The Lauren Conrad Universe

By Karl Taro Greenfeld
The offices of the Paper Crown fashion line are jammed with an MTV film crew as producers walk around in headsets and speak in whispers. The second floor suite in Los Angeles' Westwood neighborhood is decorated with a zebra skin rug, an ornate table with lion's claw feet, and mannequins in half-finished gowns. Reclining on an overstuffed antique sofa is Lauren Conrad—reality TV doyenne, best-selling author, and fashion impresario—in a bright print shirt, high-waisted slacks, and high heels of her own design.
Conrad, who blasted to stardom in MTV's reality series about precocious Orange County teens, Laguna Beach, and its spin-off, The Hills, is embarking on one of the more unusual stunts in the short history of unscripted television. To cement her reputation as a businesswoman, the 24-year old is trying to distance herself from her reality TV alter ego. The chosen vehicle for this transformation? Yes, a new reality show—her third in seven years. Conrad's yet-unnamed series, which will make its debut early this year on MTV, will follow her quest to become so successful as a businesswoman that she has to eventually cancel her show. As her agent, Max Stubblefield, puts it: "Lauren's new businesses will feed on the show—which will feed on the new businesses." Conrad insists she would love "for the cameras to go away. This show is a vehicle to get there. I would love to become a big, natural brand."
Despite being famous for little more than once having been a teenager, Conrad—known as "LC" by her legions of adoring adolescent fans—may already be the millennials' answer to Martha Stewart. She's the author of four best-selling books, including Sugar & Spice, which continues the chronicle of a fictional young woman dealing with the travails of reality stardom. She's coming off a successful campaign as the exclusive spokesperson for Avon's (AVP) Mark cosmetics. Since 2006 she has had endorsement deals with toy company Hasbro (HAS), leather goods maker Linea Pelle, and AT&T (T). Her fashion line for Kohl's (KSS), LC Lauren Conrad, has been a "consistent top performer in our women's category," says Donald A. Brennan, a senior executive vice-president for the retailer. Her slightly more upscale line, the Lauren Conrad Collection, was sold in more than 500 stores before she discontinued it last year to focus on Paper Crown. She's even done her own "Got Milk?" ad.
Unlike many reality stars of her generation, Conrad's public introduction involved neither a sex tape nor a friendship with Paris Hilton. In 2004 she was cast as the star of MTV's alpha-kid show Laguna Beach and wooed fans with her estimable sanity. During five seasons of the show's sequel, The Hills, which followed her as a student at Los Angeles' Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising,Conrad maintained a nearly Churchillian composure in the face of juvenile male behavior and back-stabbing female frenemies. Her constant disappointments in love and her ability to eschew various Hollywood rites of passage—Asian symbol tattoos, collagen lip injections—made her a favored cover girl of women's magazines and a good-girl role model. "She was always going through that relationship saga of trying to find the right guy," says Adam DiVello, creator and executive producer of The Hills. "It was very Carrie Bradshaw."
All along, Conrad's ambition was to leverage her exposure into a miniature lifestyle empire. By 2009, The Hills had become MTV's most successful show, with Sopranos-esque DVD sales of 2 million, a thriving mobile streaming content business, and a deal with iTunes.
MTV also initiated a reverse product-placement scheme in which it offered clothes—similar to the styles Conrad wore on the show—for sale on its SeenON!MTV e-commerce site. That year the site produced $20 million for the network.
Conrad, who made $75,000 an episode, as first reported in In Touch Weekly, says she didn't get a penny of the ancillary revenue and left the show after the 2009 season. She says she also felt restricted by DiVello's decision to edit out the ways in which her rising stardom affected her life. And that, she says, "was a dealbreaker." As a result, her new series will function as a "weekly 30-minute commercial," she says, for the LC brand. To ensure this, Conrad is an executive producer, hoping to capitalize, as Stubblefield puts it, on "more potential upside."
She's also putting her own capital at risk. Conrad has invested "a large amount" in Paper Crown, she says, to retain complete creative control. "This is mine to lose," she says. "I've learned that when you are not your own boss, you always have to meet in the middle." As a designer, Conrad says, she's often reminded that Kohl's target customer exists in, as she puts it, the "broader market." When she was designing the Lauren Conrad Collection, "I didn't always have the final say," she admits, "because someone else was financing it." Perhaps as a result, The New Yorker referred to one of her collections as "sub-Old Navy."
Conrad describes Paper Crown, which launches this year, as "more upstairs" than her previous work. With pieces ranging from $65 to a $390 chiffon wrap dress, Conrad says she's trying to design "very chic, clean pieces that have good fit and good fabrics" to be sold at upscale boutiques. Will consumers shell out nearly $400 for a dress designed by a hopeful soon-to-be-erstwhile reality star? "I'm afraid of failure, always," says Conrad. "There's been many, many times I questioned myself." That said, given the strength of the LC brand, she hopes to see revenue from Paper Crown in about a year.
Conrad's longer-term goal, she says, is to create "my own business in replacement of the partnerships I have." It will be, she predicts, a retail fiefdom encompassing books, clothes, and beauty products. As she ticks them off, the young mogul pauses, having momentarily forgotten something. "Oh yeah," she says, "and a TV show." At least for now.
credit - Karl Taro Greenfeld @
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Click here and here for photos of Lauren & Maura McManus Filming Lauren's New Reality Show
Click here for photos of Lauren & Amy Nadine
Filming Lauren's New Reality Show
Click here and here for photos and a video of Lauren & Gary Samuelian Filming Lauren's New Reality Show

