Nicole Richie may be staying out of the reality TV realm these days, but the mom of two is finally opening up about how her early stardom on The Simple Life shaped her career.

"I had already traveled a lot around my country and abroad, but I had never experienced America quite like when we were doing the show," Nicole tells Marie Claire (via E! Online).

"Before that, my whole world was between Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Alabama and Atlanta, where my parents come from, and I was also familiar with some of the southern ways and customs, but being in the central states was something completely new to us. Traveling is essential because it helps you grow. Learning about different cultures and beliefs is a wonderful process."

Despite the deep rift that eventually developed between her and longtime pal Paris Hilton after too much time in close quarters, Nicole credits the show with pioneering the reality TV format.

"We were filmed 24/7: in the bedroom, in the car, in the living room," says the star. "That was the most interesting part about The Simple Life, because it was intended to show what we were experiencing in the most truthful way. This changed later on, but at the beginning it was reality at its finest."

As for how her relationship is with Paris today, Nicole reveals, “Paris has been part of my life since I was 2 years old ... We'll always know each other."

Perhaps the biggest change in Nicole’s life has been triggered by motherhood, which she says  "makes you way more conscious of how you distribute your spare time.”

While Nicole is still busy working as a fashion designer, she says that her main focus these days is family. “Kids are so precious that your priorities change completely.”

Source: Marie Claire / E! Online