Talking with Kaitlin Cassidy about Paris and Saratoga

kaitlin cassidyAfter last week's post about Saratoga Springs native Kaitlin Cassidy and her appearance on the MTV reality show Paris Hilton's My New BFF, people had a lot to say. And many of the comments were, uh, kind of snippy.

We figured it was only fair for Kaitlin to have a chance to respond, so we got in touch with her for an interview. And we gotta say: you'll probably think about her differently after hearing her answers.

This interview was conducted via email.

You grew up in Saratoga, went to SUNY Oneonta. How'd you end up in LA?

I got home from college in the summer of 2007 with plans of working at my job for Saratoga Dance Etc/Bunheads Dance Accessories. I had come home with a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and initially had no plans of leaving Saratoga. I noticed a bunch of my friends had plans to move out of the area and then I met my boyfriend Matt Drag.

From Waterford, Matt had already lived out in California for a few years, and was on a year long break at home before he returned to LA that fall. We started dating and got serious very quickly. When it came time for him to leave, he left me with the option of coming with him. At first I declined, and after I thought about it for awhile, I decided I had to do it.

It was a sudden and adventurous decision. I moved out in October 2007. I didn't come out here to be an actress like every one else does. I actually had a job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car when I first got out here! Now I'm a Personal Assistant/Nanny for actress EG Daily. The family I work for is great and kind of like my "Cali-Family."

So, how/why did you get hooked up with this Paris Hilton show?

The way I decided to audition for the show was kind of a joke actually. I had seen that they were casting for the show through casting friends I know on Facebook. I sort of made a joke about auditioning to one of them. Next thing you know I'm a mile away from my apartment trying out for the show.

A few months, and 25,000 submissions later, I got the call. I had done un-airing pilot work for the same casting company before. I talked to my boss about doing the show, and she was cool with it so I went through with it.

What's your real best friend think about all this?

My real best friend(s) think it's funny. My whole sorority, my dance company from college, my highschool, all of my friends from home and out here. They are all watching, all laughing and calling me right after.

It's weird and funny to see someone you've known for years on TV. I would definitely watch if some one I knew was on the show.

And how about your parents?

My parents think it's funny. I'm 24 years old, I'm a big girl now.

The thing is you have to take it all lightly. I know a lot of people think its "silly," but they still watch it! My Mom, Dad and Stepparents miss me so they like to see my face.

I was sent a comment on a blog suggesting my family and friends "adjust their values" if they thought of this as an achievement. Maybe they should adjust their priorities if the show bugs them that much.

So, what was it like shooting the show? What were the other contestants like?

It's really neat to see a project like this all come together. The process is a lot different than you would think. These people do shows like this all the time. Even though reality TV can seem relatively simple, its a pretty big production. Ironically, I'm really drawn to the behind the scenes aspect of the process.

I made a lot of friends actually. Of course, as things arise, and as the drama unfolds, some things can change. We are pretty much all friends. I have learned that you have to accept people for who they are. No one is going to be your perfect match as a friend, and the quicker you accept that, the easier the friendship will be. Everyone on the show came from very diverse backgrounds and ways of life. That's the recipe for great TV.

We have this theory that Paris Hilton's not actually a real person -- she's an actor who's part of some kind of ongoing performance art piece? How close -- or far off -- are we?

No, she's real. But every one comes off a little different on and off camera, including myself. She's very sweet in person, I promise. Absolutely gorgeous as well.

What do you ultimately want to get out of being on this show?

Although it was automatically assumed, I never said I wanted to be an actress. I believe everything happens for a reason, and if this opportunity leads me to another then so be it.

If not, that's cool, too. I will still come home twice a year just as excited and proud to be there. The least I can hope for is getting home a little more often!!

As we saw on AOA last week, people can be kind of (OK, a lot) snarky when it comes to this kind of stuff. How does make it you feel when people accuse you of being shallow for being on one of these shows?

