Ask any Summer House fan and they’ll tell you that they love Amanda Batula as much for her insanely amazing fashion sense as her relatable late night antics (fried rice, anyone?). Her off-screen devotion to foster dogs scores her bonus points for likability, too. But fan favorite Batula is also the co-founder and creative director of Loverboy, a line of canned hard teas and cocktails, which she founded with her fiancé, Kyle Cooke. We chatted with Batula while she was in Chicago for a recent Loverboy event about what it’s like being a woman in such a male-dominated industry, how she balances work and life, and, of course, those foster pups.

Before you started working for Loverboy, did you have any concerns about working in the male-dominated alcohol industry?

AB: Not initially. I didn’t realize that this was such a male-dominated industry, but I definitely do now. Kyle is on the business side so he’s on more of the business calls, but it’s mostly all men on these calls. Anytime a woman is on the call it’s kind of surprising, unfortunately. And while the industry is male-dominated, what’s interesting is that, with Loverboy specifically and alcohol in general, it’s the women who are buying it. Still, anytime there’s a female-founded alcohol brand, it becomes this whole thing, like it’s something so special—but that should be the norm. There’s still this old school mentality that we really have to turn around.

What kind of challenges have you faced that your co-workers [Cooke and fellow Summer House co-star Carl Radke] haven’t?

AB: I’ve definitely run into some issues with timing and trying to get things done, especially when deadlines come up. They’ll be some kind of issue or roadblock that I’ll try to settle on my own or resolve as best I can, but usually Kyle has to step in. It’s almost like a good cop, bad cop scenario. He’s definitely the one that has to push people to get things done.

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How do you make sure your voice is heard at work?

AB: I’m in an interesting position because the company’s founder is also my fiancé. So when there are issues that I want to bring up or want to make sure my point is being heard, I have no problem letting him know that. And I really put my foot down with the creative side. I’ve made it clear that when it comes to creative and branding, what I say goes.

I’m the target consumer for Loverboy, and I know what women want. I’m a woman creating the product for other women. This is really apparent when it comes to our merch, which sells like crazy. [Editor’s note: Loverboy has sold over a million dollars in merchandise alone.] I basically design things that I’d want to wear. Sure, I’ll listen to what the guys want, but I know that the people buying our merch are mostly women. It’s all so desirable and so coveted, and it just goes to show what happens when you’re a woman that puts your foot down.

Like you mentioned, you and Kyle are not only engaged and planning a wedding, but are also business partners and star in Summer House together. How do you balance all the different facets of your relationship?

AB: We’re past the point of trying to balance things. We decided early on that we weren’t going to have a relationship that was separate from the business. So it’s all combined and blurred together, and we just try and work on things in the moment.

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How do you handle balancing the inevitable partying and socializing that go along with working for Loverboy and being a Bravo star, along with having a personal life?

AB: You really just have to roll with the punches. Honestly, the drinking and the going out and seeing fans, it’s almost like a little vacation. Everything is so different but we get to experience so much. That being said, it can be mentally challenging and there are times when I do hit a wall. Sometimes I just have to sit at home and turn on Bravo and cuddle a dog and totally disconnect.

I’ve also tried to find things that really make me happy. Fostering is a great example. It makes me so happy, and just relying on little moments like that really helps me power through the difficult days of hard work. And on the flip side, sometimes work is a really good distraction. We just adopted out all of our foster puppies right before we left for this trip, and honestly, if we weren’t here, I’d probably be crying in our apartment right now.

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