updated 10/05/2010 AT 9:05 AM ET
•originally published 10/05/2010 AT 7:00 AM ET
She swore she’d never touch her infamous pucker again, but on Aug. 26, Lisa Rinna did just that – surgically reducing the size of her upper lip.
“My lips started to define who I am,” Rinna, 47, tells PEOPLE about why she decided to undergo the procedure. “That bothered me.”
Public reaction to her plastic surgery confession last year also upset her. After finally admitting that in 1986 she had silicone injected into her upper lip – an impulsive decision she made with a girlfriend and likens to getting a tattoo – Rinna says, “I took a big hit for being honest. It gave everyone online permission to lambaste me. It hurt my feelings.”
Now, the star of TVLand’s upcoming reality show Harry Loves Lisa (with husband Harry Hamlin) – as well as the author of the new novel Starlit – is ready to keep a stiff upper lip about her new upper lip. “It doesn’t matter what other people think,” she says. “I did it for myself.”
As a result of the procedure, she says, rather than feeling “bumpy and uneven my lip has no lumps! It’s smooth.”
But her mouth is still swollen from the procedure and will require six months to heal fully. “It’s a work in progress,” admits Rinna, “but I feel fantastic.”