Since there has been selected items from a VERY small portion about one of nearly 20 "celebrities" I worked with in my book out there, I wanted to give YOU the EXCLUSIVE version on my up and down relationship with Kim Zolciak. (The one that people are presently mis-quoting my words around about.)
Don’t Be Tardy for the Cameras I met Kim Zolciak after doing a pre-interview with her during the first season debut of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, where I was the first journalist at my old job with CBS Atlanta to sit down with all five cast members to discuss the show. Kim and I immediately hit it off on the phone and she requested a lunch date before the taping. I said absolutely. She was everything everyone saw on TV, and that was why the producers loved her. She was definitely rough around the edges, a chain smoker who enjoys drinking, spending money, cussing like a sailor, and causing drama. She’s the perfect reality star and she knew it.
She wanted to become as famous as Kim Kardashian, and I could make that happen. So I was quickly hired at the bargain rate of almost $4k a month, which I quickly learned was not nearly enough because she was a 24-hour-a-day job with many ups and downs throughout our two years of working together. I created her first website, her original Twitter account, and the cover art for her first single "Tardy for the Party." I also arranged lots of photo ops for the press and planted stories on her behalf to the media, all things I did with many of my clients.
The show was an instant hit for Bravo, and with her receiving so much attention, there was also plenty of focus on her past life. My advice was to just own up to your past, laugh it off, and move on. Kim didn’t feel that way. She was intent on covering up anything that she deemed unpleasant. There were many allegations flying around about her being a stripper named “Barbie” at a downtown lounge in Atlanta called the Cheetah Club. When you have details like that, it’s hard to deny, but she continued to say it was untrue, so I had to take her word for it.
After her hit single “Tardy for the Party” came out, I had an idea. I love house and dance music, and remixes are a big part of that scene. To me, this song was the perfect anthem type song if it were remixed with a good dance beat. With that in mind, I hooked her up for a remix with one of Madonna's dearest remixers, a woman named Tracy Young. I certainly never expected that they would become intimate and have a full blown relationship that would be played out in the media until she broke Young's heart many months later.
Kim and I disagreed on a lot of things, and we often fought like siblings. She was a difficult client because it’s best when someone will listen and take my advice. That’s the only way I can really help is if they let me lead the way. A client with their own ideas can take a lot of hard work and derail it in an instant. It was frustrating because I could see all of her potential and I genuinely wanted to help her get to the next level in her career.
After all of the hands-on work and countless hours, I was shocked when I had to ask for my fee…and she refused. She kept putting me off or telling me she would take care of it and it never came. While I was excited to help her, I couldn’t just do it for free. Sadly, I had to sue her in small claims court for my fee. She countersued and lost, and finally paid up. I swore that I was done with the headache all of that caused, but she needed help and the rescuer in me couldn’t say no.
I was able to land her a spot as a presenter at the VH1 Divas show and she was so excited, and grateful, that it seemed like she had changed. She got to meet lots of famous women who she admired. They had the fame that she was seeking, and she loved being a part of their circle, even for a short period of time.
Our differences finally came to a boiling point when she was filming the pivotal, and probably most-talked-about episode of the Housewives show when cast mate Sheree Whitfield pulled her beloved wig. I had attempted to help Kim and also NeNe Leakes and Sheree since they were all on the same show. I didn’t realize that I was the center of an argument until I got a call from a staffer telling me that I would be mentioned on that week’s special "Lost Footage" episode of the show. My name was used over and over as Kim tried to blame some of the situation on me, insisting that I was spreading rumors among the women. Sheree finally said “F**k Jonathan Jaxson, I’m gonna kick this bitch’s ass.” And then she pulls on Kim’s wig and the rest is trash TV history. That was my wakeup call.
She would often try to accuse me of things that were not true in order to place blame somewhere else, on someone, anyone but herself. As someone who was providing a service for her, she seemed to feel that she could use me to take the heat off her. But I always came back fighting to save my name. In the end, I was glad when we finally said our goodbyes, but I knew that by this time Kim had learned every trick I taught her and she took full advantage of them all. She knew how to contact every media outlet, set up photo ops, leak items to the press and so much more. I’m truly happy for the success she has achieved and hope she continues to work hard and stay focused. I did enjoy some of our time together, and I do hope she is finally happy.
You may not like me, but you REALLY don't know ME! So, love or hate me, I am speaking very candidly about my work as a long time Hollywood publicist and my very own personal journey's with ALL the TRUTH to ALL of the "STORIES" for the VERY FIRST TIME. What you may have read in the press about me or of me is what it is, but it is now MY time for MY candid story to be told!