Who IS Rachel Zoe, Anyway?

The Frisky definitely has a love/hate obsession with Rachel Zoe — we love her because she’s such a ridiculous character that she’s impossible not to watch, but we hate her because she’s grossly skinny and shallow. But I realized that perhaps many of you didn’t know who SHE is and why she has her own TV show. Here’s a little background on the pint-sized stylist with the fake tan, big sunglasses, and loads of jewelry that we’ll be spending our Tuesday nights with on Bravo.

LOVES: Born Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig in 1971 to art collector parents in New Jersey, Zoe dropped her last name in favor of her middle when she began her career as a fashion stylist — and FYI, it’s supposed to rhyme with “faux” or “dough” (or “slow”!). While studying sociology and psychology at George Washington University (she graduated in 1993), Zoe met her husband Rodger Berman, an investment banker. As the two have been married since well before she was “famous”, any other boyfriends are unknown, but Zoe has always said her first love (we assume besides her hubby) is fashion.

CLIENTS & CREW: For Zoe, the two go hand-in-hand. Though she has been a freelance stylist for years (more on that below), Zoe really hit the big time when she took on Nicole Richie as a client around the same time Richie was making her mark on Hollywood in The Simple Life. Together, the two pioneered the “boho chic” look that littered the fashion magazines for years — over-sized jewelry, big sunglasses, loose fitting dresses, and thin, thin frames to go along with them. At the same time Zoe was styling Richie, she also took on her friends Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton and quickly made them into fashion trend-setters. But with that also came backlash, as people mocked their bag lady style and their rapidly dropping weights. Richie, at one point, called Zoe a “best friend”, but around the time that she met current baby daddy Joel Madden, she dropped Zoe as her stylist and made cryptic comments about her to the press that made some think Zoe pressured her to be skinny, a charge Zoe denies. Zoe still styles Lohan and Barton, along with other celebrities like Molly Sims, Jennifer Garner, Joy Bryant, and Salma Hayek. Jimmy Choo CEO Tamara Mellon and designer Marc Jacobs are two other close friends.

CAREER: Zoe originally started off her fashion career working in magazines, styling teen pop stars for YM in the ’90s. She went freelance shortly after and after she took on Richie, her clientele quickly grew — as did her other business deals. She released a book in 2007 called Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, and Everything Glamour, has appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model, and works as a trendspotter for online shoe retailer Piperlime.com. Her show, The Rachel Zoe Project, debuted on Bravo this week and is expected to follow the stylist as she grows her brand — Zoe wants to expand her empire into clothing and accessory design. On the show she’s joined by her amazingly vapid and funny assistants Taylor and Brad. So far, we’ve seen her coin two catchphrases: “I die”, used to describe anything — from shoes to “fashion moments” — that just WOW her, and “shut it down”, which means, um, one of her clients looks SO to die for that they might as well shut down the party. I think. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.