Can I just say that I think people took me going on this show ENTIRELY the wrong way, not to mention WAY too seriously. (I'm addressing the blogs, of course.)

I live in Hollywood, this is what people do. The biggest industry here is Entertainment. If I am offered an opportunity I am not going to pass it up. My friends and family know me and they know that I'm not shallow. *If people still want to take reality TV this seriously after all these years, that's their problem.*

It has been quite entertaining to read along, but a huge waste of time. I think people are taking my being on the show really serious, and I don't think it's that serious. You know what's contradictory? Complaining about a show on a blog and then watching it.

You said on your MySpace blog that you love Saratoga. What's your favorite thing about the town?

The thing I miss the most about home is that all around hometown feel. The atmosphere in Saratoga is irreplaceable.

I miss the simplest aspects of Saratoga. The air is fresh and smells like grass and flowers. The driving and parking is a piece of cake. People are family oriented. I love the local businesses, boutiques, and eateries. I miss sitting at my dinner table, or on my deck barbecuing with my parents and siblings.

Going home about twice a year keeps me sane. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in Saratoga Springs. It's a great asset to New York State. Although I miss it horribly at times, California is great, too. LA is a great place to be at my age.

This interview was lightly edited.

photo: MTV

Comments

I'm relieved at Kaitlin's tongue-in-cheek attitude, however, what it is and how it looks are two totally different things. Not unlike my wacky disappearing ink trick or metal hand buzzer. Heheheheh, gotcha!

For everyone still worried about our local young people, I'd like to remind them that 1999 Albany High School grad Moira Mack Muntz is part of Obama's White House communications team.

And for the record, I totally got to level 9 on Tetris today. Not trying to brag, but, I think it's pretty clear who the real champion is.

We have this theory that Paris Hilton's not actually a real person -- she's an actor who's part of some kind of ongoing performance art piece? How close -- or far off -- are we?

I cna't say exactly how true this is, but I once read a pretty depressing story that Paris is actually a very private, down to earth person, and that it was her father who really developed her "personality" and pushed her into the public spotlight. Apparently he wasn't happy with the family's finances and was/is using her youth and name for his own monetary benefit. According to this story, Paris' goal was to become a veterinarian, which, if true, definitely changes my opinion of her.

"I had come home with a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and initially had no plans of leaving Saratoga."

"I didn't come out here to be an actress like every one else does. I actually had a job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car when I first got out here!"

Because the best place to use your Graphic Arts degree and satisfy your deep burning desire to work in that industry is to get a job at a car rental place in California, unlike those idiots that want to be actors and actresses and foolishly get jobs as waiters and waitresses.

I'd say my opinion of her really hasn't changed at all after reading her well thought out email responses. I would bet that the word "like" had to be edited out multiple times before sending her email.

Still not buying it. The "I'm just doing that as a joke" angle has been played to death; let's face it, who seriously admits they do reality TV to launch a career as a rocket scientist. At the end of the day, joke or not, you are still supporting the worst that TV has to offer, and therefore should expect a healthy dose of public mockery (hey I get that and I'm not even on TV). Whether she is "real" or not, Paris Hilton's public persona is a disaster, as Pantaloons said earlier, "an unapologetic drug user, racist, proud-to-be-stupid-and-irresponsible female chauvinist pig".

"I live in Hollywood, this is what people do", I love that. I once dated a girl from Newfoundland, Canada; I definitely should have moved after she left, they are really big into baby seal clubbing over there: this is what people do.

Anyway, indeed, nothing to get too serious about. I'll tell you what made me a little sad when AOA had that story last week. A few days earlier I was at RPI's EMPAC waiting for a show ("Beacons"). I sat down and opened "Inside Rensselaer" for the first time. In this issue, I read several portraits of smart young girls making a difference. I wish they were the ones on the spotlight. As as parent, yup, that's who I would be proud of.

For the record, I'm still not remotely interested. In MTV, Paris Hilton, Ms. Hilton's show, or Ms. Cassidy.

