As I waited in the muggy backroom of Pianos, a bar on the Lower East Side of New York, my thoughts drifted between wondering if I would recognize him and wondering if all venues below a certain size are required to have terrible ventilation. There were about a dozen people in the room, but I was sweaty enough to feel like I had been in the middle of a huge crowd. 

Suddenly, I spotted him. In a basic flannel, dark jeans, and a newsboy cap pulled down over his trademark locks, Justin “Bobby” Brescia, the bad boy heartthrob of The Hills, might as well have been wearing camouflage. But his trademark combat boots (with festive orange laces for Halloween) gave him away. As the folk cover band finished, Bobbyrock, comprised of Brescia on guitar and David Dariani on drums, took to the stage to set up.

It’s clear that Brescia’s camouflaged look is intentional. In the five years since The Hills ended, Brescia has laid low in comparison to his castmates. Spencer and Heidi Pratt have continued to be reality TV’s most hated couple and are clearly loving every minute of it. Lauren Conrad has her own GOOPy lifestyle website, Audrina Patridge inexplicably hosts an NBC show that airs after SNL, and Whitney Port married a producer from her Hills spinoff, The City

But what about the show’s most underrated participant? Since 2010, Brescia has been busy staying out of the spotlight. Staying true to his hairstyling roots, he created a line of hair products and opened a chain of salons in Southern California, Nicaragua, and until recently, in his Manhattan loft. Unlike his co-stars, being in the spotlight was something Brescia avoided. Until now.