Q&A with Heidi Klum

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of a conference call with Heidi Klum! The main discussion was about season 10 of Project Runway, airing tomorrow night on Lifetime. She talks about some interesting new challenges as well as her own reflections of the show. Heidi was so friendly & sweet and easy to relate to.

She had said during the conversation how there was going to be an episode out in the streets of Times Square. Heidi mentioned how it was a lot of fun and wished they could do that more often. The question I got to ask Ms. Klum was:
I know you said that you want more challenges out in the street. How else do you see the show evolving for future seasons?

Heidi's response:
I mean this was already something very difficult for us to go outside. I would love to go overseas maybe for future seasons where we go to other fashion cities, such as Paris or Milan or …. We would love that. It’s difficult.

We are definitely not one of the gigantic budget shows that are out there. We’re still in a way very documentary style. We do everything at Parsons. Parsons is the design school. Right now I’m in a classroom before I go downstairs onto the runway, because it’s summer time right now so there aren’t any classes here at Parsons.

Other shows they have stages and they have budgets to travel all over the place. We don’t. Everything really happens here at the school. Michael and Nina, they’re next door. There’s another classroom. They’re getting ready. I’m getting ready in this classroom and then we meet downstairs on the runway.

It’s very gritty. It’s not very Hollywood let’s say. So it’s hard for us to travel to different countries and that kind of thing. I’m fighting for that. I would love for that to happen, that we can maybe go to Paris … Fashion Week or visit some of the great designers that are more settled over there that we can have as guest judges because some don’t travel here. So I would like to bring my designers over there.

But I feel like with this first challenge that we’re doing in Times Square where we made a big push that cost them a lot of money to put the runway on Times Square and book that spot for a few hours. So we’re making baby steps in the right direction.

To read more of the interview, (along with other bloggers & reporters)  read + scroll below. :)

Q: Who can we expect to see as guest judges?

H. Klum: Obviously I can never give too many guest judges away, but some people that I was allowed to mention was Patricia Field.  She has been a stylist.  She has a store here in New York City. She’s very well known for doing Sex in the City, The Devil Wears Prada.  She does a lot of full movies and television.  

She’s actually been one of our very first judges ever on Project Runway.  She did our very first challenge on our very first season. So we thought it would be fun to bring her back.  She is a very well known New York woman.  I love her very much.  So we brought her back ten seasons later.

For our very first challenge that we did in Times Square we also had Lauren Graham.  I can give her away.  A lot of people did see her when she was out with us here in Times Square.  Hayden Panettiere has been one of our guest judges.  Also Krysten Ritter, and I think I’m not allowed to give anymore away.

Q: What’s it been like being back for the tenth season for you, as the host and judge?

H. Klum: It’s been amazing.  It’s been ten seasons and we all would’ve never thought that we would make it this far.  Michael always says that we’re on longer than I Love Lucy, which we always laugh about and I can’t believe it.  But he Googled it and he was like, “They did so many seasons and we did ten seasons.  We’re on longer, on television, than I Love Lucy,” and we always laugh about it because we all love I Love Lucy.  It’s amazing.  Ten seasons is a milestone.  It’s a long time.  

And I have to tell you even though we’ve been doing it for ten seasons I still love coming to work every season.  I love being with Michael and I love being with Nina and Tim.  They’re all so much fun, and we have become a family.  

It is always exciting to see these new designers, to see their story.  They all have a different story to tell and they’re all passionate.  They’re young people that come here with green eyes and not really knowing 100% what this business is about and they’re not jaded.  It’s always fun to have these people that are so hungry for it all.  

I don’t know; we love it.  We still laugh and we sit there and have a great time.  So it’s exciting and we’re proud you know?  We’re very proud.  I started Project Runway from the very beginning.  Going around New York City trying to sell the show to networks and trying to explain what the show was all about.  

I’m very proud of it.  It’s like it’s one of my babies.  I love the show and I love what it’s become and we’ve got a lot of fans and it’s become a cult.  Not a cult, but an iconic kind of show that people recognize and we’re all very proud of it.  

Q: Can you tell us how you think this group of designers compares to past groups, in terms of talent level?

H. Klum: It’s always hard to compare because I never like to say that this season we have more talented designers than previous seasons because they were all always talented.  And each season fashion evolves and fashion becomes different and so do our designers.  I think we have some on this season that are not that talented and we quickly see that.   We have some that are really amazing that have come up with new things where we sit there and we’re like, “Wow, we haven’t seen anything like that,’ or, “You have a different technique.” 

So it’s always mixed.  There are always some designers there that aren’t that great that we’re hoping to be better and they just aren’t.  And then there are some that blow us away and they do beautiful work in the time that they have.  So it’s always both, good and bad …

Q:How would you say that they compare in terms of temperament?  Some seasons are more dramatic than others.  Is this one more dramatic or more low key?

