Like Carrie and Mr. Big, Ross and Rachel, and Lorelai and Luke, there are only a handful of iconic TV couples that truly stand the test of time. And no matter how many years have passed since the finale, die-hard fans continue to ship that couple’s happiness to rerun infinity and beyond.
So naturally, when the most beloved TV duo of the early aughts, Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts (aka Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson), had an unexpected reunion this week — in N.Y.C.’s JFK airport of all places — the internet lost its mind. “Ran into my ol buddy from JFK to LAX #CaliforniaHereWeCome,” said Bilson on Instagram, posting a playful selfie with Brody, her former O.C. co-star and real life ex-boyfriend.
What fans don’t know about that little run-in? Just hours before, Bilson sat down with InStyle in N.Y.C. and chatted about the very possibility of a full-fledged O.C. reunion. “I would absolutely be open to it,” said Bilson, who was in town to promote her new partnership with La Marca Prosecco. “The O.C. gave me everything. I love it and I’m still super close to [showrunners] Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, so I’d follow them wherever they go. If they backed it, I’d 100 percent be up for it.”
When asked who she still keeps in touch with from the original cast, Bilson kept it real. “It would be great to see any of [my castmates] or, you know, run into any of them, but unfortunately we’re not really in contact,” she said.
Hours later, of course, fate stepped in. And now, we can only cross our fingers that the impromptu Bilson and Brody meetup might’ve helped spark the entire cast to reconnect, so we can all, once again, be welcomed back to The O.C., bitch.
Keep scrolling to read our full conversation with Bilson, where she talks all things O.C., including what Summer Roberts would be up to now, her favorite outfit from the show, and yup, whether or not she’s seen Mischa Barton’s turn on The Hills.
The O.C. premiered 16 years ago this month. Are you at all surprised that it still has such a cult following?
Yeah! I was so lucky to be part of something so special, and I still look back on it fondly. It’s crazy to think it was 16 years ago. I saw that and I was like, “Oh my God, we’re so old!” But now there’s a whole new generation that’s watching the show. I recently ran into Olivia Wilde [who played resident O.C. rebel Alex Kelly], who told me that she was meeting all of these young kids on the campaign trail, and she said, “There’s an O.C. resurgence of kids rediscovering it now.” I thought that was so cool.
Mischa Barton recently told InStyle that she’d be open to resurrecting Marissa Cooper if there was an O.C. reboot. Thoughts on that?
I mean, in that case, it might have to be a crossover episode with The Walking Dead! [laughs]
What do you think Summer Roberts would be doing today?
She definitely went down another trajectory. We know she was at Brown University and became an activist, and since she’s really good at arguing I like to think she’s probably a lawyer and maybe a bit of a philanthropist. But yeah, definitely still arguing with someone! That’s very important.
Did you have any idea that the fashion on The O.C. would become so beloved? There are tons of Instagram accounts that still celebrate the outfits, including one fan account that’s dedicated to the show’s going-out tops, @spaghettistrapsoftheoc.
No way! I would love to see that. I had no idea that people would love the fashion so much. It’s so funny to look back. Those looks are so specific to like, 2003.
Did you have a favorite look that you wore as Summer?
I remember those Juicy Couture velour tracksuits, obviously. It was season one and those were huge. I feel like the tracksuit has made a comeback recently too. Not that same one exactly, but a version of it. Matching sets are still very in.
Do you ever wear matching outfits with your daughter, Briar Rose?
Recently she made me match her toenail color, which I was a little apprehensive about because they were very bright and I’m more of a gray nail polish kind of girl. But I’d do anything for her! Not enough places make cute matching sets for moms and daughters. Maybe I should come out with a fashion line. My daughter would want to help me, I’m sure.
Did you get to keep any wardrobe items from The O.C.?
You know, I think I left my platform Rocket Dog flip-flops behind. [laughs] I don’t know if I actually kept anything! Everything kind of stays in the vault, so that’s a bummer. I did keep stuff from Hart of Dixie though. She wore a lot of short-shorts and for some reason I wound up with a few of them that, now as a mom, I would never wear again.
You recently had a mini Instagram reunion with a few of your Hart of Dixie co-stars, right?
Yes! I saw Scott Porter in a play that he’s in and Wilson [Bethel] was there, too. It was a nice little reunion. Hart of Dixie was such a fun show. It was so light-hearted, and I think people loved being transported to Bluebell, Alabama, for a nice little escape.
Have you ever watched back any old episodes of The O.C.?
