Erin & Sara Foster by Aleksandar Tomovic For BELLO mag



Featured in BELLO mag April 2015 issue.


words by DIO ANTHONY

Sisters Sara and Erin Foster are no strangers to flashing lights, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy them. Growing up rich doesn’t mean you’re set for a reality show ten years into the future…at least not for these LA girls. Their new VH1 series Barely Famous (comeback fans, rejoice!) spoofs the ridiculousness of other LA girls while playing a very exaggerated and downright opposite version of themselves. It’s a shame they didn’t join forces sooner. Through their subtle humor, the Foster sisters might be proving the long surmised idea that women may in fact be funnier than men.


How scripted is the show? It almost seems like scripted improv.

Erin: It’s a real merge! We outline every episode, and we come up with jokes beforehand. However, I’d say more often than not, the jokes that we come up with on set as we’re bouncing off each other end up being the ones that stay in the show.

Sara: But we never go into a scene blind. We never go into one of those scenes saying, “Let’s see what happens.” We go into the scene knowing what jokes we need to get to, what we need to hit, where we need to end, and the general arc of the scene.

Erin: And sometimes, we’ll discover something funny in a scene and start going in a new direction. We have clear “A” and “B” storylines and we have to hit all those, which stops us from deviating too much.

Sara: Like, for instance, the Kate Hudson bag scene: we shot that two different ways. We shot it with her knowing me, [then] with her not knowing me.
Erin: Sara and Kate thought it could’ve been a fun storyline because in real life they went to high school together. So we thought it’d be a funny bit where Sara’s like, “Uh, Kate, it’s me! We went to high school together!” while Kate’s like, “I kind of remember you…” We played it that way, and it was funnier for them to be strangers.



Did you originally go into it thinking you weren’t going to go as “character-y” as you have?

Erin: Well, here’s what ended up happening. At the beginning when we came up with the concept of the show, we thought that the situations would be the things that [were] funny. We thought we’d just put our characters into these funny situations. Then, once we started looking at the whole season, we realized we had to really distinguish our characters from each other. So that’s when we started carving out: Who is Sara’s character? What does she want? And who’s Erin’s character? So, we made a conscious decision for Sara’s character to be more career-based and mine to be more dating-based, and that deviated a lot from who we are as [people]. In real life, Sara’s not…

Sara: …ambitious at all! (she laughs)

Erin: Sara does not have any sort of desire to be famous. She’s never tried to stay relevant in any way before having this show. She’d never had a publicist before.
Sara: Never had a publicist. I also don’t have an inflated ego or an inflated sense of self.

Erin: That was such a fun character for her to get into. And, I mean, I do have a really ridiculous dating life…but yeah, it’s very exaggerated.

In a snippet, what was it really like for you two growing up?

Erin: Okay, I would say it was more privileged than most people, but not as privileged as most would expect.

Sara: Yeah.

Erin: It’s somewhere in the middle…but I think what people have to remember is that yes, our dad has this success, and we were raised very privileged, but our parents divorced when we very, very young, and we’ve never lived with our dad before. We lived in the valley with our mom and our other sister. It was complicated. It wasn’t glamour all the time.

Sara: I think people see Troop Beverly Hills and they think that’s how people grow up. That’s not.

Erin: It’s not. There’s a lot of scheduling back and forth, and mixing families together can be very complicated.

Sara: Our mom was a single mother with three children, you know. That’s what it was.

Erin: Our dad remarried really quickly, and there were a lot of moving parts, and it was complicated. It was not this chill childhood; it was managing a lot of dynamics, and I think we grew up quickly because we had to help manage our parents with each other.

Sara: We’re going deep. Deep for Bello!

Walk me through the moment when you thought having your character reveal that Sara’s dead would be good as the reason for leaving her date. I haven’t laughed that hard watching TV in while.

Erin: Well first of all, I had a very hard time saying that line because I kept laughing.

Sara: We probably did that like 50 times.

Erin: Well, because everyone behind the monitors kept laughing. It came out of this idea that there are a lot of girls in LA that say they don’t like celebrities, and that they just want a normal guy. But there are tons of normal guys that like them who they don’t want to be with, and they’ll ditch any normal guy to be with a D-list celebrity or something. Not that James Franco’s D-List; he’s A-list! So, I don’t know, we came up with the concept beforehand of what would be an insane reason that she can make up to get out of this date. We wanted the feeling to be that every time she was making an excuse, he wasn’t letting her out with it. So she keeps going further, but he keeps understanding and [being] patient and not letting her off the hook. So she panics and tells him her sister died. She’s so celebrity-obsessed that she’s willing to say something so insane…
Sara: …for the chance of her maybe being able to hook up with James Franco.


How do you ladies feel about the possibility that people may confuse your characters on the show as the real you?

Erin: It’s a constant challenge.