H. Klum: It’s also mixed.  Our show is based on talent.  It’s not based on having characters on.  I feel like there are so many shows out there that just put people on because they look a certain way or they talk in a certain way or they’re goofy and funny or they do a lot for show or they do a lot for TV.  

I think we’re had longevity of a great show because it is about fashion and that is the main focus about our show.  I think that’s why people appreciate what we put on the air.  That it’s not about gossip and who sleeps with whom and who does what and who is getting on who’s nerves.  

Obviously, when things happen, we do show some of it, but this is not what our show is based on.  Our show is based on fashion and I think people appreciate that and I think that’s why we have been out for so long.  

But, people in the fashion industry; they’re very proud and they are designers and they stand behind what they make.  So there’s always friction and there’s always jealousy amongst them and they think one did something better than the other.  That always happens.

Q:My daughters were 12 and 11 ten seasons ago when they said I had to come watch this show in which people went to a grocery store and had to create fashion. So I’m wondering in all that time, are there any particular fashions that stand out?  Any finished products as being just your absolute favorites or maybe something that was just the worst thing in ten seasons that you saw?  

H. Klum: I personally always love the pieces that actually get to go out there in the real world.  We’ve done things for example with Banana Republic where people could buy things or where they created something for Barbie to wear.  I mean obviously I love the challenges where they have to use unconventional materials and yes, those pieces do stand out for me.  

We had, for example, a challenge with a car where they had to use materials that were part of the car.  Someone made a beautiful trench coat out of seatbelts or the mirror of the car and broke it and made jewelry out of it or it was part of the dress.  They get really creative when they don’t actually have fabrics and I always love that.  

The same with Austin Scarlett and his very first challenge, which was also a big thing for us, was Project Runway going to work or not when we did the challenge where they had to go to the grocery store and Austin Scarlett made this cornhusk dress.  So I love those too. 

But I like the pieces that actually go out there for people to buy, because our designers are so proud when people can actually buy their pieces.  They’ve designed things for me for my New Balance line before and people can buy this and they can say, “Oh yes, this is one of the Project Runway designers.”  Or for example, this season the designers get to design a new outfit for the Rockettes.  

This is something that will go down in history, and I love that, because even 10 or 20 seasons down the line when people do documentaries about the Rockettes and their costumes, it is something that will never go away. That is not something that will be forgotten.  

I went to Radio City Hall and I saw all the costumes that they had on the mannequins.  They’ve been around since the 40s, and now there are all these beautiful show outfits that they’ve worn and now there will be one for all the 39 Rockettes that a Project Runway designer did.  I love that.  It really means that we were part of other things too than just Project Runway.  It’s great for these designers.

That also is one of my favorite challenges.  I always love it when reality all of the sudden comes into it and people get to see their design in different places than just on our runway.  

Q: If you had to choose any designer right now to make you a red carpet dress, can you possibly say—?

H. Klum: Yes.  I have to say Christian Siriano because we’ve become friendly over the seasons.  He’s a little Jack Russell.  He does not give up.  He’s the kind of person that jumps up and down on you and then makes it happen.  He’s not someone that falls asleep somewhere in his Lazy.  He’s definitely someone, and you have to be like that. 

The squeaky wheel gets—what is it?  Gets the grease?  He squeaks all the time.  He’s like, “I got new things.”  He’s like, “… Klum I have to send you things.  Oh, my God, this is fabulous,” and, “What are you wearing for this event?  What are you wearing for that?”  He always makes sure that you don’t forget about him too, which is important.  And he then also comes up with the goods.  He makes beautiful clothes.  

So I like his personality.  I like that he hustles, because that’s what you have to do.  It’s a very competitive world out there and there are many great designers.  Yes, I can get big designer names.  He calls and he’s like, “I’m going to make something.” 

So last season for the Emmy’s I wore a Christian Siriano and I’m proud to wear his clothes.  He worked to the last second to make it special and I love that about him.  So I would pick him, I’ve worn many of his outfits over the seasons.

Q: I’m noticing that we don’t have any Portland designers on this season, but we have had several designers from Portland over the seasons, including the two winners; Seth Aaron Henderson and Gretchen Jones.  I wanted to ask you, because we here in Portland don’t think of ourselves as very fashionable and we seem so far away from what we think of as the big world of fashion, do you have any idea why people from Portland have done well in terms of getting on a show like Project Runway?

H. Klum: I think that creativity is in a person or it’s not.  It doesn’t matter where you come from.  You can be from the smallest town somewhere in the middle of nowhere but there’s the Internet.  There are books.  There’s TV. 

Even if you have never traveled the world, you are either interested and you learn about fashion and you want to be part of it or you don’t.  So it doesn’t matter if you come from New York City or any other fashion city or if you come from a smaller town.