Olivia Palermo Will Launch Her Own Fashion Line on Her New Show

The City alumna Olivia Palermo has a bazillion-page spread inside the new January 2011 issue of Vogue Spain in which she discloses that her own reality show will follow her every move as she—wait for it—launches her own clothing line.
Does this premise for a reality show sound familiar to anyone, Whitney Port? Hey, do you think Kelly Cutrone will mentor Palermo? (Ha ha, just kidding, since we're pretty sure they hate each other's guts.) Anyway, Palermo has been on a media tear lately, landing campaigns for labels such as Mango and walking red carpets all over the world. Whitney Port has, meanwhile, been busy posing in bondage bikinis for Maxim.

Ouch! That was a wee bit harsh in regards to Whit but putting that aside for a minute, Olivia is launching a clothing line!!! I was already excited about her show but now I cannot wait.
Click here to see photos of Olivia in Vogue Spain
Click here to see Olivia's campaign for Mango
credit -
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Brody Jenner & Avril Lavigne: Christmas Shopping in Kingston, Ontario

Avril and Brody were photographed shopping at two strip malls in what was described as “a bed and bath store and a hobby shop” – which sounds like the area around the Riocan Centre on Gardiners Road in the city’s west end.
The couple were first photographed in Canada at the Pearson Airport in Toronto Ontario - click here for photos. It appears they were closely tracked from Toronto all the way to Avril’s mother’s house. Lucky for us The paps were still trailing the couple during their shopping trip (pictured above) the next day.
credit -, tlfan
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Lauren Conrad, Whitney, Audrina & Heidi: The latest scans from Us Weekly

credit - Us Weekly, my scanner
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Avril Lavigne & Brody Jenner: Ready for a Rockin' New Year

Gearing up for an outbound flight, Avril Lavigne and Brody Jenner were spotted with Brody's Mom Linda Thompson at LAX International Airport yesterday (December 27).
The “Sk8er Boi” singer and her “Bromance” boyfriend looked like matching rock stars, both wearing black zip-up hoodies as they strolled past the paparazzi.
Coming up on New Year’s Eve, Avril will debut her new single “What the Hell” with a performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” The song will be available for a free download on January 1st & 2nd as well.
Additionally, Avril’s song “I’m With You” will be featured on Rihanna’s performance of “Cheers (Drink to That).” Lavigne told press, "It was really exciting because 'I'm With You' is one of my favorite songs that I've done, I always love performing it. And I think Rihanna's awesome, she has great songs, she's a really great singer, so yeah I was excited. I think it's really cool."
credit - tlfan, gossip center, thanks for the heads up Katie! : )
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Audrina Patridge: Visits The USO In Alaska

Audrina blogged:
What an amazing weekend!!!
A lot of you heard I was going to be in Alaska this weekend to visit the USO – you heard right!! I had such an amazing time at the US Air Force Reserve in Anchorage, Alaska! I was invited to present the 2010 Summer Solstice/Hero Games award to the winners that had just taken place. I'm so excited to have been given the opportunity to visit our troops away from home. I met so many strong and warm-hearted men and women. It was such a pleasure to be out there!
Check out my pics with members of the US Air Force Reserve, local police officers, local firefighters, other people involved with the event and of course with fans!! To learn more about this wonderful organization visit:
Support Our Troops!
xoxo Audrina

Kristin Cavallari: Backstage At The MuchMusic Video Awards

Kristin Cavallari - backstage at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto, Canada, June 20, 2010
photo credit - tlfan
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Heidi and Spencer To Divorce

Knock us over with a feather. TMZ has learned ... Heidi Montag is so serious about ending her marriage to Spencer Pratt, she's already lawyered up and she has a game plan
We've learned Heidi has picked Jodeane Farrell to handle her divorce and this lawyer isn't playing games ... she's already taking steps to get the quickest divorce possible in California.
Farrell -- who has practiced family law for 24 years and currently handles divorce mediations -- will be setting up a meeting with Heidi and Spencer in approximately two weeks. We're told both Heidi and Spencer want the divorce mediated -- meaning the two will try and hash out a property settlement privately, wait the six months required by California law, and end their marriage.
Heidi wants Farrell to be the mediator, provided Spencer is down with it. Farrell is a longtime friend of the Montag family, but she tells TMZ she doesn't think there will be a problem in mediating the deal.
Farrell plans to meet with Heidi and Spencer together, and if he's on board she'll schedule a meeting with their accountant to go over assets and liabilities.
And Farrell says ... so far things are "very amicable" between Heidi and Spencer.

Geez! Is there no end to the publicity ploys? They are obviously still together. How sad that they are willing to go through with a divorce just so they can make money off of this story and Heidi's new reality show. Pathetic!
credit - TMZ
~Kelli at Hills Freak

Kristin Cavallari & Whitney Port Arriving in Toronto

Spotted: Kristin Cavallari & Whitney Port Toronto for the MuchMusic Awards.
credit -, thanks for the heads up rubi! : )
~Kelli at Hills Freak