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 isread slowly herethe only real dimension of Jenner’s and Pratt’s lives.
The Conrad–Jenner union was forged five months ago, a week after Jenner and Richie “broke up.” You can watch the unraveling of Conrad and Jenner’s relationship in a multi-episode arc of The Hills, a show watched by 2.5 million people weekly. Pratt was the Karl Rovian mastermind behing these “branding efforts.” And he benefited too. “Basically, I made it, like, my mission to try to go on a date with every girl on The Hills,” says the guy who will proudly tell you he made $50,000 in high school by selling a photo he took of Mary-Kate Olsen drinking at a party. Pratt ended up “falling in love” with one of the Hills girls, Heidi Montag. Their drama dominates the current season.
In the future, Andy Warhol predicted, we’d all get our 15 minutes of fame; the reality is that we’ll all be sort of famous forever. 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. “He’s the only 24-year-old kid I know who has a Black Card,” Jenner says. As a believer in the Brody Brand, the Godfather, heir to a commercial-real-estate fortune, is helping finance Jenner’s “lifestyle” line, Archangel, which consists of “pieces” like a $92,000 skull-and-diamond wallet chain. Jenner and Pratt also manage a rapper, Ya Boy, who is “blowing up on MySpace.” Neither of these endeavors is generating any real income, but they are turning Jenner and Pratt into obscenely TV-worthy entitiesand this, Pratt hopes, will be the income generator. They recently sold a show about Jenner’s love life to MTV.
“Let’s see where Lindsay’s at, get her up in here,” Jenner says, reaching for his BlackBerry and texting Lindsay Lohan. He is seated at a back table in a lounge called Hyde, mixing himself drinks with a $500 bottle of Grey Goose paid for by the Godfather.