Despite evidence to the contrary, Baltimore-born Claire Kosloff insists that there's no Charm City Mafia operating behind the scenes of Lifetime's "Supermarket Superstar." No, she swears, it's just a coincidence that the show's host (Stacy Keibler) is from Baltimore, that one of its contestants (Nikki Lewis) is from Baltimore and that the show's co-executive producer (Kosloff) is from Baltimore.
"There's a bunch of Baltimore people, but it's just by accident," says Kosloff, who supervised much of the show's writing, directing and behind-the-scenes planning.
Not that she'd object to such a group if it did exist, Kosloff adds. "I would like to start one, I really would. I feel like people from Baltimore have a really strong bond, for sure."
The Friends School and Yale University grad, 34, says she became interested in a film and television career while growing up in Roland Park, primarily through her work with the Maryland Film Office and Maryland Film Festival. After concentrating on film studies at Yale, she set off for Los Angeles, hoping to build on her interest in documentary filmmaking.
Before long, Kosloff had landed a job — not in documentaries, but as an assistant to the executive producer of ABC's "American Inventor." Since then, she's found steady freelance work in reality TV. While it's not the documentary films she still hopes to make, Kosloff says she's hooked on the genre.
"I love what I'm doing," she says. "Every time I dive into a new show, I get to explore a new world. I've done shows about everything from cooking to [playing] a big role in 'Whale Wars,' which is about dropping Japanese whalers into the Antarctic. It's really fun for me, to explore all these worlds."
With "Supermarket Superstar," Kosloff says, she got to do a little bit of everything. She helped develop storylines, wrote much of Keibler's dialogue and often directed the on-air talent (as opposed to the contestants, she notes, who are strictly on their own).
"The producers really are the directors and writers in [reality] television," Kosloff says. "I'm crafting stories in the same way that a producer, director and writer would be in scripted movies and TV. In fact, I'm writing a lot."
Kosloff says she had never met Keibler before "Supermarket Superstar." But she has nothing but praise for the former Ravens cheerleader and professional wrestling diva.
"She's really one of the nicest people I've ever worked with, a real team player," Kosloff says. "She did a really good job of sort of being the audience, if you will. All of the other cast members that we have are industry experts. … What's fun is, when you're watching Stacy's reaction when she's trying a product, it's really like she's representing the viewers, what we'd be thinking if we were up there."