Then Slacker, why are you here?

It must be really comfortable for you people to be sitting in your little offices or at home with your lap tops secretly blogging and posting comments under confidential names. Kaitlin is enjoying life and putting herself out there, no facade, no fake name. That takes guts. And who are you to judge someone and say that this isn't the kind of person you would be proud of? If your child/sibling/friend did this I feel sorry for you if you would judge them this way and not be supportive. If you don't like the show, or reality TV in general, why are you reading an article with the subject of the show in the headline? Just because you would never put yourself on a reality TV show doesn't give you the right to judge someone who does - she has a lot of courage to pick up and move to LA and put herself out there. Life is too short to hate.

Kaitlin - you go girl!

I think the more pressing issue here is whether or not she was seeing Drag when he was competing on a Double Shot at Love...I kid, I kid.

He said he's here for the record; I'd go with Bowie's Scary Monsters, Slacker.

Agreed with -S ... someone wouldn't go on this show "as a joke" unless you're Benji from Howard Stern (who actually led the online competition in votes to get onto the show... but he couldn't take time off to film the show, and I'd guess that MTV didn't want him either...)

It's ok that she's on the show. But trying to act as if there's something to be respected here is a little over the top. I'm sure it's fun to be on tv, so I bet it was a good experience... but she has to know that being on "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" is going to say something about her.

Maybe after the exposure on this she can be considered as a contestant for the next season of Rock (or Flavor) of Love?

Good point, I really need a bigger office, and a better fake name.

@Quito: the more pressing issue here is to find Kaitlin's dog before it's too late!

Oh yes, Jon, I say LIKE alllllllll the time. Like all the time.

What are these jobs in the Capital Region where people have time to sit online all day and comment? SIGN ME UP!!

And Pantaloons, I really enjoy your comments, as always (no sarcasm here).

And for the record....Enterprise RAC was named one of Business Weeks top fifty companies to launch a career...several times.

"Just because you would never put yourself on a reality TV show doesn't give you the right to judge someone who does - she has a lot of courage to pick up and move to LA and put herself out there"

I have nothing against reality tv shows or reality tv "stars." But a reality show in which the ultimate prize is to be friends with Paris Hilton? I put that in the same league as Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, I Love New York, etc...

Let me just apologize for the comment above where I said maybe she could be considered for those "flavor" shows... that insinuates that she'd want to be on the show, which we obviously don't know, and I kind of doubt. So if you're reading this, Kaitlin, sorry about that.

I don't have a problem with Kaitlin, I just have a problem with these shows in general. And maybe we're just taking it out on her because she's a part of it, but... lets instead just say that MTV nowadays is absolute garbage ;-)

It must be really comfortable for himalish to be sitting in some little office or at home with a laptop secretly posting comments under a confidential name. Who are you to judge someone and say that this isn't the kind of life they should be proud of? If your child/sibling/friend did this I feel sorry for you if you would judge them this way and not be supportive. If you don't like the comments, or this blog in general, why are you reading any articles here in the first place? Just because you would never lounge around in your underwear in mom's basement, covered with orange Doritos smears and with only a growing mountain of empty Mountain Dew Code Red bottles to keep you company doesn't give you the right to judge someone who does - we have a lot of free time and a good thesaurus on hand to come up with snarky comments day in and day out. Life is too short to hate, unless someone is hating on something or someone you like.

As someone that grew up in Saratoga with Kaitlin, I just have to sit back and laugh. You people honestly have nothing better to do than sit here and try to mock her?
You are making mountains out of molehills and she's laughing all the way to the bank.

Who ever said that because she got a degree in Graphics that automatically means she claims to have a 'burning desire' to pursue a degree in that field.
Those young adults who work at enterprise put in 60 hours a week with no breaks much of the time... Which is probably why she quit & found a much better, more interesting & fun job as a personal assistant.

