Hailey Glassman: New Job, New Outlook on Life
By Rebecca Macatee Posted Sep 17th 2010 03:30PM
"This was fun," she said after I thanked her again for meeting with me. "Hey, I live a few blocks away. Wanna come up to my rooftop for a drink?" she asked me nonchalantly.
"Sure ... Why not?" I answered to the girl I'd been laughing with for the past hour in a more formal setting. Despite having been picked apart by the media for her relationship with the fame-loving father of eight, Hailey's a strong, down to earth, pretty normal young Manhattanite.
"People forget I'm only 23," she said. "Like, why is it some shock I'm looking for a job? The NY Post published my resume as a big joke, but of course I'm gonna look for a job. What do people think, I'm just gonna sit around my apartment for the rest of my life and think about what happened?"
She's extremely self-aware and, from our conversation alone, it's evident she understands the business of public relations and the need to control her public image. She excitedly told me about her new job at a "fashion, entertainment, decorating, lifestyle" PR firm in New York.
"I just started in early September," she said. "I don't want to jinx it, but it's going really well. I'm so excited to be a part of this environment. The people are so talented, so nice, and supportive."
You can't deny that Hailey learned a whole lot about the media and the power of the press firsthand. "It's funny, I was vilified as this home wrecker. I never so much as glanced at Jon when he was married to Kate. And yes, the tabloids got ahold of party pictures from college, but who doesn't have those? It was definitely a rough time being cast as this bad girl in the tabloids, but I live life with no regrets. It brought me to where I am today."
In the interview for Hailey's new PR job, the head of the company flat out asked her to explain her relationship with Jon Gosselin. "At first, I was a little uncomfortable," she admitted. "But he told me, 'This is something you're going to be asked about for the rest of your life. You better get used to answering it.'"
It was her firsthand experience as the center of a public relations crisis that prepared her for a career in the business that once tried to tear her apart. "There's a lot I'm learning as I go," she said. "It's like I learned to run before I could crawl. So now I'm getting polished on the basics. I have life experience most people in PR don't have, but they have basics that I'm still learning, too."
I asked Hailey why, with a new job and dedication to her career, she's still talking about Jon Gosselin at all. "He owes me $200,000," she said candidly. She explained that when they lived together in their Manhattan apartment, her parents wrote her half of the rent check to Jon each month. Little did she know, Jon was pocketing that money and not paying either of their shares of the rent to the landlord. "I was so mad when we were evicted," she said. "Then he comes crying to me, with those little green eyes, that he's in debt, and he's going to be arrested. I said maybe he needed to go to jail. Then he guilted me, you know, with, 'Imagine Mady and Cara's faces when their daddy gets sent to jail.' So I caved, and I gave him the money."
Hailey guesses she paid about $78,000 in taxes on the money she loaned to Jon. "Did you have a trust fund?" I asked.
"Oh, no, I mean that was my life savings, and some money I'd gotten from interviews," she said. (Sometimes it does pay to be at the center of a scandal, huh?)
She had a contract written up for the loan, knowing full well about Jon's inability to handle money. "It's like, I'd sue him to get it back now, but he's not working. He has no money," she said. "And I don't want to take his kids' money. That's different. I will not take anything that belongs to Kate or the kids."
Hailey went on to insist there's no bad blood between herself and Kate. "I think Kate's a great mom," she said. "Jon's not providing for those kids, and she has eight mouths to feed. I know dancing wasn't even a part of their wedding because she was so self-conscious about dancing in front of people. For her to go on 'Dancing with the Stars' took a lot of courage," she laughed. "I mean, obviously, she wasn't the best dancer. But she really did that as a way to support her kids. My parents called in and voted for her like a million times."
Hailey's angry about the money she says Jon owes her, but she's also indignant that he cheated on her while they were together. "I didn't want to believe it," she said. "He blocked the Internet in our apartment so I couldn't look anything up. Then these girls were texting me, saying they'd been with him, and I still didn't believe it."
Hailey said the ongoing public backlash toward her continues to make her stronger. "I always told Jon it was funny that people cared about him. I mean, he's not a celebrity. There's no talent there," she said. "I guess I'm a notorious person and that generates interest still, too. But Jon Gosselin's not a part of my life anymore. I'm moving forward and totally focused on my career."
I asked Hailey what she thought about celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who refers to her as "Homewrecking Hailey" and has reposted her college mugshot time and time again. "Mangina Mario?" she joked. "I mean, it's like check your facts, moron. He couldn't be more incorrect. He just sensationalizes everything."
Still, Hailey understands it from a public relations standpoint. "I mean, props to Perez. I love him. He went from being this fat, binge eater with no friends to a guy with his own empire. It's his job to talk smack. He makes his living getting people's attention," she said. "I've got really thick skin now. I'm not taking anything he says to heart."
Hailey said she's able to laugh at herself, and is grateful for what she learned from her tumultuous relationship with Jon. "I've moved on," she said again. "I now want my career to be my life. And one day, probably a long time from now, I'll settle down and get married and have kids."
Many laughs and a few glasses of sauvignon blanc later on Hailey's fantastic rooftop, I decided it was time to head home. She warmly hugged me goodbye. "Please don't make me look dumb!" she laughed. I promised to do my best to accurately portray her.
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