Since picking up his first copy of Vogue at the age of twelve, Brad Goreski has been obsessed with fashion. After interning at the famed publication -- as well as W magazine -- while attending the University of Southern California, Goreski was hired as the West Coast assistant at Vogue. It was there that he began to follow the career of stylist to the stars -- and star in her own right -- Rachel Zoe. After nearly a year of pitching himself to Zoe for a second assistant gig on her team, Goreski scored the job and has been working with the style maven since 2008.
As if working with some of fashion and Hollywood's biggest names wasn't nerve wracking enough, Goreski's new job came with an unexpected bonus (or nightmare -- depending on how you look at it): starring on Zoe's Bravo reality series, The Rachel Zoe Project. With the premiere of the second season of the show only days away, Goreski phoned us from L.A. to chat about the female fashion icons of his youth, career tips from Rachel Zoe, and why embellished jeans are the enemy.
Out: Were you stylish as a kid?
Brad Goreski: Actually, yes. I was obsessed with Ralph Lauren, penny loafers, cuffed jeans, ESPRIT, and Benetton.
Right from the beginning?
Yeah.I always kind of putting an outfit together. I also went through a gymnastic slipper stage, which wasnt very well received.
Do you have a specific memory of a birthday or a Christmas where you got one item that you were especially excited about?
We used to get our clothes for back to school. We did it up like really, really big. And my mom was very smart -- she said we could go either right at the beginning when everything came out and we could get a few things, or we could wait until like a month after school started and we would go take a day off school and go shopping at the sales.
Yeah. We could get more stuff. I still hold that -- I dont really buy retail anymore, I wait for the sales.
Who were your first fashion icons?
[Laughs] They were all ladies: Marilyn Monroe, Madonna. And then when the supermodels arrived it was Naomi, Linda, Christy, all of those.
That whole gang
A gang I so much wanted to be a part of -- a teenager bopping around with the supermodels.
Its like the George Michael video for Freedom 90 -- I wanted that to be my life.
Oh, totally. Absolutely. I wanted that to be my life, too.
Everything was so smoky and wet. I loved it.
Yep, flawless makeup -- no matter what the environment.
Even in the bathtub. So, when you were offered the chance to be on the show, were you weary of it? Or did you jump at the chance immediately?
I think I was more excited to be working for Rachel. The show was kind of a byproduct of having to work with her. So it wasnt that I jumped at the chance to be on the show, it was more that I jumped at the chance to work with Rachel. And whatever was part of the job description was something I was willing to do.
Could you put any restrictions on the cameras? Was there anything you could say was off-limits?
I just went with it. The show is about Rachel and her brand and what she does. My personal life is kind of something that I didnt really want involved with the show. Everything centers around Rachel and her world, so that was probably my biggest restriction but other than that you can clearly see from some of the things that were aired, there arent that many restrictions.
Do you feel like you were accurately portrayed on the show?
Yeah, I do. I was very green. I was trying to assimilate myself into Rachels world and Taylors [Rachels first assistant] world. It was a little difficult but that was the way Taylor acted, those were the things that I did, and those were things that happened to me.
Rachel ends up in the tabloids and on blogs all the time. Do you read press about yourself or about the show?
It depends what it is. My mom will send stuff to me but theres really no good in going into blog comments and stuff like that. So I dont really pay that much attention to it. I get so many emails a day as it is just for work so its hard for me to kind of sit down and -- I dont really want to delve that deep into it. I just hope people like what they see on the air and are entertained by it. As long as theres a positive response when Im out or whatever, thats all the good stuff. I dont really need to know the bad if there is any out there.
Your job seems difficult and harrowing enough as it is. Does the reality show aspect of it make it worse?
Basically they just film what goes on with our daily lives. So there are definitely days when you want to be alone in the studio at 8 oclock in the morning to have your coffee and get your head wrapped around the day. But youre being mic-ed and you have cameras following you around while youre doing everything. So in that respect, sometimes it becomes annoying to have so many extra people around you. But most of the time we dont notice it. Were just busy doing what we do. Theyre not there to like get in our faces. Theyre there to document whats going on.
What would you say the most valuable things youve learned from Rachel have been so far?
Definitely developing a thicker skin. Rachel and I are very similar in that were both really nice people and we both show emotion, but you have to develop a kind of armor. Thats one thing that has been very valuable to me. And then just on a daily basis, Im constantly learning from her and her expertise. Whether it be how to pick the right jewelry to make a -- shes taught me so much about styling that shes been the best teacher anybody could have. And also just to be nice -- to stay nice. Its easy to become jaded and annoyed and allow yourself to get taken away by things. But at the end of the day, just be nice.
What have you learned, if anything, thats been valuable from being on reality TV?
I think it was important for the second season to just stay open. When youre filming the first season, you dont know what its going to be like. You dont know what its going to look like, you dont know how you are going to fit into the reality world. So going into the second season, for me, I was just trying to be myself. I guess that worked the first season. It was interesting to look back and see my first six weeks on camera. Some moments I dont really want to relive, and some moments I find really funny and fun.
How is the second season different from the first?
Well, its a year later, so theres an evolution in my relationship with Taylor. She really took what happened last year at the Oscars and we both tried to work on the things that werent working between us. And we developed a really good relationship that can be very dramatic at times. There are definitely still confrontations, but I think viewers will get to see a more naughty brother/sister relationship. Last year a lot of the drama was just focused on myself and Taylor, and I think this year its threes a crowd. Its between myself and Rachel, Rachel and Taylor, and me and Taylor. You never know at any instance when they tables are going to be turned.
Last season it almost seemed like Rachel was Mama Rachel with the two kids who were always fighting in the back seat.
Right, totally. The first episode of the second season -- Ive seen the first two episodes and they are amazing. Ive been told by other people that they just build and build and build as we get towards the end, it really reaches a huge -- lets just say a lot changes.
Is there more crying or less crying?
Youll have to watch and see. But Ive definitely developed a thicker skin this year.
Who would you kill to style?
I love who we work with right now. Their styles vary so much and theyre all amazing women. One person who has definitely caught my attention is Emma Watson. I think that she is beyond chic -- like beyond her years. I adore her and shes probably at the top of my list. Shes one to watch.
What would you say is the most unforgivable faux pas that a man can make?
Im not really into embellished jeans -- like a lot of pocket embroidery, wide stitching. Just get yourself a good pair of Levis. Theyve been around for like a hundred years for a reason. And then another one thats more like a beauty concern is the threading and the waxing has got to stop. Get rid of the strays, go to somebody get a little pluck here and there, just clean the stuff up, open the eye up a little bit, but the skinny, skinny eyebrow -- [Disapprovingly] mmm mmm mmm.
What are your favorite trends for fall?
Plaid. Lots of plaid. Theres like a whole lumberjack chic thing happening. It started last year. Especially on the show, I rock the lumberjack plaid shirts, boots tucked into the jeans and stuff like that. And I think you really see that this year, and I love that look. I think it looks really sexy on guys and almost every single guy can pull it off, and it looks even better with a little bit of scruff.
Bear chic is all the rage right now, eh?
The Rachel Zoe Project airs Mondays on Bravo. Check your local listings and The Rachel Zoe Show website for more info.