When Did Lauren Conrad Become Down-to-Earth?

The designer-author earned her fame on a notoriously fake reality show -- but these days, she seems surprisingly genuine

In many ways, MTV's The Hills was reality TV at its fakest and most superficial. Don't get us wrong -- that's why we loved it! But we never felt like the socialite stars could be our actual friends. So imagine our surprise when Lauren Conrad showed up on Monday's Chelsea Lately and actually seemed -- well, real.



Speaking to guest host Ross Matthews, Conrad, 27, chatted about flea market shopping and embracing her inner old lady. No, really!

"My friends make fun of me because I collect teacups and saucers," she confessed, as she and Matthews bonded over their mutual favorite flea market. "Inside I'm like 80."

Yep -- that's a very different Lauren Conrad than we expected to see. Maybe we just haven't been paying attention because she now spends most of her time writing (she's on her eighth book), designing and crafting. She'll soon launch an e-commerce site to sell crafts made by women in developing countries. And if you insist on judging her by what you saw on The Hills -- well, she doesn't care.

"There is always gonna be a little bit of ... negativity, which just comes with the territory," Conrad says in the July issue of Marie Claire. "You realize it doesn't matter. It's so simple, but it's a very hard lesson to learn. At the end of the day, it doesn't really affect you in any way."

Furthermore, says the reality star, there was a whole lot of her life that didn't make it onto MTV.

"I only ever got to tell half my story," she argues. "People are very quick to judge these days, especially behind the anonymity of a screen name. It's very easy to say, 'I hate her, I hate what she wore, she seems mean.' But you're only seeing a small fraction of her life."

That makes a lot of sense, actually. Even if everybody else defined her by her reality TV persona, Lauren Conrad was self-aware enough not to define herself by it. And now she seems to have an actual, rewarding life. Go figure.

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