Audrina Patridge has been living out of a suitcase for the past months, traveling everywhere from South Korea to Kentucky for her lifestyle show 1st Look. She has helped a horse deliver a foal, swum with whales, test driven a Ferrari, gone diving for abalone in 28-degree weather and, yes, eaten scorpions. “As long as you have sauce to dip something in, I’ll try it,” she says with a laugh. “I’m not squeamish.”
That might come as a surprise to fans of The Hills, the reality show that made Audrina a star and got her perfect bikini body on the cover of Maxim. Funny and self-deprecating — during our lunch she is quick to point out that the reason for her floppy hat is her dirty hair — Audrina is a daredevil in disguise. “I love the moment when you’re a little afraid to do something and then you push through,” she says. “That feeling afterwards of, ‘Wow, I can do this!’ is amazing.”
Audrina is also no fool when it comes to business: She invested most of her income from The Hills and has created a net worth of more than 12 million dollars. And she knows what it takes to stay around for the long haul. After The Hills, a stint on Dancing With The Stars and her short-lived VH1 series Audrina, she took time off “for the benefit of my soul,” she says. Her team of agents and managers told her it would kill her career, but she stood her ground. “After all those years of people telling me what to do, and picking me apart every time I left my house, I felt lost,” she says. “I had to figure out what I wanted for my life. It was terrifying, but I knew it was the right decision.”
Audrina is engaged to Australian BMX racer Corey Bohan and is expecting their first child this summer. “I can’t wait to get married and have kids! In a candid interview, a joyful Audrina opens up about her relationship with Corey, her desire to be “the best mom” (she wants four kids!), the beauty secret she brought back from South Korea and much more (see the exclusive interview and photographs below). Her controversial time off was clearly the right choice: She has discovered what she wants in life, and it shows. • Ulrica Wihlborg
Ulrica: Let’s go back to that time shortly after Dancing With The Stars and your VHI show Audrina, when you decided you had to take a break from Hollywood. What was going on?
Audrina: I felt I had to take a year off for my soul, for myself. I was so used to waking up and being told what to do, who to hang out with, what to say, what I was doing that night, who I should date…I felt I was losing who I was. I was like, ‘What do I want? I don’t know who I am anymore.’ So I took a year and lived by the beach and I didn’t leave. I rode my bike everywhere, I lived a simple life and I took that time to figure out what I wanted.
Ulrica: Did you have a breakdown?
Audrina: No, it’s not as if I was losing it, I just felt I had to get in touch with myself. When you’re afraid to leave the house because everyone’s picking you apart, it’s time to take a step back. My family completely supported me, but my [business] team didn’t like it that much.
Ulrica: Because you might be forgotten.
Audrina: Yes, once you’re out of the spotlight for a year, you’re forgotten about and, honestly, it was hard to get back in a little bit. When I told my agents that I was taking a year off, they were saying, ‘Audrina, this is going to kill your career! Do you want to throw it away?’ But I knew that if I didn’t take a break, I would never want to come back.
Ulrica: You’ve turned 30. How does that feel?
Audrina: In some ways, it’s scary to turn 30, but mostly I feel fine about it. I’m ready to be 30. I’m over the 20s!
Ulrica: What’s your relationship like with your fiance Corey? You’ve been together for a long time.
Audrina: We both love each other. But it’s been a struggle. We’ve been together for eight years and I feel really comfortable with him. I’ve always been a relationship girl, a one guy kind of girl. I want to be with someone that I’m comfortable with and who knows me and I can talk about anything with and who knows my family.
Ulrica: You’re engaged and pregnant with your first child!
Audrina: Yes! I love kids. I can’t wait to have kids. I’m going to have lots of kids, like four! Once I settle down and have kids, that’s going to be my main focus. I want to be the best mom.
Ulrica: Do you have any contact with the other friends you had on The Hills?
Audrina: I talk to Kristin every now and then, and Heidi and I talk every month. I also touch base with Brody [Jenner] and Frankie [Delgado]. I don’t really talk to Lauren [Conrad] or Lo [Bosworth]. We went our own separate ways. We weren’t all friend before The Hills, and we were kind of friends for the show. Even when we were on the show, I still had my life and my friends outside the show. I had two separate lives, in a way. But we’re cordial. There are no bad feelings.
Ulrica: Your travel show, 1st Look, seems to be the perfect fit for you.
Audrina: I’ve always been very spontaneous and I love going on adventures, so it’s been really great. I like to push myself and challenge myself to do new things. It’s always been in me since I was a kid. I’m willing to try almost anything. I like to conquer my fears. To me, you’re not living if you’re not pushing yourself. You have to get out of your comfort zone.
Ulrica: Tell me about a moment when you’ve been really scared and pushed through your fears.
Audrina: Believe it or not, but Dancing With The Stars was terrifying! I was so beyond nervous. It was really hard to go out there and perform in front of a live audience watching your every move. I felt terrified and inside I was so scared, but I did it. I pushed through, and afterwards it was the biggest feeling of accomplishment. You have to push through and have faith that you can do it, and not let that little voice in your head tell you you’re going to fail.
Ulrica: You recently went to South Korea for your show.
Audrina: It was really cool. We went to a village on the border to North Korea where we went diving with a group of women in their 60s to 80s. The water was freezing cold. It was only 28 degrees outside, so you can imagine what the water was like! My fingers were white and blue. But they did it, so I did it, too. We caught abalone mussels and ate what we caught for lunch.
Ulrica: Did you learn anything you’ll incorporate into your own life?
Audrina: All these women looked incredibly young, so I asked them about the secret to their perfect skin. They told me they ate lots of vegetables, but that their secret was using sesame oil with every meal. White sesame is good for your skin, and black sesame is good for your hair. It just reminded me that beauty is more about what you put into your body, and anything you eat will show up on your skin and your hair. So now, I try to eat a lot more sesame oil!
Ulrica: What’s been one of your most emotional experiences so far?
Audrina Patridge was photographed exclusively for Sweden With Love by Elizabeth Messina. To see more of Elizabeth’s work, please follow her on Instagram and visit her award-winning blog Kiss The Groom. All photographs @2015.
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