‘The City‘ returns for a second season Tuesday night on MTV at 10:30pm after the premiere of ‘The Hills.’ But if you think you know what the show’s like based on the first season, think again. It’s shifted from a show about Whitney Port in New York to a “Devil Wears Prada” -type series, featuring young women trying to make it in the cutthroat fashion world. Joining the cast is Roxy Olin, who moves in with Whitney and immediately starts to stir things up. We sat down recently with the sexy new vixen to get her take on the MTV series, find out what Olivia’s really like, and find out just how “real” these shows are.
How did you come to be on ‘The City’?
I’d done a few episodes of ‘The Hills, ‘and I realized that that wasn’t really where I was at. They were in their fourth season, or whatever it was, and I didn’t feel comfortable going into it, when it was already pretty much established. I met the producers though through it, and then this last year, I was in a place where I was like, “Wow I really want to be in New York. I really don’t wanna be in LA anymore.” But I wanted to still be acting, so that’s what’s tricky. The other love of my life is fashion – I lived in New York two years ago and it really called me back. So Adam DiVello (the executive producer of ‘The City’ and ‘The Hills’) came to me and wrote me this really great email about possibly doing this show. He felt that there was a real spot for me on it, they were re-starting the show, trying to reboot it. My mom said why don’t you just meet with him and see how it goes. So I met with him and Sean Travis, and it just really spoke to me – what they were offering about it, and what they were saying.
I then talked to my parents, who were both anti-‘The Hills,’ and both of them were like “I think it’s right.” It’s really classy – it’s way more about business, about fashion. At the same time, it is a performance in certain aspects. It’s not “acting,” but it is an extension of myself. I really believe in Adam’s vision- I think he is brilliant at this. Even though it goes against my parents’ way of looking at acting and all that, as they said, the times are changing. And either you can run with it, or you can go against it and you might lose. I made the deal as long as I was allowed to do ‘Brothers and Sisters’ at the same time. I came here and did my trial episode and I related to Whitney so much. We had known each other before, but that was at a different time in our life, and we had lunch and I was like “Yes,” we get along so well and I love working with her. She’s one of my best friends now like ever. So it kinda just happened like that. It was really quick. In two weeks I was like no, then I was like yes, and then I was here in New York.
How much of it is “real” on the show?
It’s so funny. You see only so much obviously – and it’s not like we don’t know when we’re filming. But at the same time, what you see is an extension of ourselves. You definitely see strong parts of our personalities. But the accent – and really only wanting to see one part, that is where the privacy comes in. But it’s definitely not 100 percent reality. But it’s also not 100 percent acting. We don’t memorize lines, there’s no script to it. So, I would say it’s 50-50. It’s hard to say that it’s only reality though, because that’s not really the truth. And yet, it’s not scripted. I’ve heard some girls say, “Oh, they’re completely acting.” And I go from doing ‘Brothers and Sisters’ to doing this, and there’s a big difference. It’s a different type of performance. It is a performance to a certain degree. We film for hours, and I’m really close to the crew, but they only show the part of me being completely brutal (which is a side of me) – I like to think of myself as brutally honest. It shows a lot of that side, but not a lot of me being very emotional or sensitive.
It seems like a completely different show – from Whitney in the show to a career-oriented almost “Devil Wears Prada” show:
It’s a completely different show. And I think that’s what really got me wanting to do it. It’s very different from ‘The Hills.’ ‘The Hills’ has its thing, and it works, and it’s great. I really respect the vision of that show – which is about the drama of your life. And this is more of the drama about work. I mean you will see later in during the season a lot of the boy drama, but it’s mainly focused on careers. We’re in New York, we’re ambitious girls – and there is no time for slacking off here. If you want a career as a woman in New York city, you have to cut throats. It’s showing that aspect of New York. In LA you can have a little more of the social life, it’s a little lazier, it’s a little different and that’s what excited me about doing the show. New York is so fashion to me. You walk down the street and there’s all these different types of looks, and different types of people and I think ‘The City’ this year is really trying to capture New York city, and not Whitney from LA in New York city. It’s really different.
What’s it like working for Kelly Cutrone (of People’s Revolution)? What’s she really like?
