Nicole Richie laughs when I tell her she's a reality TV pioneer. But the star of VH1's new series "Candidly Nicole" can't help but acknowledge that when network viewers first met her and then-bestie Paris Hilton back in the early 2000s, starring in your own unscripted show in primetime wasn't exactly a thing. Richie and Hilton's "The Simple Life" was a kind of reverse "Beverly Hillbillies" that followed the high-maintenance socialites as they hilariously took on manual labor like farming.
While Paris proved to be a woman of, um, very few words, Nicole was the comic relief, uttering the most outrageous things -- no chill, no filter. All before the Calabasas Kardashians ever staged a family vacay for the cameras and even before Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari got tangled in a high-school love triangle on MTV's "Laguna Beach." So what I'm trying to say is there's levels to this reality thing, and Nicole, however modest, knows that too.
Debuting tonight (July 17) on VH1, her foray back into the genre is no less funny, though 32-year-old Richie is now a mom of two married to rocker Joel Madden. (While they don't appear on the show, dad Lionel Richie was a "ham" happy to guest-star and you'll meet sister Sofia and Nicole's crew.) "Candidly Nicole" sprouted from her Twitter, and Richie explained that she uses the social-networking site "to really make fun of myself and have fun and explore ... little slices of life that i really don't know anything about."
That means you get to see the seafoam-tressed celeb dive into raising chickens, gel nails, parallel parking and even online dating. "We really just cover it all," she laughed to MTV News. "I make myself the butt of the joke [on Twitter], and that's really what I do with the show too."
But wait, didn't Nicole's Good Charlotte hubby have anything to say about his wife signing up for a OKCupid account? Turns out, Nicole was just looking out for a romantically challenged friend when she went all "Catfish" on the premiere episode. Click the video above to hear Nicole explain her obsession with online dating and be sure to catch "Candidly Nicole" Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.