Fashion runs in Los Angeles native Whitney Port 's blood: her father Jeff owns apparel company Swarm, which produces the young men's line, Shades of Greigh, and backs her own fashion line, Whitney Eve. After graduating from Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Port earns a bachelor's degree in gender studies from the University of Southern California, before interning at WWD and Teen Vogue.
MTV develops a Laguna Beach spinoff with fan-favorite Lauren Conrad, featuring her move to L.A. as she studies fashion and interns at Teen Vogue. The show, which premieres in May, features Port as LC's coworker, Heidi Montag as Conrad's best friend, and Audrina Patridge as Conrad's neighbor. "The drama on this show is real problems, like, [am I] going to get fired" Conrad, 20, tells PEOPLE.
In the second season of The Hills, Port finally gets her time in the spotlight when Andre Leon Talley, Vogue Editor-At-Large, notices her leggy physique and insists she model for a Good Morning America spot. Outfitted in Hilary Swank's Oscar dress, Port makes her way down the stairs and falls on live TV. Although she's embarrassed, Port is eventually promoted to Fashion Contributor at the magazine, becoming Conrad's superior.
Port and Conrad appear as cover girls for Teen Vogue, where they intern. "Somehow, it just doesn't feel like reality," Ports tells the magazine of making the jump from intern to cover girl. Cover veteran Conrad added, "You'll get so many phone calls when it hits newsstands!" The following year, Port and Conrad leave their internships at the magazine and move on to working for PR agency People’s Revolution.
After putting in four seasons as Conrad's sidekick, Port nabs her own show, The City. Set in Manhattan, the spin-off follows Port as she works for designer Diane von Furstenberg. "Whitney was the person who really wasn't into the 'famous' career, modeling or acting," says executive producer Liz Gately. "But what I think is great about this new show is that you get to see her in a new light. She really opens up her personal life and there's a whole new set of variables – a new cast, a new city, and it's Whitney at the center."
The City premieres on MTV, featuring Port's new life on a new coast. On becoming a leading lady, Port says she looked to Conrad as inspiration. "I had a conversation with her that really made me confident with my ability to handle this," Port says. "It's very scary to have your whole life on camera but, in the end, I decided that it was an opportunity that I would live to regret if I didn't take it."
"I break down a couple of times a week, at least," the Cosmopolitan cover girl says. "It gets overwhelming. Sometimes I think that I can’t take this anymore. I just want to live a normal life." In October 2010, Port gets her normal life back when MTV cancels The City after its second season. "It's always sad when one major chapter in your life comes to a close, but for me, this is the beginning of an entirely new one," Port writes on her blog.
After showing her Whitney Eve clothing collection during New York Fashion Week, Port begins dating fellow MTV reality star Ben Nemtin of the bucket-list series The Buried Life. "I think he embodies all of the qualities of the perfect boyfriend," she gushes to PEOPLE in 2011, but the pair goes their separate ways later that year.
Hot on the heels of Conrad's engagement news, Port's rep confirms the star is set to wed boyfriend of a year Tim Rosenman, whom she met on the set of The City when he served as an associate producer. "It's super exciting. It's obviously really surreal," she tells PEOPLE of being engaged. "I'm trying to live in the moment right."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): whitneyport.celebuzz.com; Clinton H. Wallace/Globe; Ramey; Courtesy of Cosmopolitan; Astrid Stawiarz/Getty; NCP/Star Max/Filmmagic