She is amazing. She’s wild – she’s insane. The thing that you don’t see about Kelly on TV is that she’s really maternal. So if she loves you, she takes care of you. But at the same time, she has no patience for any type of drama outside of the work. It’s like, or if she doesn’t approve, it’s her opinion or the highway. There is no middle. She says what’s on her mind, and I’m the same way, so we definitely butt heads. She can be brutal – she can be really harsh. But it’s all from a place of caring. And if you know that, which has taken me awhile, and I’m starting to see that if she believes in you, she’ll give you the time of day, and yet she’s harsh and she can be scary and mean or whatever. But she’s really mean if she doesn’t like you, and then you’re out of the office and she’ll never talk to you again. But she’ll be mean in a different type of way, she doesn’t take any of our BS – no patience for that. It works for her though – she’s doing three different TV shows, and she has a daughter. That’s where I saw the real Kelly come out, the real Kelly. She’s an amazing mother. Her daughter comes in, and she totally changes. Then she’s like “back to work.”
What is your “role” on the show? How has your relationship with Whitney evolved?
I think my role on the show is the vixen. I think Olivia is “the bitch” – yeah she’s definitely the bitch. I do love Whitney’s style, but it’s very different from mine and I think I’m a very opinionated person, and that can come off as very bitchy and can come off as negative. I do stand up for Whitney though, which you’ll see later on. And I think all of my places of being “the bitch” is out of me being protective. I’m a loyal friend. I think me and Whitney get closer as the episodes go on, and yet I constantly – we come up against each other because I think we have a real friendship so we can. I don’t deal with BS very well, and if I don’t trust someone I let them know – and that can come off as bitchy or whatever. If I don’t like you, I’ll let you know I don’t like you – and that’s where my drama comes in. It’s also why I think that I’m on the show. I don’t trust a lot of the people that Whitney has gotten involved with here and I worry about her like that so it comes off as a bitch, but I just think I’m being a protective friend. I feel the need to fight her battles sometimes, which isn’t right, and I try not to do that anymore. She has her own issues to deal with. I definitely play the vixen.
Olivia – come on. What is the deal with her? Is it all an act?
I feel the same way – every time I meet her I’m like let’s really talk – what are you really about? No, that’s her. That’s really her. It blows my mind. I think the producers don’t want me near her at all – I feel like they keep us away from each other because I will go nuts on her. I can’t take it. There have been a couple times where we’ve interacted and I’ve been like, “Is she for real? For real?” And she’ll just leave if I’m there – she’ll just get up and walk away. We’re just different types of vixens in that way I guess. She’s definitely like more conniving. I was brought up in a family where morals are very huge and everyone is treated equal. And at the end of the day, you have to get through in life. Sometimes you have to be not necessarily the nicest one, but everyone is equal. And the people that are superiors, they are superiors because they have more knowledge than you. I don’t know where Olivia’s dad is, but somebody needs to whip her into shape. I think Erin (who works with Olivia at Elle) is amazing and I think she really tries to do that, but you can’t teach someone a lesson if they’re not really willing to look at themselves in any way shape or form. It’s amazing that she is still even present – none of us like her.
What kind of boy drama are we going to see? Will we see Jay again?
La la la…. Umm you might see a little Jay. See I don’t know Jay very well. There are some new boys however. I think it’s definitely a new show like that. It’s a little more like ‘Sex and the City’ – we’re all single. Trying to find guys here in New York is hard – you don’t know who to trust. It’s so exciting because in LA me and Whitney go out and try to find guys and somehow they’re related to us in some way shape or form or went to Crossroads. And it’s like frustrating – but here it’s all new. But at the same time it’s all new trouble.
What’s it like living with Whitney?
I legitimately live with her. I’ve lived in New York now for only three months, so it was quick. But she’s great to live with. A lot of our drama is in the workplace, not as much at home. We’re pretty good roommates – she makes me coffee every morning. She’s more of a morning person. I can cook dinner, she can’t cook – so we work well like that. And we’re both really nerdy really. You don’t see much of that, but we’re both homebodies and like to have dance parties in our rooms. So we have fun.
How was it growing up in your family – Dad and Mom are both actors and work together on ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and your brother is also a writer on the show.
It’s funny, growing up, when I was really little, my parents did ‘thirtysomething,’ and I think my mom. Well my mom is really funny – she’s a character, and is my best friend in the entire world. She’s by far who I talk to the most out of anyone in the world. Growing up with her, she’s such an actress. So she always would come home and if she has cancer in her role on a show, she has cancer at home. I’ve learned to love it. I always like to put on a show, but my mom is more of like the serious actress. My dad is hilarious – he’s amazing, we’re a lot alike. I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones at age three, I think my dad always wanted to be Mick Jagger – but it never quite happened.