Sara: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a constant challenge. I have to be honest, since the show’s been out, people get it. They’re smarter than we give them credit for. I think for anyone to watch this show and think that it’s real, and that the things that are coming out of our mouths, or that the things that we’re doing are real…I think that’s kind of insane. Right?

Erin: Right, totally. But we are riding a fine line. We’re playing a version of ourselves, and if we could’ve done it any way we wanted to, we would’ve never mentioned our dad on the show, as well as not mentioning our real names…[doing] that, it would be very clear. But we weren’t able to do that, and so we made the best of it, and we’re really proud of what we made within those parameters. But that’s our biggest fear. We have made a clear choice in our lives to never be a part of reality TV, and we aren’t a part of it right now.

Sara: The amount of work that went into each moment you see, each laugh-out-loud moment you get, those moments didn’t just happen. It’s been two years of perfect casting [and] reshoots; it has taken an absolute village for [us] to bring this to everyone. So for me, for someone to go, “Is that a reality show?” where essentially someone follows you while you go out to lunch with your friends…it’s a bummer that anyone would think that.

Erin: I feel like we may come off sensitive about it, but we just really want people to understand what it is. It’s hard to explain. If you were to explain to a friend, it might be confusing. Or you might just look at the billboard and say, “Ugh, another reality show.”

Sara: I think the best way to say it is, we’re spoofing.

Erin: We’re spoofing a stereotype.


What is it about an actual reality show that has stopped you from ever partaking in one?

Sara: Well, to be clear, we watch reality TV. It’s entertaining. No judgment. But Erin and I have careers. Erin’s a working writer, and I’m a working actress. You don’t go do a reality show when you’re living your dream. You just don’t.

Erin: Also, to reiterate, Sara and I have never had a desire to be famous. I’m passionate about being a comedian. I’m passionate about being a writer and a producer. Sara’s passionate about being an actress and her own projects. So at no point does it make sense for us to try that route; we aren’t just trying to be there. I don’t want to be famous for dating someone or for being the daughter of someone. I don’t want to be famous for no one knowing why I’m actually there.

Sara: That’s it, right there. It just doesn’t appeal to us. But you know, one of the bigger factors to it, the thought of there being a fight of me on television, forever. I’m a mother, you know what I mean? There’s no world where I can personally imagine doing that. Showing your personal life to millions of people or hundreds of people…

Erin: Well, hundreds would be bad. (she laughs)

Sara: Yeah, hundreds would be a bummer. (she laughs)

What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned working together?

Erin: I think how quickly you can bounce back from something.

Sara: Oh, I thought you were going to say that I was funny.

Erin: Well, I knew you were funny. But how quickly you can bounce back from disagreements, because it’s family. With siblings you know that you can get really dirty and you can really fight hard; then you just show up the next day, and you’re laughing beside each other and you just make it work. That’s a dynamic, in my opinion, that’s particular to family. It’s hard, but it’s easier to come back from than, say, a friend. With friends, after fights, you’re awkward. But with sisters, it’s different; you have so many of the same fights that quickly, you just get over it.

There’s a lot of press out there on the Foster sisters now that the show is out. What’s the question you are most asked by reporters and writers?

Sara: They like to ask about our family all the time, which I guess is fine. But on the other hand, our dad is a behind-the-scenes music producer, A. B, we are grown women. C, the show isn’t about our family. The show is about LA girls. So it does get a bit frustrating.

Erin: Sometimes it can be a bit of a distraction of what we’re actually doing. We don’t want to hang our hat on any of the successes of any of the people that we are related to. Honestly, I think it’s also one of those things were what you resist, persist. The more sensitive you are about it, the more people want to ask you about it; we probably just have to lose the sensitivity and let it be there, because it doesn’t take away from what the show is. But yeah, being asked about our family is definitely a common occurrence.

Sara: We get asked about the Kardashians a lot.

Erin: Oh yeah! We do get asked about them all the time. People think we’re making fun of them, but we’re not.

Sara: I just think that if you retrace to several years there was an overlap in marriages that linked us. But we’re not related to them. I haven’t seen them in maybe ten years.
Erin: Through several marriages actually, but honestly, they’re really nice girls.

Have you always gotten along to seamlessly, despite your differences? Or was it different growing up?

Sara: No!

(both laughing)

Growing up, she went to boarding school in Switzerland when she was about fourteen. I got my license and disappeared. I always really wanted to be an only child…
Erin: There are five daughters all together. Sara and I weren’t really close ’til we were in our mid-20s.

Sara: We weren’t, like, estranged or anything like that.

Erin: We just didn’t have a close relationship because we were really different at the time. I was introverted and nerdy, and Sara was very social and popular, and naturally, we had different friend groups.

Sara: As we grew older we grew closer.

Erin: When you’re a teenager you just always want to be an extreme of something. So we were of being extreme, and once we grew up [and] calmed down a little, we realized we actually had a lot in common, and that we should be friends!

Thank the TV gods!

assistant stylist ZOE ZHOU

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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