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Kristin Cavallari Explains Why She’s Going Back to Reality TV

Kristin Cavallari’s Nashville Guide

Kristin collaborates with Us Weekly ...
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Uncommon James Fall 2018 Release

Kristin released her Uncommon James ...
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Kristin Cavallari for Sapling Child

Kristin Cavallari for Sapling Child

Kristin collaborates with Sapling Child ...
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Uncommon James Store Grand Opening

Kristin celebrates the grand opening ...
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Latest news

Here is a rundown of the latest on Kristin Cavallari:

Kristin Cavallari meets with People and Us Weekly

Kristin visits People to chat about family life.

"I love having three kids. I especially love having two boys and a girl — we feel like a very complete family. We're good, we're done," the Very Cavallari star tells PEOPLE Now of herself and husband Jay Cutler, whose children are Saylor James, 2½, Jaxon Wyatt, 4, and Camden Jack, 6 next month.

"My daughter is 2½ and I don’t have to lug around a diaper bag anymore and all the crap," says Cavallari, 31. "We're finally at a really good place where we can just pick up and go." Continues the star, "All my kids have a little bit of independence, and we’re just in a really good place. I don’t want to go back to the diaper phase and all of that."

Fashion Police: Kristin Cavallari Looks Back at Her 'So Ugly' Style Moments

The hills are alive with some serious fashion faux pas! Kristin Cavallari may have turned into a style star, but back in her Laguna Beach days the reality star made some questionable choices. When the Very Cavallari star recently stopped by Us Weekly, she took a trip down memory lane to relive her most outrageous fashion moments.

Kristin Cavallari meets with Cosmopolitan

As any true early-aughts-era MTV stan knows: Kristin Cavallari was the best part of Laguna Beach and The Hills. And she’s back—this time on E! in Very Cavallari, premiering on Sunday and chronicling the high-drama goings-on of Cavallari and her staff at her Nashville flagship store Uncommon James, home to her jewelry and décor collections.

But don’t expect the same reality TV villain you’ve come to love/love to hate. “I've grown a lot,” Cavallari explained when she stopped by HQ this week to chat about the new series. “With Laguna Beach and The Hills, they really only showed one side of my personality and that's how it was amplified. On Very Cavallari, you get to see every side. As a wife and a mom. As a best friend. As a boss.” (OK, fine. You can expect a little of the old Kristin, too: “The boss side is the closest to the Laguna Beach and The Hills Kristin.”

Cosmopolitan did a short interview with Kristin about her upcoming reality show Very Cavallari:

On her new show:
"I launched my flagship store and my headquarters in Nashville because my husband retired from football. And with that, I felt like there was just a good opportunity to do a reality show where it's not just focused on my family. It doesn't rely on my marriage for the drama; I can leave it up to my staff. It's sort of the best of both worlds for me. And while Jay, my husband, is on it, my kids are not. I'm really excited because it gets me back into reality TV without airing my dirty laundry."

On being behind the camera:
"I'm an executive producer this time around so I have a say in what's going on, and I always know what is going on. I have some creative control and having that security blanket is such a great feeling coming from Laguna Beach and The Hills. I don't think I would have done it had I not gotten that just because, you know, it's one thing when I was 18 and it was just me to look out for, but I have three kids, I'm a wife, it's no longer just me that I have to think about anymore."

On prepping the Uncommon James staff for reality TV fame:
"I really just wanted to make sure that they were comfortable the whole time — I never had someone that I could go to during Laguna Beach or The Hills. Now with this show gearing up to premiere everyone has had their moment of freaking out about what's to come, which I get. Right now, I'm telling them to not to read any of the comments once the show premieres. What I've learned is, no matter what you do, you can't please everybody. So at the end of the day you should just do you and live your life. And who cares if someone in wherever doesn't like you. Other people do."

On being an executive producer — and learning about what’s actually going down behind the scenes:
"I've definitely had some moments of like, OK, I always knew these things were going on on Laguna Beach and The Hills. But now to see them firsthand — OK, got it. These were the discussions that producers were having about me at one point. Yeah, that doesn't sit well with me. These are discussions about storylines and specific things that we're trying to get for the show. Producers tend to look at these people as cast mates when really, they are people. And, for me, this is my real company. So there's that fine line of yes, we are making a reality show but this is also real life. But at the end of the day, we're filming a TV show and I get it. And that's also what I told the girls, too: If you're not going to fully embrace it, there's no point in doing it. Just enjoy it and have fun."

