Cutler waited in the next room as Cavallari met with media in the employee lounge and discussed the women's shoe line she said she's been dreaming of designing since she was 19, and he was on hand as she posed for photos with her mostly female fans, some of whom began lining up for the 2:30 p.m. appearance when the store opened at 10 a.m.
"I think a lot of girls look up to me because I'm a strong woman," Cavallari, 26, said of her appeal. "I say what's on my mind. I go after what I want. In that sense, I'm a good role model. (Also,) when I was in high school and on TV, girls that were my age were going through the same problems I was and could relate to me."
Cavallari -- whose shoes are available at ChineseLaundry.com and vonmaur.com, and who has her own jewelry line for glamboutique.com -- rose to fame when she appeared on the California-based
"I don't know," Cavallari said. "That's probably a better question for the fans."
It helps that Cavallari's love life has always been a hot topic among tabloids. Also, she elevated her profile over the years by making cameos on
Still, Cavallari said you shouldn't expect her to single out Cutler's teammates or opponents in public. While supermodel
"I think it's probably best I stay out of that area," Cavallari said. "It's very easy for me to lose my mind. But out of respect for Jay and the profession, I don't think it's my place to say anything."
Cavallari will, however, stand up to sports fans and writers who question their personal life. When the sports world mocked Cutler last week over the E! story that he proposed to Cavallari via text message and sent her the ring via mail — keep in mind some of these people are the same die-hard fans who feel proposing on the jumbotron during sporting events is romantic — a frustrated Cavallari took to Twitter to point out that Cutler had proposed the first time around in Cabo San Lucas (they called off their first engagement months later but are now set to wed sometime this year).
"I get so heated," Cavallari said. "I could sit here and say it doesn't bother me, but it does bother me. It makes me so mad writers can write whatever they want and get away with it and people will believe it. That's the part that drives me crazy. Headlines are so great in a sense that they can take a little bit from an article completely out of context and blow it into something it's not. Some people really only read headlines. And from there it's an awful game of telephone."
Of course, if it was the more fan-friendly
Cavallari too had a "rep" after "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills." She seems to have since overcome it and is now concentrating on a new chapter of her life — one that involves motherhood, marriage and her shoe and jewelry lines. With Cutler likely listening in the next room, I asked if she had ever encouraged him to soften his image the same way she did.
"Even if Jay came out and was smiling and was incredibly sweet with everyone, people would still find a way to focus on the negatives," Cavallari said, laughing. "It's very difficult to change the perception people have of you. I honestly think it took me having a baby for people to look at me in a different light. I've been me for eight years in the public eye but people like to focus on one part of your personality. It's very difficult to change your image once it is what it is. … It helps that Jay has been doing (
With other media outlets waiting to speak to Cavallari and fans waiting to meet her, I thanked her for her time and walked out of the room just as Cutler was entering it. Given that I had to walk around the 6-foot-3
Maybe he didn't hear me.
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