My bet is that most of you on here criticizing her, are sitting in your little 5' x 5' cubicles - an some 9-5 job that you absolutely hate and have worked at the past 15 years and you are just pissed off that you've let living you're life slip through your fingers while you work away for the weekends... hoping to somehow fill these voids in you're pathetic lives.

So stop being jealous of a young beautiful girl who is putting herself out there, broadening her horizons & living life to the fullest...
maybe you should all strive to be a little more like her & enjoy the one life you've got.

Go Phish, I can't disagree with your last statement. :)

If reality shows didn't get such good ratings they would have been gone a long time ago....but they do very well. Thats why I always tell people not to watch it if they don't like them, because it only contributes to ratings and feeds the fire.

"Thats why I always tell people not to watch it if they don't like them, because it only contributes to ratings and feeds the fire."

There's just something about the MTV / VH1 reality shows that get on my nerves. I admit I've watched my fair share of reality TV. Survivor, The Apprentice, Top Chef, True Beauty, Beauty and the Geek, Hell's Kitchen, the list goes on and on... but something about the reality shows on MTV / VH1 gets to me. ____ of Love, I love NY, Charm School, Pick Up Artist, and now this... it honestly upsets me that this is the culture that they're impressing upon "kids" nowadays.

@Kaitlin: Thank you for telling me not to watch the show. Appreciated. Didn't think about it. Now can we get back to more important matters and Go Phish's very legitimate question: what do you think is under Bret Michaels' bandana? I'm really afraid of Googling. For serious. Also you forgot to give London a biscuit this morning.

I agree, I usually only watch talent-based reality shows i.e. American Idol, Top Chef. Other than that I like Intervention on A&E and Locked Up Abroad on National Geographic. Those shows will have you on the edge of your seat.

"This interview was lightly edited."

The uncensored & unabridged version of this interview will be airing this Sunday exclusively on 60 Minutes.

I won't even touch somebody calling people out on anonymity...anonymously. As for the other stuff?

ON KAITLIN
We all know the reasons why she did it. I do think that people went a little TOO far with their comments, but only in the sense that I rolled my eyes a little. Especially when they came across as sounding like a 70-year-old complaining about "kids these days" with their crazy mohawk haircuts and snap bracelets. And you know, I understand WHY one would jump to the defense of Paris, particularly since she's on the show itself. I mean, it only makes sense from a PR standpoint. It does seem as if the tune's changed a little bit, but whatever.

ON HUNGRY TIGERS
My stance is still pretty clear - I dislike Paris Hilton, her concept, and her show. For the interests of fairness and research, I watched the first five minutes of the show. In that five minutes, I saw a goofy bit (that had already been done on another show) with Paris in disguise and her dropping the term "Hungry Tiger" over and over again in a desperate attempt to create another catchphrase. It worked only because it's so ridiculous I can't help but use it.

ON HYPOCRITES
It's not really hypocritical for me to say that I think her character is questionable and her fame confounding and yet still discuss her. That's sort of like saying that I can't call a train derailment that injures hundreds of people a tragedy just because I wasn't on the train itself.

ON VH1'S CHARM SCHOOL
That guy Striker sucks and I don't understand why he's on there.

Oh come on London, make the deftly stunning leaps of logic that others have and ask how we can all spend so much time commenting incessantly during the day! Look, it's got be either-or here; are we cowardly basement-dwellers who have wasted our lives or wage-slaves who have wasted our lives? Come on folks, figure out a straight story, at least, or else we're just sitting in some 5'x5' cubicle in a basement somewhere wistfully staring out he window at all of the wasted moments of our past while constantly hitting F5 on a local small-town blog.

I mean, obviously someone who is happy with their life has no reason to come to a blog and criticize others, even make fun of their personal lives, right? I mean... right? Oh also, in case you missed it, did you know that kettles are black?

Phish, you're using the word culture a bit liberally, unless we're talking a laboratory context.

God, this whole thing is so embarrassingly dumb, and that's coming from me.

