On "The Rachel Zoe Project" (Tues. at 9 p.m. on Bravo), Joey Maalouf and Jeremiah Brent are hardly the best of friends. Jeremiah, who was hired by Rachel despite a lack of experience simply because she liked his "vibe," was an unknown quantity, while her beloved longtime friend Joey is understandably skeptical of the new kid. But in a conference call with reporters, Jeremiah and Joey seem to have gotten past their rough start. "I don't think we were ever not friends," Maalouf says. "But being Rachel's friend for years, and I trust Mandana's [Zoe's assistant] judgment more than anybodys. I wanted to trust Jeremiah, but I took a couple steps back. There was never really a title [for Jeremiah], never a job description, so I had a million questions in my head. I tend to test people without realizing. It's a product of my personality that comes out. It takes me a minute to trust people."
For his part, Jeremiah took Joey's icy welcome in stride. "I think I was very aware coming in what I was getting myself into. The people around her are very protective and rightfully so. Joey has a good heart, and as the show progresses this season, you'll watch relationships evolve. I was the new guy. You've got to give the new guy some shit."
Both men agree about the other new guy on the scene -- Rachel's newborn son. "He brought a lot of love and a lot of energy and brought out a different side of Rachel," says Maalouf. "She became this amazing strong, confident, sexy woman. And he brought out a lot of patience in her. She's not usually patient, but now that she has him, she's become really patient."
On October 4, the show will air its Oscar episode, during which Zoe dresses host Anne Hathaway and an assortment of other stars for Hollywood's big night. Even for Zoe (who was still pregnant at the time), it was a daunting task. "It was pretty insane," Maalouf admits. "It was the most major Oscars. She's been doing this for 20 years, and it was an insane thing for her. She got run down, and it was hard for her... She's like a robotic woman. And in heels. I swear she's made of steel sometimes.