The real reason Lauren Conrad is not returning for The Hills: New Beginnings
Lauren Conrad’s boss at Teen Vogue was wrong: The reality TV alum wouldn’t always be known as “the girl who didn’t go to Paris.” Instead, she’d take on the new title of “the girl who didn’t appear on The Hills reboot.” Although Conrad was the driving force behind MTV’s Laguna Beach spin-off, the former television personality was noticeably absent when the network announced its revival series, The Hills: New Beginnings. Sure, we’ve got Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, but what the heck are we supposed to watch if they’re not feuding with LC?
That said, true fans of the series aren’t shocked that Conrad isn’t returning. The former MTV star has been trying to distance herself from her reality TV past for a decade — ever since she walked out of Speidi’s church wedding, hopped into a cab, stared at the blank page before her, opened up the dirty window, and rode off into a future that truthfully was still unwritten (unlike her covertly-scripted series). Here are the real reasons Lauren Conrad won’t be coming back for The Hills reboot.
Lauren Conrad's too busy being an internet lifestyle guru
During her reality TV days, Lauren Conrad built a brand as a girl’s girl who would always dole out life-affirming advice to her besties. Let’s never forget the time she quipped at Audrina Patridge over her Justin Bobby drama: “Homeboy wore combat boots on the beach. I know you don’t want to call that your boyfriend.” No truer words have ever been spoken.
In her life post-Hills, the boss babe capitalized on her extraordinary talent for advice-giving by launching two lifestyle websites. LaurenConrad.com positioned the star as an even less controversial Martha Stewart (since she hasn’t been to jail). The site features a variety of home decor, fashion, and party-planning tips with plenty of gorgeous recipes. Everything is promoted to her more than 6.1 million followers on her rose-hued Instagram account, which The Huffington Post once called “the best Instagram account ever.”
Conrad’s second website, The Beauty Department, was co-founded with her makeup artist, Amy Nadine, and her hairstylist, Kristin Ess (you might recognize Ess from her Target line). The group shares makeup tips and hairstyling tutorials, though Conrad is no longer listed on the site’s about page, so it’s unclear if she has the same stake in it that she did in 2011. Realistically, LaurenConrad.com is more than enough to keep the star busy.
Lauren Conrad was fed up with the manufactured drama
Lauren Conrad came up in the golden era of reality TV — back when Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie pretended to be absolutely inept at basic household chores and the horrifically damaging premise of The Swan was something FOX actually greenlit. In the early aughts, there was still some inkling that reality TV might actually be reality. Of course, that was never the case, and MTV‘s manufactured drama drove LC away from her famed series.
In a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times (via Refinery29), Conrad admitted that her departure was a “long time coming,” partly because MTV put the cast members in “situations we didn’t want to be in” and she was fed up. The most egregious example of this was Conrad’s epic fight with Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, whom she accused of spreading rumors about her having a sex tape. The fight basically drove the series through its latter three seasons and led us to the epic “I want to forgive you and I want to forget you” moment, which should probably be hung in the Louvre if only for its pure artistry.
According to The Washington Post, a Hills anniversary special revealed that the infamous fight scene was scripted, and Conrad was not happy about producers staging an epic blowout (which was still painful for her because she’s a real person with real feelings). It makes sense that she wouldn’t want that drama in 2019.
MTV messed up her fashion line launch
Conrad has every reason to be sour about The Hills: New Beginnings because MTV already had its chance for a spin-off with the star but cancelled the series at the 11th hour. Following the series finale of The Hills, LC and MTV teamed up to create a reality show focused on the launch of Conrad’s clothing line, Paper Crown. The star even filmed a pilot before the network squashed the project in 2011, the same year as the Paper Crown launch, telling Entertainment Weekly that it “just didn’t feel like a perfect fit.”