On why she wouldn’t let her kids do reality TV:
"I guess a little part of me just thinks I was so young to be doing some of that stuff. I was 17, I wasn't even an adult yet. But I don't look back and regret anything. I'm so thankful for my experience. And ultimately I have such a positive feeling towards both Laguna Beach and The Hills. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I just think about how young I was—I don't think I would let my kids do a show until they're 18 years old and they can legally make that decision."

On this classic Cabo clip from Laguna Beach:
"I wasn't even doing anything! I got so much shit for that — I mean, they made it seem like I was the only one up on the bar dancing that's what everybody does in Cabo. I still go to Cabo. People are still dancing in the bars. And I wasn't with Stephen. But no, I was the bad guy. Just living my life, man."

On where the evolution of her style and where she finds design inspo:
"I'm inspired, truly, by the modern woman. The modern woman doesn't have time every morning to, say, try on ten different pieces of jewelry. Everyone wants to grab and go. I want you to throw on all of my jewelry and never take it off. I don't want you to think about it. I'm drawn to simplicity with everything in my life whether it's my personal style, how I decorate my house, whatever. When I was on Laguna Beach I didn't even know what fashion was. And then I graduated high school and moved up to L.A. and I was in the entertainment business going to photo shoots and all of a sudden had stylists I was working with and getting to wear all these great clothes but because I had no idea what my style was, I just sort of conformed to whatever people wanted to put me in."

On what present-day Very Cavallari Kristin would say to 17-year-old Laguna Beach Kristin:
"Enunciate. Enunciate your damn words."

Kristin Cavallari meets with Elle

Kristin visits Elle to chat about her new show Very Cavallari.

"What would reality TV be like without Kristin Cavallari? We had to contemplate that particular void over the last seven years, during which the former Laguna Beach and The Hills star took a break from lifecasting. Instead, she brought up her three children with husband Jay Cutler, Camden, 5, Jaxon, 4, and Saylor, 2—without the glare of the lens.

But when Cutler, a former NFL quarterback, retired, the family relocated to Nashville and Cavallari decided to return to the reality roost. This time, it's with Very Cavallari, tracking the opening of her Uncommon James boutique—and the surprisingly recognizable everyday drama of office stoushes, car parking (seriously), and family–work clashes.

Cavallari dropped in to to Insta-stalk her E! colleagues and explain why she's back for another stint in the spotlight—but her kids are nowhere to be seen."

It’s been almost eight years since you stopped filming The Hills. What made you come back to reality TV?
A few things lined up. One is my husband stopped playing football. For the last eight years, I’ve sort of been on his schedule. Now, with him being done, we’re in Nashville full time. So we’re in one place, he can kind of help with the kids, where before he was working a lot. I decided to open up my headquarters, my flagship store of Uncommon James in Nashville. Which I think offers a great backdrop and "cast members"—it’s my real staff—for the show. My staff are all in their early twenties, they’re all living their lives. It’s the best of both worlds, where it gets me back into reality TV, but the real personal drama is centered around my staff, so I don’t have to air my dirty laundry.

Were you nervous about doing it?
I had a little moment right before we started filming of, "Oh my God, I think I made the wrong decision," but that quickly went away as soon as we started filming. I’m an executive producer this time around, so having that security blanket and knowing I get to see everything beforehand, and that if we really needed to we could change some stuff…that really put my mind at ease. Working with a team of producers that respect and value my creative direction with the show is such a dream come true. And it’s not about my family. Jay is on it, but my kids are not on it. So it’s not a show that is relying on my dynamic with my husband to be successful. While he’s a part of it, it’s not the whole show.

I read that you had to convince Jay to be on the show, because he’s more of a private person. How did that go?
He really doesn’t want anything to do with reality TV, to be quite honest. But he’s doing it to support me and he understands what a good opportunity it is for me. And so my biggest concern with filming the show was just making sure that he was always comfortable. Before we started filming we talked beforehand about what we were willing to put out there, what we weren’t where in the house we could film—you’ll never see the master bedroom, for example. We both just wanted to make sure we have some stuff that’s just for us, that’s private. And of course with the kids, that was a no-brainer for us, not putting them on the show.

Has Jay seen The Hills or Laguna Beach?
Only...I think MTV played them one summer and he put it on as a joke. So no, not really. He’s seen little bits and pieces but never a full episode.

