- “Laguna Beach” star Kristin Cavallari is cohosting “Back to the Beach with Kristin and Stephen.”
- Looking back, she thinks the producers pegged her to be the “villain” from the beginning of the series.
- She says she was not as “confident” as viewers thought she was during filming.
“Laguna Beach” star Kristin Cavallari is revisiting her reality show roots.
Cavallari, who is hosting the new Dear Media “Laguna Beach” rewatch podcast “Back to the Beach with Kristin and Stephen” with her friend and former costar Stephen Colletti, was only a 17-year-old high school junior when she starred on the groundbreaking MTV reality show. Now 35, she recognizes how obvious her “villainous” editing on the show would be.
“I think they obviously saw from me from the get-go that I was someone who spoke my mind,” she told Insider in an interview promoting the new podcast. She said she is now left “without a doubt” that the producers pegged her for the “villain” role of the series right away.
Cavallari and Colletti, high-school sweethearts turned grown-up buddies, will be breaking down the real (and manufactured) drama that fueled the teen docuseries, which aired on MTV from 2004 to 2006. The show followed the friendships, family lives, and romances of affluent high school students in Laguna Beach, California for three seasons. It was full of conflict and once it aired, Cavallari was at the center of much of it.
“I had a strong personality. I have a strong presence and I think that’s way easier to manipulate and edit into this villain role than any other type of personality,” she said.
Editing participants into a villain role is not an uncommon practice in reality TV.
“Selling Sunset” star Christine Quinn said she was also pegged as the “villain” of the cast on a May 18 episode of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast. Although Cavallari did not name any specific producers who edited her to be the villain, “Laguna Beach” and “Selling Sunset” were both executive produced by Adam DiVello, whom Quinn accused of punishing her for being “too honest” about how “Selling Sunset ” was produced.
Other personalities presented on “Laguna Beach” were content to trade slippery strokes in nail salons and engage in sneaky gossip during joyrides. Cavallari was down to confront her enemies and demand more from her partner at a time when it was not popular for young girls to do so. Cavallari does think she has that side of her personality but doesn’t think the show portrayed all sides of her.
She recalled being asked to repeatedly talk about things she “didn’t really care about” on camera that contributed to what she did not realize would become major storylines. “That was all they really chose to focus on,” Cavallari added. Her portrayal on the show soon became her public persona; years later, she was advised to “meet as many people as possible” so they could see how “different” she was from how she was portrayed on television.
At the time “Laguna Beach” was on the air, reality docudramas were relatively rare. Terms like frankenbiting, a process by which storyboard editors can take clips of dialogue from separate conversations to form a sentence or add audio to a scene where a cast member is not actually present to make it appear as though they were, were not yet familiar to prospective reality television stars. “We were kind of just learning as we went,” said Cavallari.
“I knew that we would film things out of order or they would have us have the same conversation a few different ways,” she continued, adding that she was unaware of the extent to which the footage was shaped by its storytellers.
Cavallari presented as confident and self-assured on the show, but she did not feel that way during filming. “It’s interesting because that’s how everyone perceives me. And watching ‘Laguna Beach’ now, I don’t see a confident girl at all. I actually see someone who’s extremely insecure. So it’s interesting that was what people took away from it,” she said.
Now, as an adult who says she’s finally comfortable in her own skin, Cavallari is ready to revisit the experience with “crystal clear” vision.
“Back to the Beach with Kristin and Stephen” is now available on streaming services. Check out the trailer below.