Another season of The Rachel Zoe Project, another new assistant.
After amicably parting ways with Brad one year ago, fashion maven Rachel Zoe kicks off Season 4 (premiering Tuesday at 10/9c on Bravo) with a surprising revelation: She and Brad are on the outs. She says he poached clients behind her back after he left. "It's not the first time I've been used. I would say it's going to be the last time, though" Zoe says.
But who has time to dwell on that drama? Zoe's got a new assistant, Jeremiah, but she's also dealing with a new baby, six-month-old Skyler Morrison, the launch of her first fashion line, and a whole new creative team. "There's also a lot of new people on the show and in my life that are pretty incredible — there isn't a lot of fighting and pettiness, I can tell you that! Like, I don't know if there's any!" Zoe says. "OK, maybe a little (laughs). We're all just kind of a family, and it's pretty great. It's the best it's ever been."
Below, she tells TVGuide.com about balancing work and Skyler (she takes him everywhere!), why things between her and husband-business partner Rodger are not as bad as they look on the show, and where things stand with Brad:
How are you juggling being a mom with your job, which now includes being the head of your own clothing line?
Zoe: It's what all the working moms told me before: You just figure it out. And you do! My time is more efficient and more focused now. I don't know exactly why that is, but I think it's because everything that takes me away from my son is something that I need to get done quickly. I find that I'm not really scatterbrained anymore, if that makes sense.
Good for Skyler. Helping mom out already!
Zoe: He's the greatest thing ever. I do take him everywhere with me unless it involves a long car trip or an environment that I think will be bad for him. He comes to all my meetings, he comes to work with me every day... He's my everything. My heart aches when he's not with me.
Who are Skyler's favorite designers?
Zoe: He doesn't have any! Whatever is the most comfortable is for him. I have favorite designers for him, though. Bonton, for sure, Gucci Kids is amazing, Dior Kids, Ralph Lauren, Gap... it goes on for days. It's so much fun.
He's even rocking over-sized sunglasses like mom already.
Zoe: He has really, really light eyes that are very sensitive. I always have a hat and glasses for him. But in the case of that photo, it was meant to be a little bit of a joke. [Laughs] There were a lot of paparazzi one day when I was at Whole Foods. I turned around and they were in the window while I was buying produce. So I literally put the glasses on him. It was sort of a joke. He does love having them on, though!
Last season, you and Rodger seemed to be doing battle on a weekly basis. There was pen-throwing at one point! Scenes from a Marriage came to mind. How bad — or not bad — did it actually get?
Zoe: I mean, Rodger and I have the best relationship of many married couples. We're best friends, and we've been together for 20 years, you know? Literally 20 years. I don't know how to explain it, but Rodger and I, we really don't ever "fight." I call it bickering. My friends laugh at us. We actually are completely dependent on one another and really are happiest when we're together. In the show, when you're filming, there's a lot that doesn't get shown.
In the premiere, you two butt heads again when it's time to hire your new assistant. Have you figured out a way to work together in your company where it's less... tense?
Zoe: Look, as business partners, we're never going to agree on how we approach business. Rodger is a business-financial-minded person; I'm a creative person. Very often, we're going to be far apart on things. But I almost think if that wasn't the case it would be very strange. You need both. He's much more practical-minded and I'm much more, 'Oh, it's going to be fine.' I run myself and my business pretty much on my gut instinct. [When we hired my new assistant], he'd be like, "Well, I don't know if he's the most experienced," blah, blah, blah...
Tell me what you saw in Jeremiah, because he didn't appear to be as qualified on paper as the other candidates you interviewed.
Zoe: The thing that I really look for in people is enthusiasm and excitement and, not to sound really sappy, that fire in their eyes. When you meet people who are very jaded and are like, "Whatever, whatever, whatever," I think, "If this is how they are coming in, this is not good." Jeremiah had a tremendous attitude, he was really excited to learn and he clearly had great style and great taste. That means a lot to me. The worst thing you could ever get is people who think they know everything.
It's revealed in the first episode back that you and Brad had a falling out after he left the company; you say he poached clients. Right off the bat, in what ways did you feel Jeremiah would be different from Brad and your other former assistant Taylor, with whom you don't speak?
Zoe: I wouldn't really even put them in the same sentence. I think everyone is their own individual, but I would say there is no similarity on any level between Jeremiah and Brad and Jeremiah and Taylor. He's a different person entirely.
Do you talk to Brad at all? Bravo recently ordered his reality show, It's a Brad, Brad World.
Zoe: I don't. We really don't have a relationship at the moment. But, you know, more power to him. Whatever he wants to do is all good by me.
You now have your own clothing line, which will be at Fashion Week this fall. How much does that cut into styling and working with individual clients?
Zoe: I'm still working with my clients as much, and I still use all the different designers — it's not like I'm putting my line front and center. When I'm wearing my styling hat, it's always going to be like that, and I'm always going to give as much love and attention to styling and to my clients as I always have.
Will Skyler be a big part of this season?
Zoe: Um, he's not going to be a main focus. I did, in fact, give birth to a child, though, so you'll have to watch and see.
Did your pregnancy make you hesitant to continue filming?
Zoe: For sure! But, I mean, the fact is I do have a TV show and I was pregnant and I did give birth to a child. These are the facts and this is a reality show. Kind of hard to hide it for much longer than I did! I got away with hiding it for six months, so...
What else can you say about what viewers will see this season?
Zoe: It's a very different season than any other season. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes of launching a collection, and the fear and anxiety that goes into that. Also, I think what many women will identify with is working while you're pregnant, and the reality of that. There's a lot of emotion goes with that.
Check out a clip from the season premiere of The Rachel Zoe Project (she talks Brad at the 45-second mark):
Who comes out on top, Brad or Rachel? Are you excited to see Rachel as a new mom? Leave a comment below.