If the name Caroline D’Amore sounds familiar, it’s because you may have heard of her family’s pizza restaurant D’Amores, which has been a staple of Los Angeles for years. She also acted in movies, modeled and even toured the world with Paris Hilton as a DJ. But 2021 might just be her year.
In addition to the newest cast member of The Hills: A New Beginning Beginning, she also launched her line of pasta sauces, Pizza Girl, which is currently available both online and in the Gelson market in the Southern California region.
But this is all no surprise given the name D’Amore. “My family owns D’Amore’s Pizza. It’s a lovely little East Coast style pizzeria restaurant. I grew up catering and went to all the movie sets with my dad and helped? [because] my mother died when I was five,” she tells me. “So many nights I had no choice but to just go with Dad and learn how to cook and help with the business. So that’s kind of where my entrepreneurial side of the food industry started.”
While D’Amore launched the line in 2019 to great success and fanfare, the challenges of manufacturing and sourcing ingredients during the pandemic forced her to temporarily close her business. But that was not the only hurdle for the entrepreneur.
Life in Villa Carlotta
To further compound the business setback, her personal life also changed dramatically when she eventually got a divorce and left her Beverly Hills home. Due to a change in her life, D’Amore suddenly found herself in one of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles, Villa Carlotta. Located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, this legendary residence was designed by Authur E. Harvey and built in 1926 by Thomas Ince for his wife, actress Elinor Ince.
Dripping with old Hollywood glamor and Art Deco styling, it was designated a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Landmark in 1986. Villa Carlotta is an interesting place as a home base. Although they offer short and long term furnished rentals, it does not have the transient quality one would expect. It feels surprisingly equal parts hotel and community.
However, Villa Carlotta was probably the last place D’Amore could have imagined living. “I was born in the valley and moved to Malibu. I went to Malibu High and then I went around for a really long time, DJing. So I was traveling all the time. I had apartments in Hollywood. I had an apartment in New York. And then I got married and went to live in Beverly Hills. I was going through a divorce and then Covid hit and I immediately needed a place to live.”
When a friend told her to visit Villa Carlotta, she immediately fell in love with it. “It’s a little hidden gem and so special. It has so much history and it’s just beautiful.”
The apartments were designed by Studio Preveza, led by founder Christos Prevezanos. The combination of old Hollywood architecture such as beamed ceilings and large windows, along with modern furnishings, give the apartments a real charm that simply does not exist in most furnished rentals. Exceptionally curated, D’Amore’s apartment feels like a real home. The pink chairs even somehow feel like an extension of her pink hair.
A real community
While D’Amore could work all day in her apartment, she’d rather take advantage of the building’s amenities, including a rooftop terrace with great views and a pool that looks like it belongs in a European hotel. But she spends most of her time in the pool house, a separate structure with a bar and coworking spaces. She enjoys working and doing Zoom conversations in space.
“[I like] can lie by the pool, which is the most beautiful pool. You can see the sunset on the roof,” she says.
A new beginning for Pizza Girl
Villa Carlotta has been more than just a new home for D’Amore. It has been a kind of lucky charm. It is where she was able to build a life for herself after the divorce and happened to meet the investors for the relaunch of the Pizza Girl brand. “Our mutual friend lives in the building. And they come here [the pool house where we’re sitting] always. They kept in touch during COVID. They were actually locked up in Australia for two weeks, called me and they went crazy. They signed up towards the end of the conversation.”
In the beginning, D’Amore financed the entire project on his own. “In the beginning it was very mom and dad. I walked into a jar of Erewhon a few years ago and told them to try it. They said, ‘It doesn’t work that way. You actually have to go through the right channels.’ And I said, ‘This is how I do it. I’m here. Who can I talk to?’
She eventually brought her product to more than 100 supermarkets herself. “It just went on and on and then COVID hit. Every jar of sauce I sold out in two days with the big supermarket rush. And you would think that would be a good problem. However, all these big companies bought up all the organic farms. So small companies like mine were unable to source their ingredients. It was terrible, I cried, I was devastated. I’ve lost all my shelf space.”
The rest is still unwritten
But the entrepreneur is also a reality star and her life is about to change dramatically. Living in Villa Carlotta has actually made filming easier because the space is designed so perfectly. “Honestly, when I started filming The Hills, it was a nightmare. That’s why I was so grateful to live here in the Villa Carlotta, where everything is so perfect. And as long as you hide all your junk in the closet, you’re fine.” D’Amore tells me. “But you have a few cocktails, you settle down a little, and you kinda forget that” [the cameras] are there. I definitely made sure Pizza Girl pots were placed accordingly. Because we all need to get our businesses out there. And that’s really important. That’s the whole reason I did this show, as invasive as this one.”
As an entrepreneur with a chance to showcase her brand during the reboot of one of the most talked-about reality shows of all time, all of this has surprisingly brought stability to D’Amore’s life. “I think it’s such a good feeling to find my calling. I know so many people who struggle to figure out what they want and what makes their hearts sing. When I was little, I never thought I would become the CEO of a pasta sauce company. And it just kind of falls into place like magic.”