My sisters used to be big fans of the reality TV shows, Laguana Beach and The Hills: translation, I have seen many an episode myself. If you’ve seen The Hills, you know the names Brody and Spencer. You also most likely think that they are the quintessential womanizing schmucks. A couple of faux rich kids who probably have difficulty calculating the tip on the $300 a plate LA dinner they charge to the parents’ Amex.
But, you’re wrong — at least in part.
At SXSW I stood in for a bit on the Personal Branding session and honestly was not impressed with what I heard. Then when I recently stumbled upon an article at TeamSugar talking about Brody and Spencer, I realized these two should have been the panelists. While it’s easy to pawn off the friends’ rise to celebrity as just another example of â€˜stupid American teens,’ sadly there is genius in the buzz and recognition that Brody and Spencer have architected for themselves.
In real life, Spencer acts as Brody’s chief strategist. He â€˜advises’ Brody on what relationships (i.e. women) Brody should pursue in order to gain maximum media coverage and cause controversy. For example, Spencer tried to get Brody dating Nicole Richie simply so he could portrayed as the guy who “got Nicole to eat”
I wish I could tell Pratt (and you) that he’s insane, but it says a lot about the current state of pop culture that he makes even an ounce of sense. After all, I’m here, having flown across the country to meet Brody Jenner. This wouldn’t have happened if Jenner hadn’t tried to get Nicole Richie to choke down a fry. And before Richie there was Kristin Cavallari (the moneyed blonde at the center of MTV’s Laguna Beach), and after Richie there was Lauren Conrad (the moneyed blonde now on MTV’s The Hills, a Laguna Beach spin-off). That these relationships are totally contrived is the point: Manufacturing fake realities isâ€”read slowly hereâ€”the only real dimension of Jenner’s and Pratt’s lives.
Interestingly, just like many other young entrepreneurs, Brody and Spencer are building their empire with the help of advisors and â€˜investors’â€¦
Jenner is now regularly flown to cities like Vegas and Miami because promoters believe parties will be hotter if he shows up. A personal trainer comes to his $2.4 million condo in Hollywood every afternoon to give him and his friends rooftop boxing lessons. He and Pratt have a fleet of cars (including a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Bentley Turbo) at their disposal, paid for by Jared Najjar, a member of their entourage they call the Godfather. â€œHe’s the only 24-year-old kid I know who has a Black Card,â€� Jenner says. As a believer in the Brody Brand, the Godfather, heir to a commercial-real-estate fortune, is helping finance Jenner’s â€œlifestyleâ€� line, Archangel, which consists of â€œpiecesâ€� like a $92,000 skull-and-diamond wallet chain. Jenner and Pratt also manage a rapper, Ya Boy, who is â€œblowing up on MySpace.â€� Neither of these endeavors is generating any real income, but they are turning Jenner and Pratt into obscenely TV-worthy entitiesâ€”and this, Pratt hopes, will be the income generator. They recently sold a show about Jenner’s love life to MTV.
But perhaps best of all, Brody and Spencer have no qualms whatsoever about how they portray themselves. In fact, they both abhor actors such as those who have gained celebrity by playing faux celebrities on television. In reference to Kevin Connolly who plays the role of Eric on Entourage, Pratt flatly stated,
â€œIt’s ridiculous. Why would anyone act, when they can just play themselves?â€