Michael Kors, for example, he’s from New York City.  He grew up here and his mother is very fashionable and he kind of got in there in a different way, but there are a lot of people that have made it in this industry that come from all over the world.  So it doesn’t matter if you come from a big city or a small town.

Q: Do you have any advice to the people here in Portland who would love to have a career in fashion?  Any advice for them on what they need to do?

H. Klum: I think definitely the people that have been on Project Runway all got a huge casting platform.  People had seen them and even if they maybe would’ve not won I think they had a great opportunity to showcase what they can do.  

If you’re a designer and if you want to design for the masses or if you want to design for a big fashion house or for a big name, you just have to be where those designers are.  If you want to design for Michael Kors or Giorgio Armani or Ralph Lauren you have to be in those places and try.  You have to show your book and you have to show what you can do and you have to go to school before.  I mean there are definitely things that these places will check off in order for you to work for them, if that is what you want to do.  

Some people want to be designers but want to design maybe and have a small line and have a small store within your town.  Not everyone wants to design for a big label.  Some designers might just want to design for their town.  Everyone has a different ambition and everyone wants to design different things.  Some people want to design out of old antiques and sit on the flea market every Sunday and Saturday and sell their fashion there.  Everyone has different vision, a different point of view on what they want to sell and there’s nothing wrong with that.  

Our show is about designers who want to break into the real fashion world, that want to show a New York Fashion week that have the critics criticize them.  Someone who designs for a smaller town, say in Portland, might not necessarily hear about it, but that is okay too.  That is great too if that’s how you want to make your living and if that’s what fulfills you.  It doesn’t have to be all big and in the fashion world.  You can also be a designer on a smaller scale.

Q: Is there one memory that stands out in your mind from the first day or from the first season that you knew that you had something special on your hands?

H. Klum: Yes.  I always say it was after the very first challenge.  The very first challenge I gave the designers $50 and one day and they had to go to the grocery store.  I was so worried about this.  The producers and I were all sitting together before—because we had other more normal challenges also, but we thought … unconventional material challenge.  That will either set the tone and either showcase the designer’s talent or we will just tank because it will all look like arts and crafts projects.  

So we were a little bit worried about it, but at the same time we jumped in the cold water and we just gave it a shot.  I just have to say afterwards I’m so happy that we did because the very first episode set the tone of what the show’s all about.  It’s about creativity, innovation; people who have great talents and can really make clothes out of anything.  We wanted to make sure of that.  

Not every piece of clothing that they made was supposed to be worn; each challenge is a different challenge. I loved that about the show and I still do.  We rack our brains every season to come up with new challenges to surprise the audience, to surprise even our designers.  

I don’t want them to sit in front of me and they’re like, “Oh okay, she gives us a few hints.  That’s means we’re going to do that.”  We don’t want that.  So every time we really think about coming up with new things.  It is difficult after so many seasons, but I feel like we still do.  

Q: Since there are so many trends that are coming back, like the 90s trends with all the neon and even the parachute pants, is there one trend from the 90s that you just don’t want to come back at all?

H. Klum: I was never the biggest fan of the gigantic shoulder pads, for example.  I know everyone did it.  If it wasn’t overly huge, maybe I did wear one or two of those jackets, but really to me that does not look flattering.  

I like the MC Hammer pants.  I even like the stonewashed jeans, the ripped jeans when they come and go or the 70s, if they’re low or high wasted or the neon.  I do like those trends when they come back because they never really come back exactly how they were.  I think the designers today do take those ideas but then they make them new again for this time around.  But definitely I never loved those gigantic shoulder pads.   I can live without those.

Q:I know you spoke about the Rockettes challenge, but can you talk about any other challenges this season that we’ll see on the show?

H. Klum: We did this big one in Times Square.  I don’t know if you guys heard about it.  My dream was always to bring the show out on the street so fans could stop by and watch the fashion show.  I’ve been nagging on about it for many seasons and this season I finally got the yea.  

So we did our very first episode in Times Square where the designers had to make two outfits.  One outfit they had to do at home to showcase who they are as a designer and then we gave them a choice when they came to New York City where they had to make another second look and then we showed that.  

We had like a big stage in Time Square and we had hundreds and hundreds of fans there.  They were really nervous.  They didn’t know we were going to do this so they all had shaky knees and they were scared to go out in front of such a big audience.  It was a lot of fun.

Q:Are there any other new contestants that we should keep our eye on? Could you point to anyone in particular?

H. Klum: I can’t really tell you; otherwise you know already who’s going to stay a little longer.  I can tell you another challenge.  We had one where they had to make clothes out of candy.  We actually went to Ralph Lauren’s daughter’s store—

So we went to the Dylan Candy Store and they loved it.  I loved it too.  I love the unconventional challenge when they get to make clothes out of things that are not fabric. 

