The Hills spinoff The City - premiering tonight on MTV - "documents" Whitney Port's new job, BF, and life in the city. As per the format, the lines between reality and reality TV are blurred.
It's hard to tell what exactly is contrived and what's the real deal, but that doesn't stop people from trying. Today, the New York Post reveals that Whitney's day job on the show-doing in house PR for Diane Von Furstenberg-is fake, with one source saying "She doesn't really work. She is hardly ever in the office." And that comes as no surprise, given Whitney's employment history on The Hills, "stylink" at Teen Vogue, and PR at People's Revolution, when in real life, she's actually designed her line of clothing Eve & A.
In The Hills episode that sets up the premise for Whitney's spinoff, she's alerted to an opening at DVF through Kelly Cutrone, her boss at People's Revolution, and while she's in NYC on business, she goes to a bar and meets a musician who will be her love interest on her own show. Perfect coincidence or perfect casting? It all seemed too perfectly suited for tripod camera-captured moments to actually be real moments.
However, Cutrone insists to New York magazine (in a very lengthy new article about the show) that Whitney was a "very real" employee at People's Revolution, and that she played no part in MTV's machinations in inventing a new ingenue. "It wasn't like I did all that for Whitney thinking she'd get her own show," she says. "It's not like I'm in secret cahoots with DVF here. I mean, I don't even represent her." However, New York notes that Cutrone is currently pitching her own show about her own life with the working title Kell on Earth. So is everyone just playing along with this manufactured reality in order to achieve the new Paris Hiltion-esque American dream of creating a career out of participatory self-exploitation?
As for what's real and what's fake, it looks like Whitney's relationship with Jay Lyon, the Australian musician, is indeed for real. And that's weird for a number of reasons because she's reportedly been dating similarly named E! News' Ben Lyons for a while now.
As for whether or not she's even really living in NYC, that's up in the air. She tells New York, "I'm living in either midtown or the Gramercy area-I don't really know, to be perfectly honest. I'm in a tall building, way up high." Who doesn't know what neighborhood they live in? And as for the "supporting cast," well, they consist of the usual suspects of NYC's climber-y circle, namely Olivia Palermo, a self-professed socialite who told producers she wanted to be on the show "because I want to be a brand." Ew. Olivia was originally supposed to be featured on a different show about glamorous NYC twentysomethings pitched by Devorah Rose, who made a memorable appearance on the reality show The Fashionista Diaries.
To sum it up, Whitney says of The City and its cast: "It's a really wonderful opportunity for all these kids," recognizing that her "reality" is less of a life, and more of a vehicle. However, it may be one that's stalled. The most recent Hills season finale (which aired December 22) averaged 2.6 million total viewers, down from 3.8 million for the previous season finale. Maybe viewers finally realized that in order to follow the lives of these people, Us Weekly is a much more accurate source. And how fucked up is it that we just referred to a tabloid as being more accurate than what's captured on tape?
Run for the Hills [NY Mag]
Holidays Hurt "Hills" As Finale Ratings Fall [Reuters]
HARD LABOR [NY Post]
Whitney Port talks 'The City,' and drops a major 'Hills' scoop! [EW]
Earlier: 'The Fashionista Diaries': Devora Rose Gives Mandie "Cunt Face" Erickson A Run For Her Money