On MTV's reality TV show The Hills, gorgeous Teen Vogue intern Lauren Conrad and her well-heeled friends laugh, bicker, wear fabulous clothes and hang out in L.A. hot spots, all with the cameras following them.
The girls themselves â€" and the show's executive producer â€" recently dished to TV Guide on how the heck they afford those awesome digs, how often they get a break from the cameras and just how real the reality TV series is.
Q: Once and for all, is the show staged?
A: Yes and no. "Who I am on the show is who I am in real life," Audrina Patridge says. "What you see is what you get." But it wasn't a coincidence that enemies Lauren and Heidi Montag went to the trendy restaurant Ketchup on the same night. "Lauren and Jason Wahler were going there, and Heidi and Spencer Pratt wanted to celebrate their anniversary," says executive producer Adam DiVello. "Ketchup was one of the spots Spencer wanted to go to, so it just sort of worked out... it is a little fake."
Q: How do Lauren Conrad and Audrina Patridge afford that apartment?
A: We have no idea. MTV won't name the complex (it's not really Hillside Villas) because if people find out, they camp out waiting to see Audrina and LC. But a two-bedroom pad in that area costs about $3,000 a month. Audrina works part-time at Epic Records and Lauren is an intern at Teen Vogue. Do the math.
Q: Do Lauren and Audrina have a standing reservation at Les Deux?
A: No, but they're friends with the promoters and owners, so they know they will always be whisked past the velvet rope. Plus, the other clubgoers seem to have gotten used to seeing the cast there all the time, so the camera crews can go about their business pretty much unbothered. "It's like a home away from home," Audrina says. If your home always has a fully stocked bar, that is.
Q: How long do the girls have cameras with them each day?
A: Sometimes hours, sometimes not at all. Monday and Tuesday are their days off. "We don't have a set schedule," Audrina says. "It depends on what's going on." At the beginning of each week, the girls speak with producers about their plans. "I hate to say we schedule their lives, but we schedule what we want to cover," DiVello says. So if they are going on a date or to Les Deux, the MTV crews tag along. But if they're bumming around the house solo, the cameras probably skip it.
Q: The girls are always dressed to the nines and look as though they just stepped out of the salon. Does the show provide wardrobe, hair and makeup?
A: Nope, the girls are responsible for how they look. "That's partly why it's reality," Audrina Patridge says. But she does admit she always wears makeup and tries to dress "halfway decent" when the cameras are rolling.
Q: Is Heidi and Spencer's relationship a sham?
A: Not according to DiVello. "They're very much in love when I see them," he says. "They're a real couple and definitely engaged. It's not staged for the sake of our show. If they've got something else going on, we've yet to see it."