Lauren Conrad is a multiple hyphen now, but you might remember her as a teen queen in the early stories of the reality TV hit Laguna Beach. She went on to host its spin-off series, hillbefore deciding to leave the small screen and rotate widely.
Using her notoriety and platform, Conrad became New York Times Best-selling author, partnered with Kohl’s on retail collections, and in 2013 co-founded The Little Market, a nonprofit online fair trade store that economically and socially serves women artisans and their families in underserved communities around the world support. The organization just reached a milestone – 1.25 million hours worked for participating artisans in 25 countries.
Conrad’s partnership with Planet Oat Oatmilk, which will offer limited-time pop-up experiences to consumers in various cities this summer, Conrad told Scary Mom, certainly She is proud to have accomplished all she has – but her family’s well-being is her number one priority.
This, in part, brings her back to the idyllic California coastal town where she first became famous.
“The big picture, when I think about the things I’m proud of, my family and being able to find a normal life for us,” she told us Zooming. “We’ve settled down; we don’t live in Los Angeles, and [my kids] Didn’t really experience anything I’ve had for the past 15 years. So, I think they lead a pretty normal life. ‘Normal’ because they were so lucky. “
Conrad, 36, and her husband, musician William Tell, are raising their boys—Liam, nearly 5, and Charlie, 2—in Laguna Beach, where she grew up and filmed MTV reality show. For her, coming home isn’t surprising; it’s more calming.
“I’m really lucky to have grown up where I’ve been, and I’m so happy that they get to experience some of what I’ve done,” she said. “But yeah, it’s fun, right? Go back to your hometown. You go send your kids to school and you meet someone you haven’t seen, like, 10 years, and you’re like, ‘Oh, are you in this school? So, you made a small character? “
Not everyone is lucky enough to grow up near the beach, but these days, with the allure of the screen, Conrad knows how important it is for her own children to embrace the outdoors and learn to respect their environment.
“I do think growing up in Southern California, close to the beach, I was outside all the time — like, ‘Go play and come back when the lights are on.’ It’s nice to have kids active and spending a lot of time outside,” she said of her son. “I also think there’s something about growing up on the beach, like understanding the importance of taking care of it. That’s your playground; that’s where you spend your time. So I love them.”
Conrad said her children are “too few” to know who she is and what she does for a living. Still, she knew that one day they would find her MTV archives. She wants them to recognize the hard work she put into fulfilling her dream of being a fashion designer after she ended up on TV.
“It’s been fun,” she said of running multiple businesses. “I’m also lucky because in a lot of these industries, I can play roles of my choosing. I’m on the creative side, right? I take photos and help with product development. So it’s fun for me. And then with Kohl’s , obviously, it’s been a long relationship. The most recent launch was Little Co., a line for my kids, and we expanded into home decor. So that’s kind of what I’m focusing on right now in that business.”
Conrad continued, “I’m in a pretty good position right now. For years, I’ve been thinking, ‘What’s next? What are we going to do next?’ So I slowed down and focused on what I had. something and try to grow there rather than start another business.”
She’s also trying to make some time for herself amid the clutter of work and motherhood. During the pandemic, Conrad started gardening so she could be “in the yard alone for 20 or 30 minutes,” and now she’s playing tennis again.
“I’m working on it,” she said of embracing solo time. “I think I’m doing a good job. I’m trying to make it a priority, even if it’s a hobby, just doing something for me.”
Conrad was in New York for the Planet Oat pop-up when she talked to Terrible Mom, and planned to don sweatpants and watch a movie in her hotel room before flying back to California the next day.
“My husband is with the kids, so I always feel better when one of us is with them. When we’re both away from them, I feel a little bit bad. It’s hard to do,” she admits having Alone time, “but it’s important.”