Q&A with Whitney Port: “It’s Been a Long Road to Get to Where I’m At”


Last season our Monday night television regimen was painfully exhausting, thanks to MTV’s reality show The City. We weekly recapped the goings-on of young and naive Whitney Port — a Los Angeles transplant looking for love in all the wrong places, with a fervor for fashion and a clan of catty girlfriends.

Despite the constant evil-eye glares and the zombie-like dialogue, MTV OK’d a second season. We’re sort of looking forward to it. Our sad addiction on “The City” reminds us of the horror film mantra: Don’t open the door! But in Whitney’s case it’s more like: Don’t talk to Olivia! (As in Olivia Palermo, the insecure villain socialite out to condemn the world.)

This season Whitney and Olivia have left Diane von Furstenberg headquarters to work separately (boo!): Olivia in the accessories department of Elle magazine, Whitney at People’s Revolution, the PR company that’s cradling her own fashion line.

Though we’ve seen Whitney bloom from a shy Teen Vogue staffer (alongside reality TV maven Lauren Conrad on The Hills) to a sheep among ravishing New York wolves as the star of her own show, we’re still wondering: Who the hell is Whitney Port? So we talked to her. Here’s some insight:

Do think you’re being portrayed on “The City” exactly the way you are?

You know, I think there are times when they can portray me as sort of a quiet little country bumpkin that allows people to take advantage, and I don’t view myself as that, even if they do, I really think that I’m a pretty strong girl who can hold her own and stand up for herself. But, yeah, for the most part, they’re really capturing the essence of me.

So the editors really capture you in essence?

Oh, definitely, definitely. Yeah I think now, actually, more than ever, because they’ve really decided to focus on me designing my clothing line, as real as it gets. I’m very hands-on. It’s been very, very difficult for me to balance both because I am a hundred percent involved in both sectors of my life…

But, definitely, they’ve gotten the nitty-gritty of the whole experience. I pretty much stay true to myself in that regard, like I do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I would do that no matter if there were cameras or not.

I think that it’s definitely real. I think that the camera doesn’t really lie, and you can sense our emotion in our faces, and that’s why they focus on that so much.

On The Hills, your first stint on reality TV, you seemed like the most normal one of the bunch.

It’s interesting to me. I was just having this conversation. I always thought it was a little bit bizarre that after The Hills, they wanted to see the spin-off, because I’m not really dramatic and do really hold my feelings in a lot and don’t really allow myself to be vulnerable, and so it’s very interesting that they would want to do the show with me, because I’m not such an outward person, you know, or such an outward personality. I’m more of a listener…

Last season on The City, it seemed the show was about watching you survive in New York among all of these insane characters. I’m wondering now that you’re kind of settled in, what the season will be like.

I think last season it was all about me moving here, and everything being new, and having the boyfriend, and balancing the boyfriend with the job and the new apartment and feeling blessed, and, you know, the whole the little fish in the big pond kind of thing. But I think now what you’re going to see is me being a lot more career-oriented.

And, you know, I’m 24 years old. I think a lot of girls my age can really see themselves in that. My mom calls it the quarter-life crisis. A lot of people will be able to watch me go through those struggles and try to figure out who I am. I’m really excited about that part, but at least, you know, everybody gets to see me doing something that I’m really passionate about, so it’s really exciting for me.

So you’re designing this season?

Yeah, this has always been my ultimate goal, even before I was a part of the show I was working in the fashion industry, interning, and so this was what I would be doing whether I was a part of this television show or not. I’m pretty confident in that.

Will you and Olivia have any scenes together?

Yeah, we cross paths a couple times, her working for Elle and me working at People’s Revolution. We definitely cross sides, and really everyone in the fashion industry does, There’s so many, there’s different events, we’ve run into each other at Miami Fashion Week, and we get to work with each other on an event, so you definitely get to see us interact, but not as much, obviously, as last season.

Now that you are single this season, what can we expect as far as your dating life?

There’s definitely some dating, some blind dating, and then one person that I kind of take a more deeper liking to, and it’s fun, you know, I think a lot of people are intrigued by the whole dating experience in New York, a lot of single people in the city looking for love, so I think it should be fun to live vicariously through me on those dates.

Ultimately, what would you like people to gain from this show?

I just want people to really have fun watching it, and I want people to learn that if they work hard, and if they really have a passion for something and are willing to do anything to get it and have that motivation, that they can achieve it.

It’s been a long road to get to where I’m at and for people to actually take me seriously doing it. You can look at me as a reality TV personality, and you can put me down or whatever but hopefully people will just realize that if they work hard enough that people will see who they really are and what they’re trying to achieve.

(The City premiere airs tonight at 10:30 p.m. on MTV. )