The Rachel Zoe Project

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Rachel Zoe Project TV Poster Image
Stylish reality show is swimming in labels.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Zoe is an accomplished -- although somewhat scattered -- businesswoman. But she's also a self-professed shopaholic who lives for expensive designer labels.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zoe built her fashion empire by being smart, dedicated, passionate -- and a total control freak. Some of that is played for laughs, but some of her monomaniacal behavior is outrageously self-centered and even self-destructive, as her rising anxiety levels and rapid weight loss attest. She can be obsessive to the point of dismissive of her well-meaning husband and staff. The consequences of her wrathful binges are often portrayed as greater success. That may fly in the world of high-fashion, but there are ways of being successful without being rude.


"Hell," "ass," and the like are audible, while "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.


In the first episode, Zoe reveals that she'll be launching her own line of clothing and accessories -- and, consequently, using this show to promote it. Many, many, many brands are mentioned, too, including Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino, Versace, Zac Posen, Michael Kors, Christian Lacroix, Polo Ralph Lauren, Vanity Fair, Vogue, BlackBerry, Birkin (handbags), Decades (clothing store) and Piperlime (online shoe store). Rachel is also frequently shown holding an enormous Starbucks cup, with the logo clearly visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults occasionally drink alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, aside from some language that's occasionally strong enough to get bleeped, the biggest concern here is excessive commercialism. The show is a thinly veiled promotion for star Rachel Zoe's new line of clothing and accessories and basically serves as free advertising. Teens who watch could also end up coveting the glamorous clothing they see on the show, and most of it won't be age-appropriate -- or affordable. The onslaught of expensive labels includes marquis brands like Chanel, Valentino, and Versace.

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What's the story?

Rachel Zoe -- a celebrity stylist whose clients include Demi Moore, Jennifer Garner, Mischa Barton, and Lindsay Lohan -- invites viewers into her life with this reality series chronicling her frenetic attempts to run a successful business and launch a new line of clothing and accessories. The other members of "Team Zoe" help her keep it all together: her husband, Rodger; her associate, Taylor; and Taylor's new assistant, Brad.

Is it any good?

THE RACHEL ZOE PROJECT is no better or worse than a lot of other fashion-centric reality shows. But if it does take root in the pop culture garden, it will be because of Zoe's eccentricities -- including her quirky habit of describing fashion in over-the-top terms. As in, "When she walks into that room, she's gonna shut it down." And "This is killing it." And "You're, like, actually making me cry in this dress." And "That's bananas." And even "That's bananas-amazing."

As for the show itself? Well, it's a pretty entertaining guilty pleasure ... but "bananas-amazing," it's not.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how stylists like Zoe help celebrities shape their public image. Did it surprise you to learn that some stars seek a stylist's help not only for red-carpet events, but also for something as simple as appearing on a daytime talk show? Why is it that when we see a celebrity wearing something fabulous, we want to wear it, too? If all celebrities suddenly had to dress themselves, do you think they'd look as good?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 9, 2008
  • Cast: Rachel Zoe
  • Network: Bravo
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

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