'The City' exclusive: Erin Kaplan unleashes on Olivia Palermo and the finale
“I think I have taken a bit of a backseat in the past,” Kaplan tells Show Tracker. “But if I’m back, there will definitely be changes!”
We talked to Kaplan about some of the highlights and lowlights of this season, and, of course, what she thought of the finale episode.
In the beginning of this season, you and Olivia made a truce. What happened to that?
In that episode, they actually didn’t air it, but I apologized. And it took a lot for me to apologize, but I did. I said I’m sorry if we got off on the wrong foot and if I offended her in any way, I’m sorry. And we did. We kind of decided to move on. And then she just kind of went back to the same old thing that she had been doing. You know, not showing up for work and assignments. I don’t think she had any intention of changing.
At least Joe Zee came around this season. Were you glad that he was seeing some of the stuff you pointed out about Olivia last season?
I think the degree to which she failed this season was just taken to a whole new level. You had to be blind not to see what was happening. I guess I kind of felt vindicated a little bit. But at the same time, what she did – not showing up for a photo shoot – was just, I mean I’ve never seen anything like it. So, I would hope that action would be taken after something like that.
Was it nice to have someone to conspire with in assistant Seth?
First of all, what you see is obviously a condensed version of my relationship with Olivia and my relationship with Seth. Seth and I have conversations that are 45 minutes long, and 40 seconds might get into the episode. Sometimes they’re taken out of context. Sometimes we’re talking about other things and happen to mention her. So, Seth and I, by no means 100% sit around the office scheming and plotting and drawing up maps and doing these elaborate plans at all. I think that it’s the way that it’s shown sometimes. I don’t think we’re that evil.
Is Olivia Palermo really as unpleasant as she comes off on TV?
I think we've spent an enormous amount of time filming since the beginning of December. I think the show magnifies our personalities, but I don’t think they’re ever showing us as something that we’re not. They only air the footage that we give them. You know if we say certain things, they air it. I don’t think any of us have been too poorly portrayed.
That was very diplomatic.
I’m saying it through gritted teeth, I might add.
We know that being part of New York society can be just as important as one’s experience. Have Olivia’s connections been outweighed by her poor performance at Elle yet?
I don’t think I was ever enchanted by her. And regardless of her contacts or what she does, it really has no bearing on my job. Like you said, I did come here. I worked for my job and I continue, and the magazine is by far the most important thing I can do right now. I don’t think that is ever going to change. Even if I had the luxury of not working or relying solely on my contacts, I wouldn’t want to do that. I enjoy working. I enjoy working for Elle, and would want to work regardless.
We don’t appreciate it when Olivia turns around when you’re talking. Don’t you just want to pull her hair when she does that?
Yes, she does turn around while I’m talking. Aside from it being disrespectful and rude and just Human Decency 101, we’re filming a television show. There are cameras around. We’re actually being paid to talk. So, for her to just not engage is bizarre, to say the very least.
After your meeting with Joe Zee, when you pushed once more for Louise Roe, did you feel confident he'd pick her?
Not at all. I really didn’t have any idea what he was going to do. He obviously knew how I felt, and at that point the decision was completely out of my hands.
Now that you've seen Olivia in Japan, what do you think of her performance? Was that enough to warrant being the face of Elle?
I had heard that she was doing really, really well in Japan — really producing. I thought she was going to come back with videos for the website, interviews, photos, etc. — when I finally watched the episode, I was a bit confused. I had to watch it twice because I thought I had missed a pivotal scene.
After Joe Zee announced she had the job, I can’t believe Olivia said to you, "Erin, are you OK with that?" Did you just want to punch her?
No, I actually expected that type of response, but trust me, a lot of things ran through my mind at that moment!
Didn't Joe Zee overhear Seth telling you that if you didn't want to leave before, you may now?
I’m not sure. Of course, I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome, but I love my job and would never, ever leave Elle because of Olivia.
— Jethro Nededog
Photos: From top: Erin Kaplan, Elle's youngest PR director ever. Erin Kaplan meets with editorial director Joe Zee. Photo credit: MTV.