'The Hills' Turns 10: Celebrate With This Definitive Ranking of the Cast's 'Realness'

Kelly Bryant | May 27, 2016 TV

It seems like it was just yesterday that we first watched Lauren Conrad cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway to the tune of Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" for the opening credits of MTV's The Hills -- but, believe it or not, an entire decade has passed since the reality show premiered.

The series, which made its debut on May 31, 2006, saw its fair share of drama from breakups (with both boyfriends and besties), weddings, and a whole lot of manipulation, providing plenty of guilty-pleasure viewing and tabloid fodder for a whopping six seasons.

We couldn't let an anniversary like this pass uncelebrated, so we decided to have a little fun looking back and ranking the "realness" of The Hills cast over the years. Do you agree with our list?


Image via Alex Turner/Splash News

  • Spencer Pratt: Then


    Spencer Pratt rolls in as the least real of these 10 cast members. When he joined the cast in season two as a love interest for Heidi, the entire dynamic changed. He was a master manipulator; it wasn't too long before he and Lauren found themselves at odds over Heidi's best interests. Now, back then one could argue that Spencer was actually incredibly real because dude was totally transparent in his desire for screen time and drama, but we're going with "unreal" in the sense that we feel like he continues to put on a character for the tabloids to maintain relevancy.

  • Spencer Pratt: Still Pretty Unreal


    Spencer and Heidi are still together, proving everyone wrong that maybe they were in fact meant to be. But Spencer is still hunting for the paparazzi attention. Ever wonder how photogs just happen to spot the two of them frolicking around in public? Yeah, there has to be a mastermind behind that (we see you, Spencer). We admire your entrepreneurial spirit, buddy, but we're leaving you at number 10.

  • Heidi Montag: Then


    When we first met Heidi Montag in 2006, she had a boyfriend named Jordan and was desperate to have a career in marketing and opening nightclubs. But then second season led her right into the arms of Spencer and she became decidedly less "real" (putting her at number 9) -- at least the way we saw through the show's editing (which we'll admit could be skewed).

  • Heidi Montag: Different Outside, Same Inside


    Lauren's former bestie changed the most physically, opting for a host of very public plastic surgeries, and she still seems on the hunt for reality TV opportunities. So not real. But we continue to root for Heidi because at her heart she always seemed like a good person.

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  • Brody Jenner: Then


    Brody Jenner came on the scene around the same time as Spencer, since the two had been longtime friends. That changed after even Brody couldn't handle Spencer's shenanigans anymore. It always felt like he was willing to take whichever side worked out best for him in terms of screen time and public opinion, leading him to land at number eight because, eh, not all that real.

  • Brody Jenner: Still an Enigma


    Since The Hills ended, he continued his reality TV career with the series Bromance and Sex with Brody, and occasional appearances on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. While he's clearly really into reality TV, we still can't quite figure this guy out, leading us to believe he's never been all that genuine on camera.

  • Stephanie Pratt: Then


    When Spencer's sister Stephanie showed up, it felt like she was just an ally for Speidi. But pretty quickly she gained the trust of Lauren and the rest of the crew, and found herself having to straddle enemy lines. She saw an opportunity and she grabbed it. But the main "real" thing here is Stephanie's sheer desire to make a career out of reality TV. And, hey, it seems like a good gig, landing her at number 7.

  • Stephanie Pratt: Reality TV 4Eva


    Stephanie continued her reality TV fame across the pond in the UK, joining Made in Chelsea in its sixth season. While she likely continues to play a role on that show (full disclosure -- we haven't seen it), props to her for keeping the momentum going after The Hills came to a close.

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  • Jason Wahler: Then


    Remember when Lauren was so in love with boyfriend Jason Wahler? Their on-again, off-again relationship was at the heart of a lot of drama for the first couple of seasons of The Hills. At the time, we have to admit that Jason didn't exactly come across as sincere, which is why he only lands at number six.

  • Jason Wahler: Honest About Life Today


    Is it possible that Jason has changed the least among all of The Hills cast physically? Dude looks exactly the same, maybe just slightly older. But the biggest change in Jason's life is that he remains clean and sober after struggling with addiction. In a Huffington Post essay, he wrote: "I now take pride in how I look, and live a healthy lifestyle that is reflected in my physicality. I could see the obvious difference between who I was then at 19 and who I have become now — and believe the public can see the same, too, despite my past reputation." That's really real to us.

