Considering that reality star/actress/host Audrina Patridge was almost too shy to pursue a career in showbiz, it’s remarkable that what catapulted her to fame was starring as herself on MTV’s L.A.-centric reality show The Hills—and that she followed up her six-season run with two more stints on reality TV. But just because she got the shyness out of her system doesn’t mean that the Hollywood Dell-area resident has lost her sweetness. As host of NBC’s lifestyle travel show 1st Look, which airs after Saturday Night Live, Patridge has found her niche. “I’m such a people person, and I love traveling, so the show is a great fit.” Between far-flung destinations, the 29-year-old caught up with Where to share her favorite spots in the city that put her on the pop-culture map.
Fans must approach you all the time wanting to still ask you questions about The Hills.
I get asked whether I talk to Justin Bobby all the time. I keep in touch with everyone off and on, and that was a huge part of my life, but we’ve all gone down different paths. I always get asked if the show was real or fake.
What prompted you to pursue a career in front of the camera?
I grew up watching The Mickey Mouse Club and I loved watching [the actors] dance, but I was so shy. In high school, I actually wanted to be a psychologist, and even went to night school for it, but did acting classes during the day.
How did you overcome your shyness?
I kept pushing myself and made myself do things out of my comfort zone. Sometimes the more you push yourself to do what scares you, the more you [triumph].
Five years from now, where would you like to see yourself personally and professionally?
I’m launching my own swim line [called Prey] with my sister. We’ve worked so hard on it. It’s the highest quality [material] and there’s something for everyone. So in five years I really just plan on focusing on that, living in a beach house, being married, raising a family and traveling. I love hosting, but I don’t want to have to depend on television [for a career]. Plus, I live in a bathing suit, so it only makes sense!
What are some of your favorite hidden gems around Los Angeles?
What’s the most underrated neighborhood in Los Angeles?
Beverly Hills. It’s not just for the old and rich. There are a lot of fun things to do there and it’s so beautiful. It’s not snooty and stuck up. Nic’s (310.550.5707) is this great little jazz bar that’s kind of lounge-y. I really like it there.
What places are on your summer hot list?
Ace Hotel (213.623.3233) in downtown L.A. The neighborhood there has really picked up. Also, hitting up The Bungalow (310.899.8530) in Santa Monica is great for the summer. [And] the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (323.466.7000) is so iconic and great for these warmer months.