Heidi Pratt Borrowed Money From Lauren Conrad for Her First Pair of Jimmy Choos

Money Talks, and so should we. Here, powerful women get real about their spending and saving habits.

Heidi Montag
Photo: Monica Ahanonu

“They say I'm superficial / Some call me a bitch / They just mad cause I'm sexy, famous, and I'm rich,” an auto-tuned Heidi Pratt (née Montag) trills on the titular track of her severely underrated 2010 debut album, Superficial. Fresh off her stint on MTV’s The Hills, the then-23-year-old reality TV star had a lot to brag about: six-figure paychecks, a closet full of designer clothes, and countless tabloid covers with her other half, Spencer.

But growing up in a humble home in Crested Butte, Colorado, Pratt was singing a slightly different tune. “I always assumed we were really rich because my parents owned a restaurant and did such a good job providing for us, but we were definitely middle class,” she said recently by phone. “Their restaurant actually got shut down once or twice, and sometimes they would struggle to have groceries.”

It wasn’t until The Hills that Pratt really started making money, though she’s always had a taste for luxury. “In high school, I always fantasized about shoes,” she said. “I loved Carrie Bradshaw.” In fact, even though the reality show that made her famous mostly chronicled the dismantling of Pratt’s friendship with Lauren Conrad, she has Conrad to thank for her first designer pair. “Before I got my first Hills paycheck, I borrowed money from Lauren so I could buy Jimmy Choos for the MTV VMAs,” she said. “I paid her back eventually.”

Nearly 13 years since the show first aired, Pratt, along with her husband and their son, Gunner Stone, is reportedly making her triumphant return to the small screen in The Hills: New Beginnings, a sequel based on the original series set to air sometime in 2019. Ahead of the premiere, Pratt dished on the reboot, her biggest shopping regrets, and how much Hills money the cast was actually making.

On her shopping strategy... Once every few months, I’ll allow myself to get something, but I’ll be really smart about it and make sure it’s something classic that I’ve really thought through. I just got a Gucci fanny pack. It was a logical purchase because I can’t carry backpacks, since I always have a diaper bag, and I can’t carry purses either.

On sharing expenses… Spencer and I have a ton of expenses for Pratt Daddy Crystals. We pay for the product and the artist—there’s a carver who designs each crystal. Then there’s the packaging, the stickers, the shipping, four full-time employees. Creatively, it’s all Spencer, but I do the payroll and the accounting, so I have to be the bad guy. Taxes continue to be really stressful for me.

On the bigger spender in the household… Definitely Spencer. I try to rein us in, but it’s hard, because sometimes I want a thing or two. But then if I get something, he wants something too.

On supplementing their income… We have a few Instagram partnerships and our podcast, Make Speidi Famous Again. That’s been pretty successful.

On her biggest money mistake… Spending all our Hills money. Back then, I was very impulsive and bought whatever I wanted: clothes, shoes and bags — always from Hermès or Elyse Walker. Going out to eat, trips. We took so many trips to Cabo. I wish we listened to our parents and saved more. We’re still playing catch up.

On the highest-paid cast member of The Hills… Obviously Lauren. Everyone else was very hush-hush about their finances. It was a good paycheck throughout, but not crazy. The last season was really high. In the beginning, we got $30,000 per episode, then toward the end, we got $100,000 per episode.

On her fashion indulgences... I definitely have a few Birkins. Worst-case scenario, I can sell them, but we haven’t gotten there yet.

On what she wishes she knew when she was younger… Save more money. You don’t realize how little you’re actually making after agents and lawyers and taxes and managers. You’re really making about 20 percent of your money, and then you have to pay taxes on the full amount.

On the best thing money can buy… Opportunity. You can have certain experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Money can be a really positive, powerful thing. I think that’s why so many people need it. It’s a necessity in this world.

On how the success of The Hills changed her life… It’s challenging for me because I wouldn’t want to have history repeat itself.

On returning to TV… It makes sense to show the evolution of the characters and see where our lives are. Everybody is so different. Honestly, I’m so in mom mode — that’s my main focus and number one priority in life at this moment. TV is secondary. I’m very protective of who’s around Gunner and what’s going on. I haven't left him since I’ve had him — I haven’t even had anyone watch him, not even my mom. It should make for some interesting scenes.

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