In an op-ed in Forbes, Conrad admitted that the failed series messed up her plans to promote her budding line. “When it was decided we would not be moving forward with the project, we were faced with the challenge of providing our own publicity for Paper Crown in a short amount of time,” she said. Thankfully, it all worked out for LC. The star obviously didn’t need a series for promotion because she spent enough time getting yelled at by Kelly Cutrone to have at least some sort of a grasp on fashion PR. That first year, her sales exceeded expectations, and Paper Crown landed a contact with Nordstrom. She even had a pop-up shop at Lord & Taylor’s NYC location in 2017.
Lauren Conrad's Kohl's line won't design itself
There are some early aughts TV moments permanently etched into our memory: Marissa Cooper being carried out of a flaming car wreck on The O.C.; everyone in Lost realizing they’re actually dead; and Lauren Conrad walking out of Heidi Montag’s wedding in a bright blue dress at the end of The Hills Season 5. The same year, Conrad launched a partnership with mega-retailer Kohl’s and never looked back.
According to AdWeek, the former reality star’s line, dubbed LC Lauren Conrad, rolled out in 300 Kohl’s stores in October 2009. It eventually expanded to 1,200 locations with the addition of shoes, decor, jewelry and a co-branded Disney collection. Today, a decade after the initial launch, Conrad is reportedly so busy working with the retailer that The Hills: New Beginnings had to go on the back burner. “Lauren is concentrating right now on her Kohl’s line and her charity work, which she is very passionate about,” an insider told E! News. “She is the head designer of her Kohl’s line and has worked with them for 10 years, causing her to fly cross-country several times a month for her work.”
Conrad’s old role has been more or less recast by actress Mischa Barton, whom most of us still know as Marissa Cooper from The O.C. – may various Hollywood incarnations of Orange County collide.
Lauren Conrad is hyper-focused on charity work
An insider who spoke to E! News claimed Lauren Conrad skipped out on The Hills reboot because she was focusing on her Kohl’s line and her charity work, so what is her charity work? The star recently launched a brick-and-mortar shop for her nonprofit the Little Market. In 2013, Conrad teamed up with her friend, human rights activist Hannah Skvarlass, to launch an e-commerce business that sells handmade, fair-trade, ethically sourced goods from artisans around the world. At the launch, Little Market only worked with eight artisans in five countries, but the organization has since expanded its reach to include 69 artisans from 28 different countries.
“We traveled to Uganda and Tanzania to visit charities focused on helping women and children. It was life changing — and that’s where we decided to bring together our passion for empowering women and discovering one-of-a-kind handmade items,” Conrad told Bumble.
Though Little Market began online, Skvarlass wanted a physical storefront from the start. According to Fashionista, the pair finally took the plunge in 2018, opening a brick-and-mortar store in Palisades Village, a retail development helmed by billionaire developer Rick Caruso. Caruso is responsible for some of California’s most profitable shopping developments, including trendy L.A. hangout The Grove. Needless to say, Conrad’s got her hands full with this massive opportunity.
From The Hills to podcastland
Considering Lauren Conrad’s stance on the way MTV manipulated her reality, it’s not surprising that the star would want to launch a podcast of her own where she could directly connect with her fans and write her own narrative. Who needs to star in a reality TV show reboot when you’re already spilling your guts to the masses on your own terms?
Since Conrad is a business-savvy queen, the star absolutely capitalized on the buzz surrounding The Hills: New Beginnings and announced her podcast, Asking for a Friend, a month before the series was set to premiere. Unlike Laguna Beach, which was fueled by the unending stream of tears from a select group of highly dramatic high school-aged Californians, Conrad’s podcast is actually dedicated to making people’s lives better — not worse. According to podcast network Cadence13 (via Entertainment Weekly), LC’s podcast aims to help listeners “navigate and lead happy, healthy, confident and balanced lives, both personal and professional.” Each week, she intends to share tips and tricks about everything from relationships and wellness to beauty and parenting.
