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jeanne beker

As a kid growing up in Port Perry, Ont., Brad Goreski's dreams were fuelled by the glamour he saw on Fashion Television and his aspirations were supported by his liberal-thinking parents. Now, at 36, the celebrated stylist has been anointed king of savvy style commentary by the E! Network, recently joining the Fashion Police panel – which also includes Kathy Griffin, Kelly Osbourne and Giuliana Rancic – as a regular expert. Goreski, author of the 2012 memoir Born to be Brad: My Life and Style and known for his dapper dressing, is no stranger to television: He first appeared as Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe's assistant on The Rachel Zoe Project before launching his own Bravo reality show, It's a Brad, Brad World. But he left after two seasons to concentrate on styling duties at Kate Spade and continue working with celebrity clients, which have included actors Jessica Alba, Christina Ricci and Demi Moore. These days, the mild-mannered Goreski, a former USC art-history major who spent summers interning at Vogue, is high on his new gig with the iconic E! show, now in a new incarnation since the death last year of long-time host Joan Rivers. But Goreski is also determined to stay personally grounded: Last summer, he got engaged to his long-time partner, writer/producer Gary Janetti of Will & Grace and Family Guy fame. I spoke with Goreski about Fashion Police, pursuing big dreams and being a nice guy … at least some of the time.

What are you hoping to bring to the table at Fashion Police?

I really do have an insider's perspective into this world, and so I hope that even though there's a lot of fun banter and some snarkiness, I also hope people will count on me to be able to give reasons why we might – or I might – be seeing things differently than other panelists. I hope to allow people another window into the world of styling and offer behind-the-scenes insight as to why things go down the way they do.

Are your clients going to be fair game for critiques on the show?

Well, it's kind of a consideration, but it's also my job to make sure that my clients are the best dressed. So it really comes down to me – and most of the time they are in that kind of stride. And my client Sarah Hyland was actually Joan's final best-dressed choice at the Emmys this past year!

What are you hoping to see on red carpets this awards season?

Well, the Oscars last year were a little lacklustre. Lupita [Nyong'o] had a big moment there, but I thought that, all around, the looks were just sort of so-so. Maybe there are only so many dresses to go around, but last year the Oscars didn't feel like a big happening to me. So I hope that this year there is a return to glamour, and that people really step it up. We have so many big fashion people attending this year: Cate Blanchett, Lupita, Reese Witherspoon, who I think is going to be the one to watch this year. And newcomers like Felicity Jones will be in the mix. She has been wearing some amazing designers and looking very beautiful. Julianne Moore, of course, is a fashion favourite, and Emma Stone. So I think this year we have a lot of fashion icons and classic women on the carpet and I'm expecting some really creative, fashion-forward and glamorous looks.

How do you explain that a kid from small-town Canada manages to not only dip his toes into this business, but also manages to find such a perfect niche for himself and succeed?

I've been overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for my family and my mom and my dad specifically, because they always wanted the best for me and my sister. I was a very unique child. I dreamt up some crazy outfits of my own and I was always off in this weird fashion fantasy land. But I had this feeling of knowing that, if I set my mind to something, I could do it. It really came from my parents nurturing those things. Some parents would have looked at a boy playing with a Barbie doll or wearing these outrageous outfits and not understood. My dad would be shaking his head and my mom would be like, "Well, this is our kid, and this makes him happy." If I hadn't been able to be that person, I don't think that I would be doing what I'm doing right now. It has also been a lot of hard work. My hat's off to my fiancé Gary. We've been together for 13½ years and he's my biggest support system and made me dream big. When I started out wanting to go into fashion, he asked me who my dream person to work with would be. I just said "Vogue!" And he then told me that I had to find a way to go there. And I did. I tell people it's always about figuring things out. Where is it that you want to be? Where do you want to go? Figure out your way to get there.

How Canadian do you still feel?

Very! I shake my head every single day because I still feel like that little kid from Port Perry and I look around and I'm like, "Oh my God, how did I get here?!" It doesn't seem so long ago that I was cutting out pictures from Harper's Bazaar and pasting them on my wall, wondering if I would ever get to meet the supermodels. Yeah, I feel very Canadian. It never leaves you and it's always something people really like because we're known for being polite and kind and people always comment on how calm I am all the time. If only you knew! If only you knew what was going on inside! But I always try to be nice, and I feel like I owe that to being Canadian. It's a nice thing being known for being nice.

But are you going to be nice in your new role on Fashion Police? Because they are known for not always being so nice.

Well, I will always be 100-per-cent honest. I'm not going to be nice all the time. Are you crazy!? There's a lot of bad stuff happening out there! We need an honest person to make people aware of it.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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