  • Audrina Patridge: Then


    Back in '06 Audrina Patridge was a "neighbor" of Lauren and Heidi's, often hanging out by the pool with the girls and regularly hitting the clubs with them. In the beginning she almost seemed like an innocent bystander to the reality TV game, popping in when Lauren and Heidi needed a shoulder to cry on or a pal to party with, and her affection for Justin Bobby seemed pretty real. So we're giving you number five, girl.

  • Audrina Patridge: Still True to Her Red Carpet Calling


    It really didn't take Audrina all that long to learn how to play the reality TV star game, snapping up paparazzi opportunities and making the most of her time on The Hills, which is actually why we don't have her higher on the list. Today Audrina is expecting her first child and is still hitting the red carpet reality star circuit like a champ. Get after it, lady.

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  • Kristin Cavallari: Then


    Laguna Beach's resident bad girl joined The Hills in 2009 when Lauren departed to shake things up, seemingly rekindling things with her ex Brody and also moving in on Audrina's on-again, off-again boyfriend Justin Bobby. We live for Kristin's on-screen antics, but she was very clearly willing to do whatever the producers asked of her to make good TV, which isn't real at all (except for being real smart because it helped her snag a ton of screen time). So, hello, fourth place.

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  • Kristin Cavallari: Traded MTV for Motherhood


    Today Kristin is a mother of three and wife to NFL player Jay Cutler. She's built her own impressive business, authoring books and positioning herself as a style and lifestyle expert. She has settled into life as a mom flawlessly and looks amazing. But reflecting on her reality TV stint beginning with Laguna Beach, she told ETonline: "Being 16, 17 in high school, not really knowing how to handle your emotions, or even realizing what's going on, you know, I put up a wall. And I really put up a tough exterior because I felt like they were really trying to take advantage of me ..." Explains a lot, don't you think?

  • Lauren Conrad: Then


    Fresh from her stint on MTV's Laguna Beach, Lauren Conrad was poised to take on Los Angeles in 2006 as an aspiring fashion designer who would intern at Teen Vogue. Now you're probably thinking, WTH, why is Lauren number three and not number one? Well, here's our thinking: While Lauren made for an amazing reality TV heroine, she never seemed quite suited for these shows because she was so driven and focused in the rest of her life. Clearly she saw The Hills as a means to get to where she is today, and while that's admirable, not entirely real.

  • Lauren Conrad: Left the Drama Behind


    Today Lauren runs a highly successful fashion and lifestyle brand and has authored several books. She married William Tell in 2014. We love that Lauren walked away from The Hills when she was ready to move on from the reality TV world and go full-force with her fashion empire. However, a recent Instagram post on her account shows a camera crew following her around. Apparently there's big news afoot from MTV, so we may just see this lady back on our TV screens soon.

  • Lauren "Lo" Bosworth: Then


    When Lauren's high school best friend Lo Bosworth finally started appearing regularly on The Hills, fans cheered. The straight shooter was a helpful ally to have around. We've always loved Lo because she tells it like it is and never seemed desperate to be a star of the show, but happy being an ancillary character, which just makes her very real to us, like the second most of the cast.

  • Lauren "Lo" Bosworth: Still a Straight Shooter


    Presently Lo is a published author with her own lifestyle website thelodown.com. "I participated in the show because they asked me to. I didn't know what I was getting myself into," she told The Wire about her initial stint on Laguna Beach. "During the production, I was totally in the dark and totally naïve. Only once the shows were aired on TV did I really understand the role I was hired to play."

    More from The Stir: Lo Bosworth's Shocking Secret About 'The Hills' Makes Us Question Everything

  • Whitney Port: Then


    Whitney Port at number one for realness? For why? Listen, initially Whitney Port's story line on The Hills revolved solely around her newfound friendship with Lauren during their internship at Teen Vogue. She largely stayed out of the drama while still maintaining her role as one of the four main characters. She never really had to sell her soul to stay on the show ... and she still got a spin-off called The City.

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  • Whitney Port: Keeping It Totally Real


    But here's the thing, even though Whitney starred in The City, it only lasted two seasons, which we attribute to the fact that Whitney is totally real and, therefore, not as prepared to drum up drama (like her show was not very dramatic at all). Today Whitney has her own successful fashion line, Whitney Eve, and married Tim Rosenman in 2015.

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