Lauren Conrad knows a few things about hot clubs, cute guys and life in the fast lanes of Los Angeles. Best known for her starring role in the MTV reality series "The Hills," she's also the best-selling author of the L.A. Candy series, which follows young interns on the prowl. Perhaps in designer threads from Conrad's own clothing line, of course. Now she's back with a new series featuring a favorite L.A. Candy character, Madison Parker. Conrad, 26, chatted with USA TODAY's Craig Wilson from her home base, Los Angeles.
Q: Your newest book, out Tuesday from HarperCollins, is called "The Fame Game." What is it about fame that attracts so many people? It's like a drug.
A: I think it's just simply to be adored. The first thing you think of is people blindly loving you, and all the perks that come along with that.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hottest, where do you put yourself on the fame meter?
A: I'd be down at the bottom right now. I haven't been on TV for a long time.
Q: Did you ever wish you weren't even on the meter sometimes?
A: I think that I had a love/hate relationship with it. I felt like I should appreciate it, and it's lovely at certain times. And if you're able to inspire another person, that's the great side of it. And I was able to travel. That I loved.
Q: But it's not all fun and games being in the spotlight. What's the hardest thing about fame, do you think?
A: I think the level of criticism you're under is never healthy. I think that's why lots of people in Hollywood end up in rehab. There are the ups and downs. I was never a fan of the attention.
Q: Do you have a funny story about being "spotted" somewhere?
A: There were a lot of those. Most of the time it's great. They ask for a photo with you. It's a little overwhelming if it's a young girl, though. They can overreact. Cry.
Q: After you were on the cover of Teen Vogue and Seventeen, didn't people notice you more on the street?
A: If you're on the cover of any magazine, you certainly get recognized more.
Q: Your Lauren Conrad Style guide is now out in paperback. Any style tips you'd like to add now? Any trends?
A: That's a good one! Let me think. I purposely didn't put anything trendy in there. I wanted this to be a book that you could refer to for years. It's all very classic. Things come in and out. I didn't want that.
Q: You live in LA. Where should someone go to be seen?
A: Who do you want to be seen by? If you're an aspiring actor? My experience is so different. I didn't go through any of that. Most of my friends all tend to work in restaurants part time, doing acting classes on the side. I don't know! I was walking through a parking lot when I met my producer.
Q: You're heading to Africa for two weeks. Tell us more.
A: It's a little work and a little safari. I'm excited because we're going to see giraffes. I love giraffes. And I'm meeting with a bunch of groups, foundations. As soon as I finish my next book, I'll have more time, and I want to devote some time working for a cause. So I'm going to take a look at various groups.