The Bravo network’s roster of reality programming, including the “Real Housewives” franchise, Tabatha Coffey’s takeover series, and “Millionaire Matchmaker,” has become so ubiquitous that it’s coined its own term: Bravolebrity. The network embraced this image wholeheartedly, launching a promotional campaign depicting its reality menagerie at summer camp together, with a solid emphasis on the “camp.”
Critics hold the Bravolebrity up as the prime example of “famous for being famous,” as the casual viewer would struggle to identify what most of these people actually do for a living. They have job titles most of us never encounter in real life: Fashionista. Lifestyle expert. Home staging consultant.
Too often, they are more clearly defined by their general lack of self-awareness, and a tendency toward throwing drinks in faces or overturning tables at the slightest provocation.
Brad Goreski first came to the public’s attention on one of the more benign entries in the Bravolebrity repertoire, “The Rachel Zoe Project.” When the series launched, it followed celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe in her home and work life, accompanied by her assistants, Taylor Jacobson and Goreski.
Season three launched without Jacobson, with an announcement that she had been fired, and insinuations from Zoe that Jacobson had stolen money and/or merchandise (a charge Jacobson vehemently denied.) At the end of season three, Goreski left the Zoe team to focus on his own career as a stylist.
Though he claims he gave notice and full disclosure of his plans, Goreski’s former employer made her displeasure known when the series returned for its fourth season, accusing him of poaching clients. Goreski has expressed frustration and disbelief with this turn of events, though it was hardly a surprise to those who follow the series. Apparently, no one leaves the “Rachel Zoe Project” with a glowing letter of reference.
The network seemed to be adding fuel to the fire when it announced Goreski would launch his own series, “It’s a Brad, Brad World,” following his stylist career post-Zoe. Considering the acrimonious relationship between the two, how could they ever coexist at the Bravo Summer Camp?
Surprisingly, those expecting a he said/she said bitchfest were not to be satisfied. Goreski’s series, which ended its eight-episode first season on Feb. 27, played for more modest takes. The focus was on his attempts at launching a career, and his life with his partner of ten years, “Family Guy” writer Gary Janetti.
Brad tried to build his client list. References to Zoe were kept to a minimum. No tables were overturned. They hired a dog trainer. The couple jetted off to fabulous… Alabama.
What made “It’s a Brad, Brad World” stand out amongst its Bravolebrity brethren was how shockingly catfight-free Brad’s world appeared to be. According to Goreski, that was the exact intention.
“I’m really proud of what the show represents: a chance to show my work, and my efforts toward building a career. And I’m proud of our marriage, that a gay couple is just like any other couple. The show affords me the opportunity to let people see that,” he says.
I’m speaking with Goreski by phone on the morning after the Academy Awards, which was a busy night for him — he dressed actress Maya Rudolph for the ceremony, and Rashida Jones for the Vanity Fair party afterward. I tell him I saw Rudolph on the red carpet, and thought she was stunning. And, true to form for the “SNL” funny lady, she happily confessed to Tim Gunn that underneath her gorgeous gown, she had plenty of foundation garments to keep everything in place. Goreski laughs at the admission.
“Most people, if they look really good, if the gown works, they don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of comfort,” he says. “Except for shoes. If the shoes aren’t comfortable and they’re going to be on their feet all night, those have got to go.”
With the airing of the final episode of “It’s a Brad, Brad World” and awards season now officially closed, Goreski is on to his next project, promoting his first book, “Born to Be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far,” which hits bookstores March 6.
“It’s actually been kind of a double life, continuing to work while the show was running,” says Goreski. “The book tour is the first chance I’ll have to interact with fans of the show. Except, like today when a woman stopped me after the gym and asked to take a picture. I am a mess right now, in my gym clothes, but my hair’s still done from Good Morning America at 3:30 this morning, but matted down, and I’m thinking, ‘This is not a cute picture.’ So [the tour] is much better.”
He’ll be making an appearance at Barnes and Noble in Buckhead on Friday, March 9.
“I’m excited to see Atlanta,” says Goreski. “I’ve only ever been to the airport. There’s some really good food in the food court there, though!”
The book, a combination memoir/style guide, traces his route from dressing his Barbies in his Toronto childhood bedroom to the A-List of Hollywood’s red carpet elite.
“I had already revealed so much about my life on the show, so I figured, ‘Okay, let’s put it all on the record.’ I wanted to speak to young people out there who think they can’t realize their dreams… I know for me, I thought I could never get in to fashion, New York seemed so far away,” he says.
Those doubts, combined with the alienation and bullying he experienced growing up, led to a struggle with drugs and alcohol in college. According to Goreski, his wakeup call was self-imposed.
“I made a choice ten years ago that I had to get away from all of that. I was going to live my life, get out there, take the risks,” he says. “I did, and I didn’t look back.”
As of now, there isn’t word on whether there’s interest in a second season following a Bravolebrity who isn’t inclined toward catty confessions and drink/table-tossing, but Goreski’s plans for the immediate future are clear. He’ll be promoting the book for a few weeks, then getting back to his day job, and bonding with the newest addition to his family — a puppy named Jay, who fills the void left by their beloved canine, Jasper.
That these are Goreski’s plans regardless of whether cameras are present may be the best argument for having them there.
“I try to make room for possibility. That’s why I’m always bouncing, it’s the energy of moving forward, pursuing my goals. Fashion is an expression of that excitement, the idea of ‘Who do I want to be today?’” Goreski says.
“That’s what we lose as we get older — that element of play, and that’s the level of expression we need to get back to. Play dress-up every day. It’s about taking risks. Not just your clothes. Life. There are no rewards unless you take risks.”
Top photo: Fashion stylist Brad Goreski brings his new book ‘Born to be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far” to Atlanta on Friday, March 9. (Publicity photo)