Lauren Conrad is a New York Times best seller
The year following Lauren Conrad’s MTV exit was transformative for the entrepreneur. Most of us forget that she went from being a reality star whose most embarrassing arguments were broadcast to millions to a legitimate best-selling author when she released her first YA novel, L.A. Candy. Why on earth would she want to backslide via a reboot? The stigma associated with reality TV is absolutely real, as unwarranted as it might be. How many times have you balked at a reality star’s best-selling memoir and automatically assumed it was ghostwritten by someone else? Consider Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, who published a novel a mere year after telling The New York Times that she had only ever read two books in her life.
Conrad is no Snooki (as much as we love the little meatball and her best-selling book). LC has built a massive career as an author and landed on The New York Times Best Seller list. According to GoodReads, she has 16 different titles, including L.A. Candy’s foreign translation, and she reportedly puts a lot of effort into promoting her work. Conrad told Forbes that she has met “thousands of fans” through her litany of book tours and personal appearances.
Lauren Conrad is enjoying every moment of being a mom
Being on reality TV is one thing. Being on reality TV when you’re pregnant is a whole different ball game. It’s not necessarily shocking that Lauren Conrad didn’t want to return for MTV’s reboot of The Hills, considering she’s expecting her second child with husband William Tell, whom she married in 2014. Even her co-stars had her back on that one. Whitney Port, who does appear in the reboot, told Entertainment Weekly, “I think she’s probably just feeling like, I don’t know, she’s about to have a baby, wants some quiet time at home. Hopefully, she’ll watch and be entertained by it.”
Conrad announced her pregnancy in April 2019 with a bright, flowery Instagram post. On top of preparing her life for a brand new child, she’s already a busy mom with a 2-year-old son, and she’s trying her best to absorb every single moment. “Seeing how fast they change, you realize it’s so important not to miss anything. It almost makes it harder to leave them.” she told People. It sentiment suggests Conrad is choosing her projects wisely in order to prioritize time with her family.
LC's castmates don't want her to return to The Hills
Lauren Conrad was arguably the most likeable person on The Hills, at least if you’re comparing her to Spencer Pratt, who admittedly cast himself as a crystal-wielding villain with a flesh-colored beard. Despite her audience likability, LC certainly didn’t make a lot of friends within the series. In fact, her former BFFs are reportedly glad she’s not returning for the revival. (Honestly, why would she want to appear in a reboot if her high school pals have no qualms about telling the press they’re glad she skipped out?)
Case in point: Pratt’s wifey, Heidi Montag, is apparently glad she won’t have to share the spotlight with her old pal this time around. “I actually was kind of excited Lauren wasn’t on it because I felt like it was more freeing and fair, like, for me,” she told Good Morning America.
Audrina Patridge, who regularly cried on Conrad’s shoulder about Justin Bobby and his grease-tinged haircut, agreed. “Without Lauren, like, she was always the one — she’s the leader, the one that would tell you what to do, what not to do,” she told Good Morning America. “So now it’s kinda like we all get … you kinda get to make your own choices and be your own self.”
Are these ladies forgetting they already did have a season without LC?
Whitney Port tried to convince Lauren Conrad to return
Not all of Lauren Conrad’s castmates want her to steer clear of the MTV reboot. Whitney Port, who will forever be remembered for her cringe-inducing tumble while modeling for Teen Vogue during Good Morning America, really wanted her old friend to return to MTV. She even went as far as trying to convince LC to return to the series. “I have tried to convince Lauren through people. I haven’t gotten directly to her, but I recently spoke to one of her friends and I was like, ‘Tell her to do it,'” Port told The Hollywood Reporter. “Who knows? Maybe she’ll say yes in the future. I feel like the door’s always open.”
Port and Conrad always seemed pretty solid, and their relationship was basically devoid of drama, which is shocking, considering every other relationship on the entire series was rife with it. As much as Port wanted her old friend by her side for The Hills: New Beginnings, Port understood the reasons why Conrad would want to stay away. “Most of us have young families and everybody needs to protect their families in the way they feel is right. I don’t judge Lauren for not wanting to do it,” The City star told The Hollywood Reporter.
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