Interviewing reality TV stars is never not strange. Even if only a small portion of their day-to-day lives is or was shown on television (and even if that show was scripted), you still know a lot more about them and their general evolution as a person than they do about you, and you both sort of accept it. Like many millennials, I grew up watching Lauren Conrad grow up on both "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills" and, now, on her disturbingly perfect and consistently rose-tinted Instagram.
And on Wednesday night, I met her IRL. The new mom was as glow-y and symmetrical and put-together as I'd expected at Beauty & Essex's new Hollywood location, where we were celebrating her third Runway collection for Kohl's and recent expansion into plus sizing with a girls' night out-themed party. It was no Les Deux, and you get the sense that Conrad's bottle-service days are long behind her, but with flowing rosé, highly 'grammable string lights and cozy Hollywood-glam vibes, the whole thing was definitely on-brand for her.
"I wanted to do a launch party this time," she said of her decision to show in LA — an increasingly popular location for fashion events. "I want to say it was a strategic [business] decision, but really I just have a two-month old. I couldn't fly to New York ... it was really just I couldn't leave. I also love doing stuff in LA." These days, Conrad is becoming better known for her growing fashion empire than made-up love triangles and Spencer Pratt feuds. LC by Lauren Conrad, which is sold at Kohl's, is just one of her many fashion and beauty projects, but it's expanding pretty rapidly. Just this year, she launched maternity, swimwear and, now, plus-size categories.
"When we do categories every year, we look at the calendar and [think about] what's happening in your life and it's always felt really organic," she explained. "One year, I was attending a bunch of weddings and I did a dress collection towards wedding season. Then, this past year when I was pregnant, we did a maternity line, so it always just feels very natural. The next launch will probably be something that just feels right for the time." Does that mean Liam Tell's mom will be launching baby clothes next? "It could be," she teased. "There's nothing in the works now, but yeah it could be fun."
While this season's collection has some nostalgic touches — namely in the form of '90s-inspired velvet and chokers — one thing she probably won't be doing is referencing her own mid-aughts style. I brought up one particular look that (debatably) seems to be making a comeback. "Oh no!" she exclaimed in a rare departure from the unshakably steady octave her voice usually hits. "Can I tell you something? Those are not my clothes, I didn't know I was doing 'TRL.' They pulled them from the 'TRL' closet. I know, it's awful." I felt bad, offering, "I bet it looked cool at the time!"
She wasn't having it. "This is not good; they just pulled it from the 'TRL' closet and put me in it, so I didn't select this outfit." She said the fit of Jennifer Lawrence's version was better and, for the record, she wouldn't rule out trying the pedal-pusher look again. "Everything comes full circle — maybe not the exact pair with the very utilitarian seaming."
Another thing that people who live their lives in the public now have to deal with, aside from there being permanent evidence of every outfit they wear, is the constant risk of being turned into a GIF. As you can see in our review from Conrad's last fashion show, she is a very GIF'd human, so we couldn't help but ask what her favorite GIF of herself is. "The one that I always see and that I get tagged in is the one of Whitney and I — and I don't know what we're so excited about. Like, 'ahhh,' I don't know, I don't know what it is."
Aside from GIF-ability, Conrad is also known for her immaculate, pinkish sepia-hued Instagram. Does she have any tips for maintaining that warm consistency on the social media platform? "All of my photos are taken during the day, so that helps — just kind of consistent lighting — and a lot of them are taken around my home or my work so the aesthetic feels similar," she said. "I think the biggest thing for keeping a consistent Instagram is not posting everything you see and just being more selective."