So when you met, he’d never seen the show?
No [laughs]. It’s better that way.

Your kids aren’t on the show. But if they were teenagers and wanted to be on reality TV, what would tell them? What kind of conversation would you want to have?
Obviously, if they were 18, they could do it. I guess if they were teenagers and we really had a serious conversation and they really wanted to be part of it…like, let’s say I’m still doing Very Cavallari [laughs]. Then maybe I would have them on it a little bit. I would never let them do a show about just them. I would never trade in my experience, but I was so young doing Laguna Beach. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. And while I’m so thankful for it, I just want my kids to be kids. There’s so much pressure already to be a teenager that I don’t think they should have to worry about cameras in their face.

That's based on your own experience on those shows?
Yes and no. Yes, in that I was so young and I was such a mess and…I had a lot of growing up to do. Again, I’m so thankful for it. But with my kids, I just want to keep them kids. Right now we don’t want to put them on the show, because we don’t want to rob them of the decision to have their lives blasted everywhere. We want them to be able to make that decision. And so what age is that? I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.

Uncommon James is a huge focus of the show. What will we learn about it?
You’ll see how involved I am. It’s my company, it’s only me. It’s truly my fourth child and I treat it as such. I think a lot of times people assume celebrities just attach their name to something, but this is my baby.

The show tracks the flagship store's progress before the opening. Is it open now? Can we go there?
It is! It’s been open for a few months and it's been really fun. It’s doing well. I’m so proud and happy.

How do your staff feel about being on the show?
Each person individually has had a moment of, "Oh my God, the show is about to premiere!" Which I understand. I remember going through that on Laguna Beach. So I’m just happy that I’ve been able to be there for them. I always wanted to make sure that they were comfortable with what was happening. For me it was tough, because this is a real business, everyone has a real job, so that should take precedence. But at the same time we also want to film a good TV show, and make it interesting. So that was a weird line to walk the entire time we were shooting. Ever since the camera stopped, it’s been a little bit of a relief for everybody to get back to real work. Everyone’s excited. But I feel for them because I remember being in their shoes.

Anything you learned from your former reality show experiences that you took to Very Cavallari?
Coming from two very successful reality shows, you just kind of know what goes into making a good show. I always looked at Laguna Beach and The Hills through a producer’s eye. I knew we were there to make a good show and I was all about that. I could separate me personally from the shows and say, "Okay, what do we need to make this a good TV show?"

It’s different for me this time around, because it’s one thing when I was 18 and it was only me. Now I’m a wife and I have three kids. So there’s a little part of me, even just watching some of the episodes now, that's like, "Ah, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Not a good look for a mom but okay, here’s me and my best friend and this is how we really talk." I had a few little things taken out, but for the most part I left everything in because it's relatable.

Do you also look back at some of the outfits you were wearing on, say, The Hills, and go, "Oh my goodness"?
I don’t think there’s one outfit where I’m like, "That was a good choice." Everything is like "Why?" But at the time, 2005 or whatever…it was cool. We were all wearing the same stuff.

How is your style different now?
It’s evolved so much. I really had no style in the early days. Over the years, working with so many different stylists and being able to wear great designers, I’ve really figured out what my style is. I’m effortless all the way. I want to give the illusion that I just threw an outfit together, even though that probably wasn’t the case. I never want to look overdone. Simplicity is key with everything in my life. I know what works for my body type now and I don’t stray too often. I’m very short and very petite, so more form-fitting stuff on me looks better.
How does your style come through in the show?

There's two sides to me on the show. One is business me, me going into the office, which has been really fun to be honest—to be able to put outfits together every day and have an office to go to. Because I lived in leggings for so many years, just being a mom. Which is nice too. And then it’s me at home, more relaxed, just cooking dinner or hanging out.

There's this one scene where Jay is helping you pick out a sweater and he says, "I always help you pick out your clothes." Is that true?
No...[laughter]. I’ll definitely ask his opinion, and sometimes I listen, but sometimes it’s like, with any girl, "You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don't understand fashion."

Your cookbook, True Roots, came out earlier this year. Do you do any cooking on the show?
I’m cooking a couple times. Would I love to be cooking the entire time? Yes. But it’s more about what makes sense for a show. I mean, you film a scene for, let’s say 45 minutes—it has to be edited down to a minute or two.

So you're just chopping an onion?
Literally. I’m like doing dishes, but really I was cooking the whole time.

