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During Conrad's senior year of high school, she appeared in the MTV reality series Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in which she agreed to have her life taped. Upon graduation in 2004, she attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for one semester along with her friend, Heidi Montag. During the second season of Laguna Beach, she returned home and began taking classes at a local community college before subsequently transferring to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Conrad at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.
After the success of Laguna Beach, MTV developed The Hills, a spin-off series. The series originally documented the personal and professional lives of Lauren and her friends (Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge, and Whitney Port) while living in Los Angeles, California. The first season premiered on MTV on May 31, 2006. At the time, Conrad was an intern at Teen Vogue while living with then-housemate Heidi Montag. The series was later renewed for a second season, which was filmed from late summer 2006 through February 2007 and premiered on January 15, 2007. During that time, Conrad and Montag's friendship deteriorated, as Heidi was increasingly spending her time with her new boyfriend, Spencer Pratt. By February 2007, Audrina Patridge became Conrad's roommate after Montag moved into a separate apartment with Pratt.[8] Filming for the third season of The Hills began in mid-summer 2007 and lasted through March 2008. The premiere episode of season 3 aired on August 13, 2007. During that time, Conrad was able to revive her position at Teen Vogue and was offered a trip to Paris alongside Whitney Port. By March 2008, Port had already left Teen Vogue for fashion PR firm People's Revolution, and after asking Conrad to assist at an event, Kelly Cutrone invited her to work for her company. Filming for the fourth season of The Hills began in mid-summer 2008 and lasted through November 2008. The premiere episode of Season 4 aired on August 18, 2008. Filming for Season 5 began in January 2009, and the premiere episode aired April 6, 2009. Conrad confirmed that the fifth season would be her last.[9] She made her final appearance in the series on May 31, 2009. The program continued without her, with former Laguna Beach castmate Kristin Cavallari being hired as Conrad's replacement. In March 2010, it was announced that the sixth season of The Hills would be the last. There was much speculation that Conrad would make a guest appearance for the series finale. The series ended on July 13, 2010, after airing six seasons and 102 episodes. She did not appear in the finale, but later said that she filmed an alternate ending of the series with Brody Jenner. [edit] 2007-2009: Fashion and retail endeavors Conrad at VH1's 2009 Divas concert Conrad landed an internship at Teen Vogue while filming season one of The Hills.Conrad and her reality show appearances have been credited with improving sales of Teen Vogue. It was reported in March 2007 that since the second season of The Hills began airing in mid-January, newsstand sales for the magazine increased by double digits over 2006 sales. According to Lisa Love, the West Coast editor of Vogue who evaluated Conrad for the internship position, Conrad had to interview successfully in order to get the job, "regardless of what the cameras wanted". In January 2007, Conrad was named the first official spokesperson of "mark.", a line created by Avon and marketed toward young women. She was featured in the brand’s magalog and in the "mark." online community. Conrad was replaced by Ashley Greene in June 2010. In 2007, Conrad appeared as a satirical version of herself in the comedy Epic Movie. In 2008, Conrad made a cameo appearance in an episode of Greek. In May 2009, Conrad appeared as a cartoon and ironic version of herself in an episode of Family Guy (she is the exact opposite of her onscreen performance). Conrad had previously done voice work for the show in the episode Prick Up Your Ears in a spoof of Laguna Beach. Conrad's first fashion line, The Lauren Conrad Collection, debuted at the Mercedes-Benz LA Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in March 2008. In March 2009, Conrad announced that she would be taking a break from the fashion line. As a result, 2009's spring and summer lines were canceled. She earns an estimated $1.5 million annually for her television appearances, fashion line, and product endorsements. In fall 2009, Conrad launched LC by Lauren Conrad in Kohl's stores nationwide. Conrad appeared as a guest judge during Cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model. In August 2009, Conrad appeared on an episode of the tenth anniversary edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, playing for her charity: m.powerment by mark. She was asked one question for $50,000 and answered correctly after using her "Ask the Audience" lifeline. In 2010, she guest starred on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. [edit] 2009-present: Books and current endeavors Conrad released her first novel, L.A. Candy, on June 16, 2009.[17] Inspired by her personal life, the book focuses on a young woman who moves to Los Angeles and becomes the star of a reality show. It was a New York Times bestseller.[18] The second novel, Sweet Little Lies, was released on February 16, 2010. The final novel, Sugar and Spice, was released on October 5, 2010, along with another book, Style, which is about her experiences in and her knowledge of the fashion industry as well as being a style guide. In 2011, Conrad made another three-book deal with publisher HarperCollins. The books, titled The Fame Game, will be a spin-off series of the L.A. Candy trilogy and will follow character Madison Parker. Conrad launched a production company, Blue Eyed Productions, in early 2009. It has purchased the rights to turn L.A. Candy into a movie, in which Conrad would serve as an executive producer. The movie would be based on all three books. On September 24, 2010, Conrad announced during an On Air with Ryan Seacrest interview that she would star in an upcoming MTV reality series. The show would focus on her fashion career rather than focusing on her personal life, which she says "will be something very different" from The Hills.The series began filming in mid-October 2010. However, after MTV had viewed the pilot, the network decided to not pick up the series. MTV's head of programming, David Janollari, said, "She did do a pilot. There were talks about whether we could somehow manage to put together a special based on that footage but that's also a big question mark based on her interest in that and the finances. We decided not to go ahead with the show," later adding, "We love her! We would love her on our network! It was a great attempt but it just didn't feel like a perfect fit for us now." Conrad released a statement of her own, reading, "We sold a show to MTV, filmed it and are really proud of the final result. MTV felt the subject matter was too high brow for their audience and offered me the opportunity to change the show by incorporating more of my personal life. We agreed going into the project that this show would be an aspirational one, focusing on my career and my goals and not my personal relationships. We delivered the show that we sold and are sorry MTV didn't feel their viewers were savvy enough to appreciate it." Conrad is working on launching a new fashion line, Paper Crown, and is scheduled to be in stores by fall 2011. The line is her third collection after The Lauren Conrad Collection and LC by Lauren Conrad. Her now defunct reality show would have focused on the creation and launch of the line. In April 2011, Conrad, along with her hairstylist Kristin Ess and her makeup artist Amy Nadine, launched a beauty website called The Beauty Department. The site offers beauty advice and tips as well as how-tos and tutorials.