“You know, I always say, it’s kind of like college. You go through this crazy thing together and you’re so close at the time but, obviously, life changes”
If you’re currently aged anywhere between 25 and 40 chances are, a decade ago you revelled in two of the world’s first (and most popular) ‘reality’ shows The Hills and The City. Both produced by MTV they starred young Californian guys and girls living an enviable life of parties, dating and fashion. Well before the Kardashian era, this was one of the first times we were fly-on-the-wall spectators into the lives of charmed, but otherwise normal, people.
Starring alongside Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge and Heidi Montag was the warm-hearted, girl-next-door Whitney Port. While she was the ingenue break-out star ofThe Hills, it was The City that saw her become the leading lady. First airing 10 years ago,The City followed Port’s move from LA to New York City to follow her fashion dreams. Her most notable job placings being with fashion superstar Diane Von Furstenburg, with Kelly Cutrone’s PR business People’s Revolution and as an assistant at Elle Magazine US. It was also The City that set socialite Olivia Palermo’s star rising, appearing as Port’s snappy, but immaculately dressed, work nemesis.
Since those days, Port has established herself as a successful business woman, running her own fashion label Whitney Eve and most recently becoming a warts-and-all YouTube storyteller for the modern mum in ‘I Love My Baby, But…’ after having her son Sonny in July of last year.
Residing back in LA with Sonny and husband Tim Rosenman, GRAZIA talked exclusively to the star (who now rocks a super-chic lob haircut) about how life has changed and what advice she would give herself if she went through it all again tomorrow.
GRAZIA: It’s been 12 years since The Hills and now 10 years since The City. Can you believe it?
“I know, it’s been so long. But also I can believe it because so much has happened.”
It probably feels like it’s gone by in flash in some ways, but in others like so much has changed?
“Yes. I mean everyone has grown up so much, we’ve all got families, and careers and had babies. I mean it seems to me that everyone has really flourished. It’s really nice to see.”
It’s amazing how people can change so much. Do you stay in touch with any of your cast members?
“I don’t. You know, I always say, it’s kind of like college. You go through this crazy thing together and you’re so close at the time but obviously life changes and, yeah, we’ve all gone on our separate paths. It’s not that we’re different people, it’s just we’re doing different things and everyone has just spread out. No one’s really in the same city anymore, so we just live our own lives now.”
Do you look back on both The Hills and The City with fond memories?
“Of course! It was such an amazing time in our lives. There were so many amazing things I got to do and people I got to work with and cities I got to travel to. Yes, it was such a wonderful experience and I have to thank it for so much of where I’m at today.”
The Hills and The City paved the way for many reality shows now, but they were perceived quite differently back then. How do you feel about reality TV now?
“I have to admit I love reality TV, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine.
I think there is an aspect of entertainment that’s really fun and the people on these kinds of shows are getting so much out of it and having fun with it. I don’t begrudge anyone for that, I just think that, I don’t know, I don’t have a strong opinion about reality TV these days other than I just think that it can be really fun to watch. I don’t look at it as a reflection on society.”
Since becoming a mum, do you have a new perspective on the show and your life back then?
“Yes of course, I mean my life changed a lot regardless [of having a baby] because when I was the show I was 20 and now I’m over 30. So it’s just like anybody’s life, I’ve become an adult and my priorities have changed. What was once important to me isn’t as important now. Right now, family comes first and my career is obviously second.
Back then I think it was more just about having fun and being in the moment. Now I have to be a little bit more responsible! So, yeah how I view the world and my place in it has definitely changed a lot.”
Your video series ‘I Love My Baby, But…’ is a refreshingly honest take on motherhood. What made you decide to start it? And has it been well received by other moms?
“Yes it has. I mean, I was very afraid at first because initially I titled it ‘I Love My Baby, But I Hate My Pregnancy’ and I was very worried that the word ‘hate’ was going to be polarising, for a lot of people. There’d be a lot of women out there that would think ‘wow, you’re just so lucky to even be pregnant, this isn’t right or thoughtful’, but honestly the majority of responses I’ve gotten back have been that it’s very refreshing. It’s been a really supportive community. Not only for the people following it, but also for me, to know I’m not alone.”
The videos are very real, often showing you at home, doing day-to-day mum things. Is it important for you to show that all mums go through the same things?
“I think it’s all about showing both angles. There’s the little details, like what I feed [Sonny] or how many times he naps or what his sleep schedule is….things I put out there that could seem a bit boring but is at the forefront of so many people’s brains every day. I think it’s important to not overlook the small details of someone’s life. But it’s also about showing the glamorous things too. My life is all about polar opposites. Today I could be running errands and going to Target then tomorrow I could be doing a photo shoot or flying to New York for an event. Life can be all of those things.”
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
“I don’t really think it’s changed, I just think that the amount of time I spend getting dressed up is less! I’ve always been a comfort kind of girl, you know, I’m from California! Jeans and t-shirt are kind of my uniform. But I’m definitely just in sweats more often just because there are a lot of days out of the week where I’m just at home with the baby or running errands. But I still do love fashion, and love to take risks, which is I think is okay to do as mum! It doesn’t have to change. When I do get to get dressed up now, I love it so much more, whereas before it was sometimes a hassle.”
Can you tell us what labels you’re loving right now?
How will you feel if Sonny follows your footsteps into show business?
“Um (laughs) I mean he’s so young it’s hard to even think about! Honestly I will support whatever he wants to do. It obviously depends on the angle but as long as he’s a happy person and has a good head on his shoulders and has good character, I’m happy for him.”
If you could go back to that time now and give your 20-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
“I think I would just tell myself to slow down. To really take in all the moments and all the things I was getting to do. Life moves so fast when you’re in that environment.
So many cool things are happening, you’re not really present for them. I would just tell myself to really be in the moment and realise how lucky I am. And to keep a journal! My mom always told me to keep a journal and I really should have! It would have been so much fun to read from when I was 25 years old on TV.”