Why can't we all take Kaitlin's answers at face value? Maybe she really does not take it seriously. Sure, something could be said for her particular choice of reality show, but, maybe we should cut her some slack for being human and prone to imperfect judgment at age 24. Granted, I've never made a mistake in my life because I'm perfect in every single way, but from what I hear, gaffes are a natural part of growing up for most of you mortals.

See Kaitlin? I'm totally defending you. Which begs the question.. is god drinking again?

Another reason why we see so many of these shows is that they are much cheaper to produce then your typical comedies and dramas. I give her credit for taking advantage of the opportunity. Can't blame her for taking the job at Enterprise to pay bills. Through her current job for EG Daly, I'm sure she gets some exposure to Hollywood contacts. I had to IMDB Daly to get an idea who she was but she actually worked with Paris on a National Lampoons movie. This day and age you have to take what's served up to you.

I, for one, would be thrilled to buy himalish, London, Kevin Marshall, and all the other anonymous bloggers a beer at the next "Hops-n-Hate Happy Hour."

Guys, in case you're confused - my real name isn't Kevin Marshall. Kevin Marshall is actually an online persona I, a professional actor, created. You may also know me for my other famous role, as "Ray J" in "For the Love of Ray J".

"For everyone still worried about our local young people, I'd like to remind them that 1999 Albany High School grad Moira Mack Muntz is part of Obama's White House communications team."

Didn't know this Pantaloons! Go Moira!

*sigh*
Here we go again.

I lived in Hollywood for a time, and in my experience, the entertainment stuff... yea, it is what people do. My apartment complex was full of aspiring actors/writers/directors. Almost every morning I would get stuck at the light in front of NBC Studios and see a swarm of people dressed all in black and waiting for auditions/casting calls/whatever that nonsense is. On more than one occasion a famous actor/actress would wander into the office and just chit chat for a bit.

Coming from somewhere that is completely normal, and ending up in that... was surreal.

I find it funny that people's goals are so low that they think of it as an achievement that someone has "put herself out there". I hope we won't be seeing her following in the footsteps of Paris (another famous person who put themselves out there a little too often).

My whole point was that there is no great achievement in getting yourself on a show that prides itself on vapid superficiality and is hosted by a spoiled rich kid whose only claim to fame is spending Daddy's money and getting drunk.

Call me a spoilsport if you want, Kaitlin. Since you are "putting yourself out there", you will have to expect that a large percentage of the population with the whole idea is just stupid.

"You know what's contradictory? Complaining about a show on a blog and then watching it."

First you assume that AOA readers are going to flock to watch this NEW version of the same old crap called reality tv starring Paris Hilton. I really don't think that many are doing that so much as deriding reality tv as a whole. But then again, negative commentary about a show that's put out for public consumption, and marketed to teens should be expected, no?


So Kaitlin, please let the *haters* know you don't care, by doing interviews where you constantly tell the *haters* to leave you alone.

Keep feeding it.

Have we lost our ability to differentiate between what is news and what is clearly not? Such a story has a comfortable (and appropriate) place in People magazine, etc., but not in a newspaper. Everyday there are young people and older aged folks, from Saratoga Springs and the surrounding capital region, accomplishing great things in the U.S. military, law, engineering, medicine, and the arts. Additionally, those people (from this area) that have participated in Teach for America or The Peace Corps., contributing their minds and energy to various global and humanitarian needs; Until EACH AND EVERY such accomplishment and product have been covered and praised by our community's newspapers, there is no business nor reason in covering nonsense.

To see poor judgement of our journalists regarding what is 'news', by dignifying superficial, wasteful television and its 'actors', is utterly disappointing. In looking at the big picture, our unhealthy fascination with celebrity-ism and those trying to move from lower tier to higher tier within that world, is much responsible for the broken state of our society's social considerations and economy; from distorted body images, to children having sex, to spending beyond our means and thus becoming a credit-based economy.

If the sensibility is gone from hometown journalism, in terms of what is worthy and valuable to print, and read, and term 'news', frankly, it is very sad.

