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Rachel Uchitel was on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab 4 and is currently studying for a private investigator license. TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Jaclyn Baldovin spoke to her about her experience on the TV show, her previous jobs and her future career plans.
TheCelebrityCafe: Tell me about your experience on Celebrity Rehab 4.
Rachel Uchitel: I was going on Celebrity Rehab not knowing what to expect at all and I was really surprised at the outcome and I was surprised at what happened during the three weeks that I was there. And, you know, it was something that changed my life for the better and I will always cherish my experience there for sure.
TCC: Why did you decide to participate on Celebrity Rehab?
RU: I decided to participate because I knew I needed help. I didn’t know exactly what kind of help I needed or what I needed help for. I just knew that I was lost. And that’s what gave me the opportunity to do that. So, then I also decided that it was the only way for people to really get to know me – by going through stuff in front of people, you know, as opposed to not going through stuff in front of people. You know, I’m not the type of person that’s OK with just sitting back and letting people say things that they want to say, you know?
TCC: How has your life changed since doing Celebrity Rehab?
RU: I think people understand me more. I think the average person can really identify with me more by seeing that I’m just like anyone else. And in general, even all celebrities, no matter how they became a celebrity, or if they’re an actor or singer or a model, whatever it is – that people are people, you know, and people have problems and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
TCC: Did you develop any close relationships with the other patients on Celebrity Rehab?
RU: Yeah, I’m close with most of the people on the show. I speak to Leif Garrett on a daily basis. I still speak to both Jasons [Davis, Wahler]. I speak to Jeremy [London]. So I’m close to most everybody on the show.
TCC: I know you’re studying for a private investigator license. Tell me about that.
RU: Yeah, absolutely! I’m doing an intensive course at a place called DGA Detectives and it’s an intensive program that you can do in as quick as 10 weeks where you get a certificate to be able to practice, or to be able to go into the world of private investigation. So I am working with DGA and you work on cases as you are in school, so it’s really hands on. And I do that three to four days a week and I love it. It’s so much fun! It gives me a purpose, you know. It gives me something to wake up and do every day and be really happy about.
TCC: I read that you also worked as a nightclub manager and hostess.
RU: I was never a nightclub manager or a hostess. I want to make that very clear. I was an executive at my club. I was a director of VIP operations, so you know, that’s much different than a manager, that’s much different than a waitress, it’s different than, you know, a host – I was like an executive-level position. People get it wrong all the time. And more because I feel resentful of that because it’s like taking my credibility away. I worked really hard and I was very good at my job. And, you know, I have a problem when people simplify it and they feel I was just some floozy running around with cocktails in my hand all the time. It was a great job – it was a totally different type of job than I had from before that. Before that I was a producer at Bloomberg News. And, you know, it was one of those things where perception is much different than reality. And people come into a nightclub and they have fun and they think it’s all fun and games, but when you’re working in a nightclub, everybody in a nightclub that works there sees the reality of the situation and it is a very difficult job to have. It takes a very smart person, you know, it’s a tough job. And it’s fun and it’s a lot of work. It was great, it was hard work, I really enjoyed it. I made a good name for myself in a business that I knew nothing about and was very honored to be a part of it. So I really appreciated it and to have the opportunity to do that.
TCC: You said that you worked as a news producer for Bloomberg News. Can you tell me about that?
RU: Yeah, I went to work at Bloomberg News. I was dating Andy [O'Grady], as a matter of fact – my fiancé who ended up dying [at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001]. But I was dating Andy and I wanted to be like him, kind of – I wanted to be smarter, you know, I challenged myself and I wanted to see how smart I was, so I applied for a job at Bloomberg because he was in the financial world, but I applied for the television division because I had studied media in college and I had kind of grew up in the media field, you know, in the TV studio as a kid. So, I basically called them and stalked them and bothered them like crazy for six months until finally an opening came up on the assignment desk. And they were just like, “Ahh, let me give this girl a shot because she’s so annoying and she wouldn’t shut up.” So they gave me a job on the assignment desk and it happened to be the day that the AOL-Time Warner merger happened. And I just had a knack for it and I wasn’t scared of making phone calls and phone requests. And I moved from the assignment desk to becoming the futures editor and I moved from that to becoming a segment producer. And I really loved it. You know, my hours were 4 a.m. until 2 in the afternoon. And I woke up every morning, jumped out of bed and fed the monster every morning. I loved my job and wanted to have it because I really felt that way – I just loved it! It was a great adrenaline rush, I learned something new every day. You had to keep on your toes to be in the action because it wasn’t easy content, you know? You really had to know what you were talking about to make sense and to be able to write and be a producer on a show like that and make sense of topics that are difficult to understand in general. You know, you’re talking about the Dow and futures and business earnings and all this stuff. And, you know, I really had to challenge myself every day. And it’s something that made Andy and I closer because he would teach me on a daily basis stuff that was relevant and stuff that would be better [for] stories. So it made us closer.
TCC: Do you plan to do any other reality TV, possibly your own show?
RU: Um, I don’t know. You know, there are definitely offers that come in often. You kind of never know what the future holds and I never know what I’m going to be doing tomorrow to be honest with you. So, I’m just going to see where things take me and hope to make the right decisions. And, you know, I’m trying to do the right thing and step back and focus on the things – I love working, so to have a job, to feel like I have a purpose is really important for me. So I’m just going to keep treading along and keep going to school and if some offer comes in that makes sense – then sure, I’ll take it, but until then I’m not, you know, I’m not just taking things [offers] to take them. That’s for sure.
TCC: Where do you see yourself, in terms of your career as a private investigator, in the next five years?
RU: Well, I’m not going back to school to be a private investigator just to be a private investigator for real. I mean, it may turn out that I start a company and I do that, which would be great fun. I would love that! But really I did it to get my credibility back. I think it’s important for me to, you know, to have the logic behind what I do and to have the knowledge. And, so if I want to back into journalism, you know, I would want to go back into journalism on the investigative side. So I want to have that knowledge behind me. So I don’t know – you know, within the next five years I’d like to, you know, maybe get back into journalism or into reporting of some sort, or I’ve been doing a lot of radio and TV interviews recently. I really love it! I mean, I definitely love radio – it’s so fun. I just came from doing an in-studio radio interview this morning with WFAN Radio in New York, and I’ve done Loveline [radio show] with [Dr.] Drew [Pinsky]. It’s so much fun. I just love it, so I would love to do something like that.
Photo by Brian Marcus.