I haven’t. I mean just the fashion alone makes me…I don’t know! [laughs]
Do you have any personal style regrets from the early aughts?
It was just one big fat regret. [laughs] It definitely was an interesting time for fashion. When the Teen Choice Awards were on last weekend, my friend sent me an old picture of my first Teen Choice Awards [in 2003] and the outfit was…really special. I had cuffed jeans, a black tube top, and hot-pink pointy pumps, and that was my look. I wore that to the Teen Choice Awards. It was like that pre-stylist time where I kind of just dressed myself. I don’t really regret anything though. I accept everything. [laughs]
Has your daughter inherited your love of fashion?
She always dresses herself. And I let her express herself anyway she wants. Right now, she’s really into dresses, but she does it all — she layers, she accessorizes. A girl after my own heart! It’s so sweet, and I just encourage it.
What fashion item are you excited to pass down to her?
I just hope she doesn’t grow out of my shoes too fast because I have really tiny size five feet. She’s definitely going to be taller than me, which isn’t a hard thing to do because I’m only 5’2”. Her dad’s [Hayden Christensen] side is super tall, and her legs are already really long, so I’m already like, “Ugh. You’re going to be wearing my shoes when you’re 10.” I’ll have to save some purses or something for her.
Are you excited to show your daughter The O.C. one day?
Maybe when she’s thirty she can watch it. Ok, ok, we can say in high school. But not middle school. [laughs]
How has becoming a mom changed the way you pick your roles?
It changes everything. First of all, I have to weigh spending time away from her because even if she’s there with me, I have to work long hours. It has to be worth it. And then second, I only want to choose things that she would be proud to see me do.
What’s the next thing you want to accomplish, career-wise?
It’d be super fun to do something kid-friendly that my daughter can watch now. Being the voice of a Disney princess is my life-long dream. [laughs] That would blow her mind. I always tell her, “You know, I know Anna [voiced by Bilson’s pal, Kristen Bell] from Frozen.” And she doesn’t believe me. She hates watching things with bad guys though. The first time she watched Cinderella, she made me fast-forward through the part with the stepmom. She was not cool with her.
Recently, you teamed up with La Marco Prosecco on their latest campaign. What can you tell us about it?
Yes! So for National Prosecco Day, I partnered with La Marco Prosecco for their “Celebreaks” campaign, which is about celebrating all of your victories — big or small — along with the things that you do just for yourself as a woman. As a mom, it’s super important for me to take time for the little things, like a bath when my daughter goes to sleep, or even set aside time to connect with my girlfriends. One of my best friends just moved away, so making plans to FaceTime is a big priority right now. My other favorite thing to do to relax is to go to the market by myself. [laughs] I just really love grocery shopping!
Since we’re talking about prosecco, what are you toasting to this year?
Oh, it’s always about my daughter. I’m constantly toasting to all of her accomplishments. Also, just the fact that I’m making it as a single mom and keeping her going is something I have to feel proud of everyday, you know? Sometimes I’m like, “Wow, I must be doing something right because she’s awesome!”
What’s her latest milestone?
Well, she’s four and a half now, and her latest thing is swimming. She’s so proud of it, and it makes me so proud because she feels so good about herself. It’s giving her this great confidence. She has no fear, which is awesome.
I know you’re a big Bachelor fan. Is that still one of your favorite ways to unwind?
Oh, yeah. It’s the only show I watch! Mainly because I have to go to bed at 9pm or I’m dead the next day. I actually haven’t watched any episodes of Bachelor in Paradise yet, though. I love to binge it, so I downloaded the episodes to watch on the plane later today. It’s the best one of all the Bachelor shows.
Who do you think should be the next Bachelor?
Originally, I was like Tyler [Cameron] needs to be the Bachelor, but now I’m like, that dude’s not gonna want to be the Bachelor. He’s living his best bachelor life, off of The Bachelor. I think he’s doing alright. [laughs] It’d be nice to see Mike [Johnson] as the Bachelor, but I think it’s kind of between Mike and Peter [Weber]. And that’s very even as far as entertainment value goes.
You’re single, so what would it take to get you to be The Bachelorette?
Oh, I don’t know. Honestly, I love the whole travel aspect of the show, but you have to be away from your kid. And there’s no way I would do that. I feel like Hannah [Brown] should be the Bachelorette again. She needs another run.
Speaking of reality TV, have you seen Mischa Barton on The Hills yet?
I haven’t! But everyone has told me that she’s awesome. Guess I’m going to have to download that for my next plane ride.
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