Avi- I'm from Saratoga and know that a lot of people care about seeing someone they grew up with on the news no matter what it is for. Everyone she knows bought a paper and saved it when Kaitlin was in it. You have no right to tell me or anyone else in Saratoga what to care or read about. also in response to your comment... "To see poor judgement of our journalists regarding what is 'news', by dignifying superficial, wasteful television and its 'actors', is utterly disappointing." My response to you is if you care so much why don't you go to a news website and blog about politics, the peace corps, the economy, etc.. you are just as utterly dissappointing and wasteful as the people that you blog about. Kaitlin isn't any of those things, She is an amazing humanitarian and is actively involved in various charities you shouldn't talk about people you don't know. Kaitlin, myself and our other friends are reading what all of you people write and hysterically laughing at you obsessing over her choices so I guess I should be thanking you for the "real new's" that you have provided us. This must be some kind of joke.. Do you know what is sad?? That your actually blaming Kaitlin that children are having sex, people have disorted body images and our economy is credit- based and falling apart. Paris Hilton's my new bff may be not as mature and relevent as other shows but it's reality television, what do you honestly expect?? What amazes me is that people are actually upset that Kaitlin and the other contestants aren't adressing the need for social security reform while on my new BFF. You need to accept this show for what it is.. entertainment. If you want news don't watch MTV and then be upset that there is nothing informational on the channel. Aside from maybe Paris, the show doesn't reflect or tell you anything about the people on it, it is purely in good fun. so Get a life and let these people live theirs .

Rio,

Why are you being so flippant to Avi? Most of the readers here are going off the information they have been provided about Kaitlin. You don't have to know someone that has wilfully put themselves in the public eye to criticize them. Thats the nature of people in general. Everyone has a right to spout their opinion, even you.

And Avi did not blame Kaitlin, but the whole MTV influenced generation. Anyone can see from turning on MTV that society has placed importance on being famous, buying everything and anything, and being amazingly beautiful.

No one is arguing the entertainment value, People are arguing the value people put on these shows. Mainly teens who are force fed this new reality- "You aren't somebody of value until you are famous with tons of money and tons of BFFs."

I can't believe this crap gets more comments than the real news.

O noes, I'm contributing. Damn.

I'm being so "flippant" to avi because Kaitlin was there for me when everyone else wasn't so now i'm doing the same for her. It's called being a good friend. The whole paragraph wasn't about him it was about all the bad comments in general. And when you post something like what he wrote on a blog about Kaitlin, who do you think gets accredited to all of this? It's like having an anti government rally on the white house lawn and then claiming it has nothing to do with the president. I'm just standing up for a good friend that's getting a bad rep because people write shit like some of the comments on this blog. I would consider myself a member of your so called "MTV influenced generation," and i'm planning on starting law school in the fall and joining the peace corps when I get out. I have a BS degree in Political Science and founded two nonprofit charities in this year. MTV may influence me for entertainment purposes, but like I said before this is all in good fun. We're not idiots just because we like to watch our friends on a funny show. The main point i'm trying to make is people need to stop attacking girls who just thought it would be a good experience to be on TV.

Someone missed the point of Nicks post.

Anyone with a child or teenage sibling, can see where the "MTV influenced generation" idea plays into reality. Maybe you don't/can't see it Rio, but it has become an issue. Nick reiterated what Go Phish commented about.

It's nice to see that you aren't a total screw-up Rio. Not that anyone asked. But you want to know who is getting accredited to this, Paris Hilton and MTV. Not Katlin the innocent actress formerly of Saratoga.


Word your posts better if you weren't lashing out at AVI, and rather all the negative comments as a whole. Because that's defiantly how it read.

I just read that Kaitlin worked her way through a pickle, caviar, and sardine cocktail like a champ to stay in the BFF game. Since those are some of my favorite things, by the transitive property, Kaitlin is now one of my favorite things.

So all you "Hailtins" out there can just go spit.


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