Kristin Cavallari’s ‘True Roots’ Cookbook Is All About Quality Ingredients — And This One Is Her Favorite

She may have gotten her start as a lead cast member of MTV reality shows Laguna Beach and The Hills, but these days Kristin Cavallari is up to something a little different. Her new cookbook True Roots comes packed with different recipes that don't contain many common allergens like gluten and refined sugar, but are still full of flavor. The one ingredient she says she will never give up? Sheep's milk Manchego cheese.

I just love cheese. I always have. It's one thing that I could never give up — but I have a sensitivity to cow's milk that just makes me feel awful when I eat it. Sheep's milk, though, is easier on the digestive system, and this Manchego cheese is very mild and similar to Parmesan, so it's a great alternative that's really easy to incorporate in so many different ways into so many different dishes. It's very versatile.

I have known about my sensitivity for eight years or so, but I only discovered this cheese three or four years ago. I went to my grocery store and I just tried every single kind of sheep and goat milk cheese that they had to offer, and this was my favorite.

My dad is full Italian, and I grew up with my full Italian grandma always making pizza fritte, the best apple pie on the planet, and just pasta and meatballs — all that really great stuff. Her apple pie recipe is actually in my cookbook. I cooked a lot with both of my parents while I was growing up, too, and my mom made dinner for us every night. I used to bake with my mom a lot too, and I always knew that that was the kind of mom that I wanted to be: I wanted to be the mom that cooked dinner for her children every night.

So, once I had kids, I really just started cooking all the time, and I wanted to cook healthy, but I wanted it to be good, too. I think there's a stigma that eating healthy means being boring and like you're missing out on stuff. I eat everything: I eat pasta, I eat cheese, I eat sweets. And that's why I like the sheep's milk Manchego cheese — it's so versatile, but also healthy.

I'm by no means a chef, I'm just a mom who likes to cook healthy. So, I worked with a private chef, Mike Kubiesa, in Chicago, who helped me with the cookbook — he gave me a ton of private lessons and I truly credit all of my food knowledge to him. He is a food genius, and he really helped me a lot, and helped elevate me as a cook.

One of my favorite ways to use the sheep's milk Manchego cheese is in the cookbook: It's a cashew ricotta cheese that I make a veal braciole with. While I don't use milk or cream — I make the ricotta with cashews — I do put some of this cheese in there, and it gives it a great flavor. It's so good, I could eat the ricotta with a spoon.

My kids and husband also enjoy it — they eat the same way I do, so the cookbook is a very good representation of how my family eats on a daily basis. I frequently make most of the recipes for them, and they love it.

Kristin Cavallari for CVLUX Magazine

Kristin covers CVLUX Magazine for the Summer edition.

Mother. Actress. Writer. Designer. Entrepreneur. Yes, reality television alum Kristin Cavallari is doing it all, but don’t let her superhuman resume fool you—she's definitely one of us.

In preparation for our phone interview, I spent some time looking over everything Cavallari has done in the past few years, which turned out to be everything from competing on Dancing with the Stars, to guest starring in television shows and small films, to charity work involving PETA and HIV/AIDS. When I bring up her go-getter personality, though, she's quick to point out that it's not a one-woman show. "The fact that Jay is home all day, every day right now ... he's the reason I'm able to do half of what I do," she says, referencing her husband of two years, Miami Dolphins quarterback, Jay Cutler. Make no mistake—the hard-working mom of three loves her work, but her real passion is her family. "Five o'clock comes and every night we're eating dinner as a family—that's the most important thing to me," she says. "It's important for me to wake up in the morning and make the boys' breakfast, pack their lunches ... I make sure that certain family things are a priority. Everything else is secondary."

Looking back on Cavallari's life, this state of mind isn't surprising. While most of America still recognizes her as the perky teenager from the MTV reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and later The Hills, Cavallari wasn't born into a life of glamor and glitz. “I lived in a suburb of Chicago throughout my entire junior high years and my mom lived here," explains Cavallari, who settled in both Los Angeles and Chicago before finding a home in Nashville with Cutler. “Moving back to Chicago wasn't a shock for me because I had experienced it before. But I do think, because of living in L.A. and Southern California for so long, it was still an adjustment." What kind of adjustment? “I remember I had no clothes!" Cavallari laughs. “No winter jackets ... I had to buy this stuff. But to be honest, I prefer having my kids grow up in a place that has four seasons. Snow days for me were part of my childhood, and I love that my kids are experiencing that. It's just a different way of growing up."

