Remember when Kristin Cavallari and Lauren Conrad played tug-of-war with pretty boy Stephen Colletti's affections on MTV's “reality” series Laguna Beach? Cavallari, 22, now steps into the heels abandoned by Conrad as the new star of The Hills, the network's more glamorous and unrealistic Laguna spin-off, which kicks off its sixth season September 29. Though no stranger to drama, the actress called us a few days before the premiere to reveal that her real world is actually much gentler and gay-friendlier than what MTV's cameras capture.
By Brandon Voss
Advocate.com: I’ve been looking forward to our chat because you’re not one of those guarded, overly media-trained girls who give safe, boring answers in interviews. You rarely hold back and always tell it like it is.
Kristin Cavallari: I can’t really censor myself because it’s too exhausting for me. It’s way too difficult to be something that you’re not. This is who I am — if you like it, great; if you don’t, fine. That’s how I go through life. When it comes to interviews, there are certain things in my personal life that I don’t talk about, but everything else I don’t really mind.
The promos for the new season of The Hills introduce you with the tagline “The bitch is back.” I knew they were going to portray you as a bitch, but they aren’t trying to be subtle about it, are they?
No, they really aren’t. I honestly think it’s funny. What’s interesting to me is that on Laguna Beachsomeone was trying to steal my boyfriend, but now I’m the bitch? It’s interesting how they’ve turned that around. But I think the reason people say I’m a bitch is because I’m very honest and I have a really strong personality, and that intimidates a lot of people. So it’s easy to just slap the “bitch” label on me.
The paparazzi and tabloid attention will likely only get more intense once The Hills heats up again. The way I see it, you can either make the most of the exposure, like "Speidi," or have a Britney-style breakdown. How are you handling it?
You can’t take it too seriously. You have to laugh about it and not stress about what people think or you will go crazy. First of all, I don’t even know how they come up with the shit that’s in the tabloids. No matter what you do, you can’t please everybody, and not everyone’s going to like you.
Do you read the gossip blogs?
I’ll look at them every once in a while, but I’m trying to make myself stop. But even if you don’t look at them, you hear about everything anyway because you have 20 people telling you what they say about you.
I’ll admit I got excited earlier this month when I heard the rumor that you were secretly dating John Mayer.
I just thought it was funny. I met him once for five minutes, so it’s like, “Oh, we’ve been dating for two years? Really?” He is very good-looking, but I don’t need people thinking I’m another girl he’s gotten.
Should people stop whining about how staged The Hills is and start watching it the same way they watch Melrose Place or 90210?
I just don’t understand why people care so much. It’s a TV show. No one has an issue with Melrose Place not being like real life. I really don’t see the difference.
In my opinion, the most unbelievable thing about the show is that there aren’t more gay people on it.
I know, and I wish there were. I mean, we’re in West Hollywood all the time, so come on. I definitely have a lot of gays in my life, but I don’t necessarily have much say on who gets on the show. Sometimes I can have a couple friends come with me when we’re filming group things, but I don’t really get to film with whoever I want. But I hear you, and I’ll see what I can do about that.
Who’s your gay BFF?
Jack [Ketsoyan] is my best friend and my publicist, which is great. We’ve been working together a long time. And the guy who colors my hair, Justin Anderson, is also gay and one of my favorite people.
FoxNews.com ran a gossip item last year that you were drunkenly asking a girl to make out with you at a party. Are you totally a three-beer bisexual?
That’s funny. I don’t think I heard about that one. I’ve definitely made out with girls before, but it was more of a high school thing. I don’t think I would ever do that now. But if I see a girl I think is really pretty, I’ll tell her, “Hey, I think you’re hot.” But that’s about it.
The Hills could also use more girl-on-girl action.
Listen, the producers would probably eat that shit up. They’d love it. [Laughs] I’ll see what I can do for you about that too.
Which girl on the show are you most likely to drunkenly smooch?
Stacie the bartender.
We know from previews that you do kiss Audrina Patridge’s ex, Justin-Bobby Brescia. What are viewers supposed to believe that you see in him? His impeccable personal hygiene and sexy jean shorts?
