Erica Rose yearns to be Nancy Grace: Inspired by John O'Quinn & Elle Woods, thisreality TV star graduates from the tiara
The first time I met Erica Rose, I managed to put my foot in my mouth in less than 140 characters. I happened to sit next to her on a flight from Los Angeles back to Houston and immediately tweeted “I’m on a FOUR HOUR flight sitting next to Erica Rose. I wonder if I should even bother striking up a conversation?”
I mean, what on earth did I have in common with a reality TV star known for donning her trademarked tiara line?
As we sat on the tarmac making typical airplane talk (all the while I still pretended to have no clue who she was), I mentioned an earlier tweet to @SouthwestAir complaining about the delay. “What’s your Twitter name?” she asked, Blackberry in hand.
There it was — a tweet sitting in cyberspace just waiting for her to see. I had no time to delete or explain my tweet and there sat the evidence — not only that I did in fact know who she was, but even worse — I was almost judging her in front of thousands without even having said hello. Awkward.
"Nancy Grace is my idol," Erica Rose says.
She took it in stride and within those first few minutes, we learned a lot about each other — I learned she’s a very sweet easygoing Houstonian who doesn’t let much bother her, and she learned I’m an unabashed social media user not afraid to speak my mind. Especially before thinking.
Once airborne, she reached in her Louis Vuitton presumably to pull out her Chanel nail polish, which would inevitably stink up the plane, but I was wrong. Again. Law books and scribbled note pads sat atop her tray table, highlighter in her hand. After a few hours of Rose studying, we spent some time talking about her upcoming graduation from University of Houston Law School, her plans for the legal field, her experiences in the public eye and even charity work.
More depth than I could have ever imagined.
Although Rose is in talks about a potential new reality TV show, she is currently "just a fulltime law student" as she puts it. She’s excited (and certainly stressed) to graduate in December, and is already signed up and focusing on the bar at the end of February fully aware that her friends will be enjoying the slopes at the same time she’ll be sequestered to libraries.
She found time to film Bachelor Pad 2 over the summer when it didn’t interfere with classes, but as soon as school was back in session, Rose quickly transitioned from the LA scene back to study mode.
In the blunt nature I’ve become known for, I asked her straight up: Don’t you think your stint in reality television is going to make being a lawyer difficult for you?
“I realize my role on TV limits the kind of law I can do," Rose says. "I’m really interested in entertainment law or litigation. I’ll admit — the allure of the drama as a litigator is appealing to me and I know I’d be good at it.
"Nancy Grace is my idol — I’d love to be a legal expert and comment on big trials like she does and I think my experience with shows like The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad will be an asset.”
Rose explained that there is such a thing as a “legal personality” which requires someone to be relatable, opinionated and have a strong presence — all things she most certainly is on TV and in real life. She’s not afraid to use references of her time on TV to her advantage as she believes the shows truly have helped her grow.
Rose wrote her law school essay on her experiences on The Bachelor citing the development of good arguing skills. If you’ve ever seen her on TV, you’ll have no objections.
A New Woman
A deep soul, Rose takes a minute to talk about her tiara days and how much she’s changed since then — mostly thanks to law school.
“Law school has humbled me and brought me back down to earth,” she says. “I’m just a regular student. There aren’t cameras following me around campus. And there certainly aren’t any tiaras. To be honest, I’m proud of the hard work I put into school and the role model I’ve become. Little girls used to run up to me in their little tiaras and ask for my autograph.
"Now young women considering law school ask for my advice. I’m much more proud of this than I could ever be of tiaras.”
Rose attributes not just her desire to apply to law school to the late John O’Quinn, but also sees him as a continuing inspiration. O'Quinn was a good friend of Erica's family and understandably she has a hard time talking about him.
"Little girls used to run up to me in their little tiaras and ask for my autograph," Rose says. "Now young women considering law school ask for my advice."
“He was larger than life," she says of the famous Houston trial lawyer who died in a single car crash in October 2009. "He wrote my letter of recommendation and has truly helped get me to where I am. If I’ve ever thought of quitting, his inspiration is what kept me going."
Some may find it unconventional that Erica Rose's inspiration comes from someone with the stature of O’Quinn — coupled with the fictional character of Elle Woods of the Legally Blonde movies — but I think it just reiterates how well rounded she is. Not to mention grounded.
“I know it sounds crazy, because it’s just a movie, but I can relate,” Rose says of Elle Woods half of her inspiration. “I know what it’s like to always miss parties or dinner dates with friends because I’m swamped studying. Her character does it with such grace and makes it look fun, which it sometimes is.”
Whether Erica Rose is sporting a slew of Tiffany’s jewelry like the blonde bombshell Elle Woods, or a rose from a hunky TV bachelor, one thing seems certain: Erica Rose is on track to earn her law degree. And earn is an understatement.
She's worked hard for it. Case closed.