MEET OUR NEW CONTRIBUTING WRITER, STEPHANIE!
by Stephanie LYNN Erlacher
“Oh I wish you would!”
That’s what Robin said in her signature southern style wayyyy back at Christmastime 17 years ago, when I first sheepishly asked if I could give her a great big hug. See, as a production assistant like I was back then, you usually don’t get to be “hugging friends” with the big bosses in the TV realm...not unless you want to be quickly escorted into a stern meeting with the heads of HR, and that’s if you don’t get fired first. Ok, so maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but that’s how it seems most places in Hollywood.
Robin McGraw is different.
All these years later when people ask me what she’s like, and I get that question even more often than I do about her taller, mustached other half, my best answer is the truth; she’s EXACTLY who you hope she is!
I cut my teeth in production on a show where after two years, the host still didn’t know my first name. Which is part of why I assumed working at Dr. Phil before it had even launched its first season would be no different. But as it turned out, I couldn’t have been more wrong, or more lucky that I was. Thinking back over the years of my career thus far, Robin has always been the absolute sweet spot. From the time she asked Jay to loan me a gorgeous pair of her comfiest shoes because she thought my feet must be hurting in my heels, to the time after a taping when she kissed and snuggled my daughter on her lap and insisted I agree to let her babysit. And all the times in between when she’d catch my eye and smile backstage during a hectic day, go out of her way to acknowledge my work, or genuinely celebrate all the most meaningful milestones in my life. Robin is one of my hands-down favorite people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. She’s wickedly funny with sass and style for days...she’s also as sharp as a tack and has a heart as big as Texas.
Months turned into years, and after 13 lucky seasons with Dr. Phil and Robin, I had risen through the ranks and established myself as the head of my own department, backstage every tape day welcoming the guests to the studio and readying them for the cameras to roll. During that time, I met and married my husband who, after discovering I’d been using my parents (married 50 years) and daytime TV’s most successful couple (married 43 years) as the gold standard for love, quickly realized he had some pretty giant shoes to fill.
“...and all the times in between when she’d catch my eye and smile backstage during a hectic day, go out of her way to acknowledge my work, or genuinely celebrate all the most meaningful milestones in my life. Robin is one of my hands-down favorite people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.”
Oh! I’ve got a secret! One that I don’t even think Robin knows. My infamous opening line the night I first saw my handsome husband amid a sea of left-swipe-types at a Los Angeles club, the words that launched a thousand ships and changed the course of my life forever...were “Hi there. You and my boss have the exact same hairdo.” Hey, it worked!
When I made the bittersweet decision to leave Dr. Phil and stay home with our newborn daughter four years ago, Robin was front and center supporting me in that choice. You see, the McGraws actually practice what they preach. And if I learned nothing else from all my years behind the scenes, it’s that they really do support in others their core value of putting family first.
Now that my daughter is in pre-school