The Hills, the insanely popular MTV docu-drama which follows thepastel-hued lives of Lauren, Heidi, Whitney and Audrina, is a show thatfor the past few seasons has remained a safe, arm's-length distanceaway from our reality. That is until this season, when Whitney andLauren landed jobs working for longtime PAPER friend Kelly Cutrone, whohelms fashion PR house People's Revolution. As Whitney and Lauren's nononsense, clad in all black, oft-frazzled boss, Kelly is a refreshingantidote to their former, much more reserved Teen Vogue boss-ladyLisa Love. Kelly, along with her partners Emily Bungert and RobynBerkley, were nice enough to chat with us about what it's like livingand witnessing the reality TV life.
Alexis Swerdloff: How have things changed since you guysstarted the show?
Emily Bungert: My life hasn't changed much except that I havegotten tons of emails from people, fans of the show, people I neverwould have expected to watch it. People in PR, from magazines, in theindustry -- not teenagers.
Robyn Berkley: I was at a very pop culture, magazine party twoweeks ago and I was hardly on the last episodes and people were like,"Oh my god I saw you on The Hills, you were really great!"
Kelly Cutrone: I have gotten a lot of emails -- the firstperson I ever had sex with emailed me and one of my oldest drinkingbuddies. It's been like Facebook times a million. I was at the grocerystore yesterday and these girls were like "People's Revolution is here!"We've been getting crank calls, "Hi it's so and so from TeenVogue..." Sometimes I get on the phone just for fun and say, "Hi, Iknow you're full of shit" and they scream, "ahh!" and hang up.
AS: Why do you think The Hills is so hugely, hugelypopular?
KC: I think it's popular with people either because a) theydream of having a life like that or b) they have a life like that.People are either watching their day being reflected or it's youngpeople and their moms who get to watch four really beautiful youngwomen. In a world filled with a ton of violence, watching a show wherethe biggest drama is a curling iron burning an Albert Ferretti dress,it's kind of like Valium. Also, we work in PR and are communicators andthis is an interesting form of communication. And it's not like we'rethe center of it, we're a backdrop for all these young, beautiful girls.
EB: It's strangely addicting, I don't understand why. You justget sucked in...
AS: On a scale of 1-10, how truthful is what we see ontelevision?
KC: 10! I can only talk about the parts that they film withus, but it's totally unscripted. There's always some sort of drama here,so we don't have to make that up. MTV is really happy about our agency-- it's full of things going on. It's like, um, OK, we have anopportunity to go to Coachella to film a Jeremy Scott party at FrankSinatra's house. That's just how we roll. We'd never be involved in ascripted show. MTV definitely works with us and sometimes we throw thegirls in more intense situations than we'd throw another intern into.But they have the experience and I was surprised at how high their skillsets were. I shot Whitney a sheet of paper with a model lineup, nevertold her how to do a model lineup -- like what to do if there are twogirls named Tatiana -- and she did it and I was pretty impressed.
RB: I've worked with both Lauren and Whitney and they canactually adjust themselves to situations. To call models for a fashionshow and not to freak out is hard -- both of them did a pretty good job.
EB: Whitney has a lot of great confidence, which I liked. Whenwe had her work at the Sass & Bide show, she was able to take command incertain ways and wasn't afraid to yell for the models and make surethings are happening.
KC: It's actually a real bonus having them work here. Lastweek, we were having a staff meeting, and we were talking about RobinAntin's show and Whitney says, well, why don't we use her Pussycat Dollsconnections to do celebrity outreach. It was a very simple idea, buthere is this girl, in the second week on the job, in a meeting likethat, it takes a lot of balls to speak up -- Oh my god, Joan Jett justconfirmed me on Facebook!
AS: Ah, exciting! Does it bother you at all that you're a bitvillainized and made to look really scary?
KC: People's Revolution is not a Zen place filled withdaffodils. We, as partners, are a very transparent agency. We're girlsthat have black hair and wear all black. You don't have to guess what'sgoing on with us. You know... we're super hard working, our hours are sick.We're like a very good private school, but more like Little Red thanBrearley. We're actually teaching people a craft, and it's a combinationof setting the bar of expectation really high, correcting them when theydo something wrong and thanking and encouraging them when they dosomething brilliant. And you know, people love to hate. I'm used to it-- I have black hair and I wear no makeup, people always think I'mbitchy.
AS: When the cameras start rolling, how do you adjust?
KC: We kind of have to downplay our real selves. Today forexample, we had a meeting at Casio. The assistants don't have the rightstuff, so we're yelling at them, I'm securing everything with apaperclip and wondering whether we want a jumbo-clip or a cute littlepaperclip. We're in this Ford Explorer with a bumper sticker that says"Proud to be a Sioux" (and I'm not a Sioux) and Robin is sitting in theback next to a car-seat and we manage to get to the Casio office in NewJersey five minutes early and there are all these geese out front, andgeese are really mean, so I tell everyone to quack at the geese. Sowe're all quacking really loudly at the geese. And then after themeeting, we go to this diner and I'm wearing Marni, Yohji and Prada andwe are like Charlie's Angels with BlackBerrys descending on this diner.And it has like an 80 page menu, and we all have these crazy diets, andI order only hot turkey and they ask if I want stuffing and cranberrysauce and I'm like, "no just hot turkey," and Robin does her thing andEmily has a cheeseburger and we don't talk, we're on our BlackBerrys thewhole time. So yeah, on the show, we're less bizarre. If we were ourreal selves, PETA would be calling us for how we quacked at the geese.
AS: If you were approached about doing a straight-up People'sRevolution reality show, would you do it?
KC: We've been offered several and we've declined. I don'tthink any of us want to be TV stars, but we have some show ideas thatwe'd like to develop...
AS: Can you give us any tidbits about upcoming episodes?
KC: All I can say is that there are going to be seriouschanges in our L.A. office...