At the very least, it's different from how Cavallari grew up. After moving to California to attend Laguna Beach High School, fame came calling in 2004. She would spend three years of her life being documented alongside the lives of her friends, and then another six as part of a spin-off series from Laguna Beach castmate Lauren Conrad— but don't expect someone who grew up in the spotlight to share that same glimpse behind the curtain. "It's funny, because yeah, I was on reality TV, but I'm actually a very private person when it comes to my family," Cavallari says. "But I do realize that's what people really resonate with and that's what they connect to, so I try to find a happy medium and a happy balance." Still, there's a line, and that line isn't a surprise. "People ask me all the time why I don't show my kids' faces, but they didn't sign up for this world," says Cavallari. "I did. And I want them to choose if that's a life and world that they want to be in. I don't want to rob them of that decision."

Does she wish that social media existed in the days of Laguna Beach, for her own sake? Well, that's a different matter entirely. "It's interesting, because people will comment with things like, ‘oh you've grown up a lot.' Yes, I have grown up a lot, but also this has always been who I am," says Cavallari. "And in the same breath, yes, of course I've matured quite a bit since I was 18, 19, 20, but the core of me has always been the same."

Fast-forward to 2018, and the girl who was once known for being part of Lauren Conrad's "love triangle" is, in every sense of the word, satisfied. She's happily married, and her wedding day is one that's still fresh in her mind. "Not to sound cheesy, but literally the entire day was so perfect," she shares. "Our reception was so fun. We had about 120 people and it was truly our closest friends and family; it felt intimate to us. We really focused on three things to make it perfect in our eyes, so that was really good food, great booze, and really good music. We had a five-person motown band and every single person was on the floor." She credits her relationship right now as "the closest we've ever been," explaining, "we know each other so well and we're so incredibly comfortable with one another. And I would take our relationship now over what it was in the beginning."

Aside from her children, Cavallari's current pride and joy is her jewelry line, Uncommon James. "I started this company by myself and I've never had that kind of creative freedom in my life, and it's so satisfying," she says, and I can feel the excitement in her voice radiating through the phone. "It's so freeing. It's the hardest job I've ever had and I love every second of it. I love jewelry—I think that accessories make or break your outfit. But it's more about owning a company for me that's so fun. It's the most challenging thing for me, besides being a mom, that I've ever done. Uncommon James hasn't even been around for a year, and I'm already opening my own brick and mortar—which is scary as hell but it's also really exciting."

As we speak, Cavallari is preparing for a short book tour to promote her new cookbook True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen with More Than 100 Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar. "My cookbook is truly a passion project of mine—I'm such a healthy eater and I'm just excited to share with everyone that being healthy doesn't mean boring," she explains. "You're not missing out on anything. I really think that you can eat anything as long as you're choosing the right ingredients ... this cookbook is how I eat on a daily basis. I honest-to-God make everything in this cookbook all the time; it's how my family and I eat. I'm a home cook who loves to cook healthy and I'm doing this to share that with my fans, who are excited about eating healthy and want to get on track.

Cavallari's tour will take her to New York, Nashville, and Chicago, and she'll take her children with her to Chicago to see her mom. Even though Los Angeles isn't on the list of promotional cities, I have to ask the obvious question— is there a possibility of having a play date with new moms (and former Hills co-stars) Audrina Patridge and Heidi Montag.

"We talk about it all the time!" Cavallari assures me. "It's just hard because they're in L.A., and I'm in Nashville. But I'd love to. Audrina and Heidi both reached out to me a lot and I love that I was able to be there for them because when I had Camden, my oldest, I had no one I could turn to for advice or for any kind of help. So being able to be there for my co-stars and my ‘normal' friends, too, I love nothing more."

Work, family, business success—life seems to be coming at Cavallari fast, and for a while, that's what she always wanted. "My whole life, I always wanted to be older," she says. "I always wanted to be in the next phase of my life, but now I just want everything to slow down. I wish I could've just enjoyed being 18." She pauses, as if she's reflecting on the journey she's had so far, the one that's taken her from small-town suburbia to the beaches of Hollywood and back to the grounded, simple, family-oriented life she knew before all her fame and fortune.

"Just enjoy the journey and enjoy the moment."

For a girl who once wanted to grow up too fast, Cavallari is now making sure it all counts.