big Rich Texas”:

See also:

Have you been seeing Leslie’s hair tips during the episodes?

Comments

  1. Here is the thing, I was always taught it is improper to talk about how much wealth you have. Like where I live, I live in a nice neighborhood. Not super wealthy but to own the homes I have, most people …like husband and wife are working. I am lucky that my hubby works AND most people where I live are in their late 30s early 40s who own the type of home I live in. I am in my early 30s.

    I am a stay at home mom and yes I do work (I created my own job), because I believe that I should help out, but it isn’t required. Anyway, I recently wanted to change up my furniture in my house and one of the woman where I live gossiped about me “how can she afford to change up her furniture every four years?” It is because I look at good deals and I am changing the living room furniture due to the stains from the sofa that can’t be removed and it is broken. I think that means it is time to get a new sofa lol.

  2. Pam had Leslie pegged from day one. Only because it takes one to know one, they are both full of crap. This show is ridiculous and Leslie is not the only cast member full of poo. First and foremost these women are actor’s. Leslie and Pam were not the original cast members, they were brought in at the last min. because both of them had previous reality show experience. The whole premise of this show was supposed to based on these elite country club members. None of these ladies belong to any DALLAS ELITE COUNTRY CLUB, WOODHAVEN is a golf club and the extra’s you see hanging around are paid actors. They get paid a whole $25.00 a day to film. Style actually post casting calls for the filming of BRT. I attended Bon’s vowel renewal for grins, OMG I thought I might get car-jacked or robbed leaving the place. The whole area is run down with burglar bars on the stores. Soon after that filming gig I was approached by the producers to film again. I did a few more stints, but just couldn’t take the off camera drama. The only real thing about this show is, the cast really hate each other. My goodness they are not rich or famous and act like children. The show is so low budget that the cast wear their own clothes! Leslie and Melissa wear raggedy clothes/shoes with the heels eaten off. Don’t wast your time trying to get the truth out of any of the cast members, they are full of lies. I will say that Whitney reeks of liquor and cigarettes and I really feel sorry for her Mother, who is a very sweet lady.

  3. I love Bonnie & Whitney. I also like Leslie and think she got a raw deal with the Whit/Tyler stint. I NEVER believed Whitney’s story. It did not ring true and IF Tyler said it, it was only said to spite her.
    I do not belive Leslie would do such a a thing nor is it possible to make ‘your son fall for a chick just so you can social climb.’ It was laughable from the start.

    I hope Leslie and Bonnie resolved their differences and are BFFs again. They were a fun pair!

  4. why are bonnie and leslie not friends anymore??? what happened??

  5. Shontale- that happened early in season 2. it was over feeling that Leslie wasn’t being completely honest about who she was. they’re friends again now.

  6. jacquie says:

    all I have to say is go to celeberitynetworth.com and you’ll see leslies net worth is 15 million. and this is a legit website with investigators and researchers. Im sure they would know whos phony

  7. @KNOWS THE TRUTH: There’s a nice way to present information and then there’s what you’ve written. All it does is damage your credibility, all I’m saying.. Anyway, shows ARE scripted and also ‘normal’ people wouldn’t interact in the way these people do; So, why should we care.. Just watch for entertainment, right? :)

    P.S.
    For example, in comparison with “The Real Housewives of Orange County”.

  8. Rip Mason CEO of Legal Shield is Leslie’s boyfriend

  9. Leslie Birkland is a total fraud & a gold dugger……
    ASK HERE IF SHE CAN SHOW LEGALL DOCUMENTS.
    She is a total fake and makes money by sucking the live out of old dead rich men.

  10. investigator says:

    yeah i am calling stalker here on her, or faker..worm her way into the elite, one of those scary movie type shows lol, i want to see the houses? the bank balance, proof please lol

  11. I really just think Pam should stop looking down on everyone else. I have never seen people be so bitchy or gossip as much as in this show. Why not leave Leslie alone, IF she turns out to be a fraud I’m sure it would turn up and THEN when she actually has proof better than just Rich Bitch gossip she can get her claws out. And then I’m sure Leslie would be exposed IF the rumors are true. Who is Pam to judge anyone, some kind of god? Ridiculous!

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