By Tanner Stransky
Updated February 16, 2011 at 05:01 AM EST
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Image Credit: Eric McCandless/ABCMTV’s long-running reality series The Hills may have ended last summer, but that hasn’t slowed star Kristin Cavallari down. Just this week, Cavallari appeared on the vaunted RuPaul’s Drag Race as an interview subject for the contestants (read my recap of the episode!). Tonight, she’s got a guest spot on ABC’s critically lauded comedy The Middle, which stars Patricia Heaton as the mother to three rambunctious, wacky kids. Cavallari phoned up EW to chat about her role, as well as her future plans in the television sphere. You might be surprised about where you’ll find her in the future (hint: not in front of the camera…much).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you a fan of The Middle before this guest spot came up? How did you get involved?

KRISTIN CAVALLARI: I had seen it a few times but didn’t watch it every single week, so when I found out I was going to be on it, I Tivo’ed it, and now I watch every episode and I’m really into it now.

Tell me a little bit about this role — you’ve got this hot chick thing going on, right?

[Laughs] Well, I’m Axl’s biology teacher Ms. Devereaux, and his band is filming a music video and they need a hot girl for it. So they film me without me knowing it. One example is they’ll ask questions and be sitting there in class and they’ll be filming me on their flip phone, and then I’ll have to do jumping jacks. So it’s stuff like that.

Did you have to audition?

Well, I had read with the casting director for a different pilot about a year ago. So he remembered me and then I met with all the excs over at ABC and then so the two of them together just kind of came up with this role for me.

So were you working with mostly just Charlie McDermott, who plays Axl?

I didn’t have any scenes with Patricia Heaton. I worked only with Charlie, but I met them all at the table read and Patricia Heaton was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

So what’s next for you? What’s your plan? Are you pursuing acting full force?

Not really. I’m focusing more on producing. I’m working on one show in particular. I just signed a deal with a production company, but we’re waiting to talk about it until we have a network. So, I don’t really want to talk about it yet but producing reality shows it just kind of where my focus is.

Would you star in it?

I’ll be on one or two episodes but I really want to focus on being behind the camera.

That’s an interesting switch from spending so much time on camera.

[Laughs] I know.

So it appeals to you more to not be on camera, not be scrutinized and whatnot?

Yeah, it’s more like the paparazzi stuff, and I’ve been spending a lot of time in Chicago and been kind of out of the spotlight for a little bit. It’s been very nice. So that part is very appealing to me. And also just being able to be in charge and calling the shots and kind of putting everything together I enjoy. And I think that so many years of being in front of the camera on these reality shows, I think I have a pretty good idea of what will hopefully work.

What have you learned? After being in front of the camera do you now find yourself saying, like, “Oh this is why we did it that way”?

Yeah definitely. I mean I don’t want to give away the secret. [Laughs] You know, Laguna Beach and The Hills were both really successful, and I think I have a pretty good idea why. A lot of people have tried to redo it and recreate it and no one’s been able to do it. So I don’t want to give away the secrets but I definitely think there is a formula to it.

Okay. Some of your old castmates are prepping for their own reality shows. Are we gonna see you on any of those?

No. [Laughs] I don’t have time for that.

Anything else going on?

I designed a shoe for this company ShoeDazzle. And I just got the first round of that. So that’ll come out in May. And we’re excited about that.

Are they sparkly or something? I mean, ShoeDazzle

No, no. That’s just the name of the company. They’re a little wedge for girls.

Anything else on your Hollywood bucket list?

I would love to have my own shoe line. That I would absolutely love. Really, just getting some great shows on TV that I’m producing for me is the most important thing right now. And also to be able to have a personal life and balance the two.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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The Middle

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