Five years ago Whitney Port was just a 20-year-old intern at Teen Vogue when her world got turned upside down. “I found out that MTV was going to be filming in the office,” says the leggy California girl. “So I did it, like, ‘All right, whatever.’¿”
She quickly became an integral part of what turned out to be The Hills, providing a voice of reason amid the insanity of Heidi, Spencer, LC, and Audrina. Whitney grew so popular, in fact, that she was given her own spin-off, The City, which tracked her path through the cutthroat world of New York fashion. Now back home in L.A. and at work on her own label, the reality show star turned designer is stepping out…without her clothes.
You are certainly more down-to-earth than some of the other girls on The Hills, but you didn’t seem like the most obvious candidate for a spin-off.
Clearly, on The Hills I was not the most dramatic one, so you would never think I’d be capable of pulling off my own show. But I wanted to do it because it was so career-oriented, and it was based on something really happening in my life.
Do you find that your fans sometimes think you’re actually their friend?
Yes! That’s the weirdest part about it. People will be like, “Whit! How are you?” Or people will call my name, and I’ll sort of get confused, and I’m not sure if I know the person or not.
On the other hand, some of the other Hills cast members–cough, Heidi and Spencer, cough–don't seem relatable at all.
Yeah, they were always more extreme. Spencer actually went to my high school, and he was obviously a less magnified version of the person he is now. But nothing surprises me with him anymore.
Part of the appeal of The City was the “fish out of water” aspect of a California girl in the Big Apple. Did you think of yourself as a New Yorker?
I have a love-hate relationship with New York. I love the energy, I love the culture, I love the social aspect of it. But you don’t have the freedom to just get in your car and go anywhere you want. Sometimes I felt a bit trapped and landlocked.
Is it true you have never eaten spaghetti?
That’s true. Never eaten pasta. I don’t have any allergies or anything. I just don’t like the texture. It’s one of these weird things that kind of irks me, so I have no interest in trying it.
You’re super tall and skinny and had braces until you were a senior in high school. So were you one of those gawky girls who blossomed late?
I was the ugly duckling as a baby and a toddler. As I got a little older—granted, I did not look so hot with braces—I wasn’t, like, horribly unfortunate looking. And I wasn’t tall in high school, which is weird. I didn’t get this tall until college. I had a really late growth spurt, and now I’m 5'10".
Which is, like, the perfect height for a model! Is it true you wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel?
That’s more of a dream. I mean, if they called me and were like, “Oh, my God, Whitney, we love you. We want you to walk the runway,” I’d consider it. But I don’t know if that would ever happen.
Hey, you look pretty great in these photos!
This was a big step for me, but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little bit, and I thought it would be a fun experience. I have always loved Maxim, and as much as it’s racy, it’s always tasteful and everybody looks really good.