[Laughs] I know, right? I’d met Justin maybe once or twice over the years, but I’d never actually had a conversation with him. So when I actually sat down and had a drink with him, I have to tell you, honestly, that I was impressed with him. Because I’d only heard about what everyone else thinks about him, but he’s actually a good guy. You’ll see it on the show, but he’s not as bad as everyone makes him out to be.
Did Lauren make any gesture as a symbol of her passing on the torch to you? Maybe some parting wisdom, flowers, a brief e-mail, or a quick text?
No. Nothing. It surprises me a little bit just because Lauren and I have put everything behind us. We’ve actually hung out a few times and had a lot of fun together.
Isn’t it odd that she walked away from the show but is still everywhere you look? I mean, what was she doing presenting at the VMAs?
I love you. [Laughs] Yeah, I thought it was interesting that she was at the VMAs too.
Lauren wrote a novel, L.A. Candy, loosely inspired by her own experiences. When you’re inevitably asked to write one, what will your book be about?
Oh, God. I have no plans to do a book anytime soon — if I ever even do one — but if I did, I would probably give all the dirty details of what was really going on behind the scenes, who was really hooking up with who, and all that good juicy stuff.
You’re an aspiring actress last seen opposite Mean Girls star — and friend of Kathy Griffin — Jonathan Bennett in the direct-to-DVD comedy Van Wilder: Freshman Year, but I’ve read that we won’t see that part of your life on The Hills. Will you have a fake occupation?
I’m the only one who doesn’t work on the show. I really wanted them to follow me on auditions, but they didn’t think that was glamorous enough, so they didn’t want to put it on the show. I guess seeing me out there working and probably getting turned down about 85% of the time isn’t really what people want to see.
You also played one of the Sevens, a mean girl clique in Rachel Dratch’s Spring Breakdown. Rachel told me that the gay director, Ryan Shiraki, was super excited to work with you.
God, that movie was so much fun. Ryan had so much energy and everyone was so cool. It was the most relaxed set. We were at the beach every day, so it really felt like spring break. It was the most amazing experience ever. I absolutely love Amy Poehler, and I remember shooting this one scene with her and thinking, This is crazy — I’m filming a movie with Amy Poehler! We’d do a scene as it was written in the script, but for the last take she would basically do whatever the hell she wanted, so it was awesome to watch how she works.
You also played a lesbian cheerleader who was blackmailing Neptune High’s other closeted gay teens on a 2006 episode of Veronica Mars.
That was actually the first acting thing that I ever did and I was really excited about it. I remember my dad definitely thought it was cool.
As a part of Young Hollywood, do you think it’s still necessary for up-and-coming gay actors to stay in the closet?
No, it’s so ridiculous. I grew up with someone in high school who was gay and Mormon, so I can understand how coming out would be difficult with a family situation like that. But everyone’s gay in L.A., and I don’t see anyone being judged for that here. Why hide who you are? I have an actor friend that I’ve been encouraging to come out. I know he’s thinking about it, so it might happen soon.
OK, let’s wrap up with a lightning round. Where will you be watching The Hills premiere?
We’re having a party at the London Hotel in West Hollywood.
You played the sexy love interest in music videos for Teddy Geiger and Gavin DeGraw. In which artist’s video would you like to appear next?
Kings of Leon.
Will you download Heidi Montag’s album on iTunes?
I actually already have a couple of her songs on my iPod, so maybe.
Would you ever pose for Playboy like Heidi?
They’ve asked me to and I’ve turned it down. I also turned down the cover of Maxim, but I did give Playboy some thought because they actually asked me to do it with no nudity. But I just feel like now is not the right time.
What do you think of Stephanie Pratt’s new lips?
Which cosmetic surgery would you most like to get?
Any plastic surgery scares me. I mean, obviously there are things about myself that I don’t like, but I could never have a needle coming at my lips or anything like that. It freaks me out. I’d also be too scared that they would mess up and make it worse than it was.
Finally, did you see Audrina in Sorority Row?
Advocate.com, September 2009.