Where it all began: how the hills made an immediate (and infinite) impact
Hi I’m Lauren. I grew up in Laguna Beach — a small town with big drama. But now, it’s time for me to move on. I got an apartment with my good friend Heidi, I’m going to fashion school and I scored an interview for a killer internship with ’Teen Vogue.’ This is my chance to make it happen — in the one city where they say dreams come true.”
This is how The Hills started — 10 years ago today. The amiable Laguna Beach star was setting the tone for what was to come while packing up her belongings (that bright pink suitcase!) at her parent’s picturesque residence and hitting the road for the bright lights of Hollywood. She had no idea what would happen as she documented her life for the subsequent years — and neither did the folks who tuned in to the Lauren Conrad spinoff on May 31, 2006.
Immediately, Lauren’s new adventures started as the action began: getting settled into her first official home away from home, making new acquaintances, and beginning her career in fashion. Her excitement was palpable — and this is where “her book begins” (to quote Natasha Bedingfield’s tune that served as the anthem for the show).
For anybody who was fortunate enough to watch the series in real time from the very beginning (before it exploded into the cultural phenomenon that it is today), Lauren was a hard-working believer, and her circumstances were relatable from the get-go — exploring hot spots in a brand new location (ahh, Geisha House), soaking in the sun at her housing complex pool, and showing dedication to her first professional gig (stuffing invitations is no easy task), to name just a few instances in that half-hour of magic. She was the girl next door — with a tremendous opportunity to grab what was in front of her and make the most of everything.
There are obvious iconic moments from the pilot (relive some highlights below): a sunglasses-bedecked Lauren making her way up north in her convertible, her shocked face as she entered her brand new place, her stunned reaction when her pals unexpectedly showed up at a magazine-sponsored party, and that final moment standing at the edge of the pool as the credits rolled.
Fittingly, the leading lady poignantly reflected on this unforgettable half hour of television and even relived the episode — for the first time in a long while.
“Even though I know how it all ends, it was a little difficult watching my younger self struggle — I was in way over my head!” she shared on her website in a heartfelt letter.
It was odd watching all of us just starting out, with no idea what the future held (although, no one really could have prepared us for what the next few years would bring).
Looking back, I am grateful for the incredible opportunity we were given to take part in this show. While it was hard at times to share my personal life (poor makeup choices and all) with the world, the experience taught me so much and forever altered my life and my outlook for the better.
While us fans can’t help but eat up every dramatic encounter, priceless gem-like statement, or beautiful image of the City of Angels that subsequently unfolded, it’s a challenge for the protagonist to reflect and relive.
“As hard as it is to look back (other than watching the pilot, I haven’t watched any episodes since they first aired), it brings me a lot of joy to see that now, despite all the challenges we faced together back then, each of us seems to have found what we were looking for,” she wrote.
The Hills has made an indelible mark on the television landscape — and even though the story has been written, the show remains a wonderful reminder of a young woman trying to chase her goals and encountering some unbelievable experiences along the way.
Share your favorite The Hills memories, and be sure to stay with MTV News as we get ready for Lauren Conrad’s special, The Hills: That Was Then, This is Now.