Brad Goreski sounds off on Rachel Zoe, his battle with addiction, and his new memoir 'Born to Be Brad'
Brad Goreski emerged as the quotable breakout star of Bravo’s The Rachel Zoe Project, in which he served as an assistant to the celebrity stylist. Since parting with Zoe on bad terms, Goreski has become a big name in fashion in his own right, and his own Bravo spinoff It’s a Brad, Brad World finished airing its first season. In his new book Born to Be Brad, Goreski imparts fashion advice while talking candidly about his childhood and battles with addiction, as well as his time working for Zoe and his rise to fame. Goreski dishes on the details below:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You write early on in your book that it 34 is a bit young to put out your life story, but the book is actually a cool blend between memoir and style guide. How did you come up with that format?
BRAD GORESKI: I just started looking at other style guides and I just thought there’s such an overload of them. In doing my show It’s a Brad, Brad World and pitching it and talking about my story, I was thinking of combining the two together and talking about the things that inspire me and also things that I’ve been through so people also get a more well-rounded picture of who I am. It’s been a long road. I also get so many kids on Twitter and Facebook and also coming up to me on the street asking me how I got into fashion and what inspires me and who my favorite designers are and all of those things. I thought, why don’t I put it all down into a book?
I loved the parts about growing up gay in your small town in Canada — playing with Barbies and dressing up as Madonna for Halloween. That must have been fun to write.
It was. I think sometimes when our childhoods are difficult we forget that there’s also a lot of joy. I loved playing with Barbies — that’s why I didn’t stop! I loved playing dress-up. I loved wearing a scarf around my waist. I knew at a point when I was dressing in the morning that people were going to say stuff, but at some point I just kind of stopped caring. I think having such a great mom and great grandma and a great sister helped me, and I really wanted that to come through too. When you have a support system and people who deserve to be celebrated — my grandmother died years ago and I still miss her every single day — this was a way to talk about that and get that out to the universe and also talk about the fact that my relationship with my father. Although there were times that we didn’t see eye to eye, I think it’s important for people to know that my father in particular loved me all the way through and I know that. If anything, I hope that it will help other people see that “Maybe my dad does love me too and there’s a way I can bridge this gap and it’s not worth throwing away.”
There’s so much happening with bullying and high suicide rates among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth, and it’s just not worth it. There was definitely a time when I thought it was just getting to be too much, but life has too much to offer. I hope that when people read the book that they kind of take away from it too that if it can happen to me it can happen to anybody because I felt there were so many things against me but now there are so many things that are helping me and propelling me forward, so I’m glad I didn’t miss that magic.
Are you going to continue to be involved in anti-bullying projects?
Yeah, I think more so now. I’ve been involved with the Trevor Project now for about nine years. It really makes me sad — it really breaks my heart when I hear about not even necessarily gay kids but kids in general being so unkind to each other. I know that my boyfriend’s nieces went through it, and it’s just not nice. I don’t understand why there’s so much celebrated hate in the world. That’s also why we wanted to keep my TV show focused on the up and up and the positive because I feel like there’s so much bad behavior out there. It’s nice to see people getting through things and overcoming challenges and also behaving well and doing well in the world, so it definitely is something I’m passionate about.
Your book gets into some detail about your dark days with cocaine addiction and substance abuse. Were you nervous about releasing all that info to the public?
I was. We actually scaled it back a lot because I definitely didn’t want it to be a skeleton in the closet. I’m very proud of my sobriety now. Just from mentioning [my struggles] a little bit on the show, I got responses from people who were saying, “I’m going through a time like that myself right now. Just hearing you say that really helped me out.” I think it’s important for people to have examples when they’re trying to get sober. For me, getting that part of my life out into the open was healing. I feel like this part of my life – pardon the pun – is a new chapter. I wanted to just end this part of my life and be able to move forward. Who knows what the next 20, 25 years, 30 years or whatever will bring me? It was important for me to let people know that I’d been through that and have successfully, day by day for 10 years, have made it through and built this life that I never, ever thought imaginable. Like, ever. It’s weird, especially being Canadian and having a boyfriend for 10 years and now building a business and a job that seemed so far away from where I was living. It’s pretty insane.
Rachel Zoe has been saying a lot of negative things about you since you branched off on your own. I sort of expected your book to bite back but you mostly took the high road.
I know it doesn’t come off this way, but it really wasn’t meant to be… I really wanted to celebrate that time that I worked with her because it was so amazing. It was such an incredible period in my life. As stressful and crazy as it could be, she’s a really nice person and she’s really talented. It’s an amazing opportunity – there are two positions to work with her, and I got to have one for three years. I hope people are surprised. I owe so much to Rachel, and I really wanted to continue the celebration of women that the book is. She’s one of those women. I loved being around her and when it was time for me to leave, it was done. For me at least, there’s no drama. There’s nothing left there, and I still feel the same way even after almost a year and a half of being out on my own. People are still digging for me to say something about her. There’s nothing to dish. I respect her and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with her. I hope that it comes across too, even with Taylor. I learned in writing the book, “Wow, I’m really lucky I had someone who was such a ball-buster.” I hope that it comes across in the book how much I respect and care for Rachel.
So you’re going to send Rachel a copy?
[Long laugh] Ummmmm… yeah!