Q:As a mom, are there any Project Runway designers either from the current season or the past seasons that you would like to see do a kid’s line?

H. Klum: It’s funny you should ask.  You definitely have to watch this season because there might be something very interesting about that.  There will definitely be something like that incorporated in this tenth season.

I know that some designers have gone into baby clothes.  I think Seth Aaron actually did or Jeffrey Sebelia, very punk, a little bit more rock and roll.  It’s a little harder.  You should definitely watch this season.  There will be something along those lines.

Q:As far as your own kids go, do you have as much fun dressing them up as you do yourself or have they kind of developed their own senses of style now?

H. Klum: Well some do and some don’t.  I mean Lou and Johan didn’t really care that much about clothes.  They like when they have cool things on and they’re in the mirror, but my fashionistas are definitely Henry and Leni.  

Henry changes clothes ten times a day and he wants to be very cool.  I mean he would wear a t-shirt and then he will wear a tie just around his neck, knotted, and then a belt over the t-shirt.  He does very unusual ways of dressing where I’m like, “Really?  You want to put the belt over t-shirt and the tie around your neck?”  And he’s like, “Yes, mom.  I’m cool.”  

We have a rule in our house.  Rule number one is always to look cool, and rule number two is don’t forget rule number one.  Then we have other rules like you can’t walk down the street without holding hands or you can’t go in an elevator without an adult.  So we have all these different rules, but rule number one is always to look cool.  They know that, and Leni and Henry take that very seriously.  But I let them dress the way they want to do it.  I don’t really tell them what to wear.

Q:Even the younger ones pick out their outfits sometimes?

H. Klum: Yes, I mean out of their closet but not so much when we go shopping. Lou has one polka dot leopard dress that she loves and then she will say, “Mamma, I have my polka dot leopard dress on.”  So she does acknowledge what she’s wearing.  She’s … in clothes instead of naked.  She will say what she has on if she likes it, but she’s not that fussy about clothes, no.

Q:We have been hearing gossip that a couple of the designers left the show early under unusual circumstances.  I wondered if that’s going to be something we’ll see on the show itself and if you could tell us anything about it?

H. Klum: Yes, you will definitely see it on the show.  This has never happened to us before.  I think they just couldn’t make it work.  We always say, “Make it work.  Make it work.”  They just could not make it work and in the morning they were gone.  They literally packed up their bags and ran off in the middle of the night when everyone was sleeping.  We just couldn’t believe it either.  

You would think that a grownup would say, “Thanks, but I can’t make it work.  I’ve got to go early or something.  This is something that a kid would do, but we were all very surprised.  But if people can’t make it work then leave the spot for someone else that wants to make it work.

Q:I’m sorry you lost the cast but it should make for interesting viewing.  I was wondering if the designers will be designing anything for any of your lines?

H. Klum: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Q:I know you said that you want more challenges out in the street.  How else do you see the show evolving for future seasons?

H. Klum: I mean this was already something very difficult for us to go outside.  I would love to go overseas maybe for future seasons where we go to other fashion cities, such as Paris or Milan or ….  We would love that.  It’s difficult.  

We are definitely not one of the gigantic budget shows that are out there.  We’re still in a way very documentary style.  We do everything at Parsons.  Parsons is the design school.  Right now I’m in a classroom before I go downstairs onto the runway, because it’s summer time right now so there aren’t any classes here at Parsons.  

Other shows they have stages and they have budgets to travel all over the place.  We don’t.  Everything really happens here at the school.  Michael and Nina, they’re next door.  There’s another classroom.  They’re getting ready. I’m getting ready in this classroom and then we meet downstairs on the runway.  

It’s very gritty.  It’s not very Hollywood let’s say.  So it’s hard for us to travel to different countries and that kind of thing.  I’m fighting for that.  I would love for that to happen, that we can maybe go to Paris … Fashion Week or visit some of the great designers that are more settled over there that we can have as guest judges because some don’t travel here.  So I would like to bring my designers over there.  

But I feel like with this first challenge that we’re doing in Times Square where we made a big push that cost them a lot of money to put the runway on Times Square and book that spot for a few hours.  So we’re making baby steps in the right direction.

Q:Since Project Runway has paved the road for so many other fashion reality shows, is there more pressure now to be better than the competition?  How do you deal with that?

H. Klum: I think there’s always competition in any job that you do and we just try to be true to what Project Runway is all about.  I definitely think that we were one of the first ones who did a reality show about fashion.  That’s why it was so hard to sell the show to begin with because people were always saying to us, “Why would someone want to watch how clothes are being made?”  

We had to explain why it is interesting to show the talent of people, that they make something beautiful out of a piece of fabric or unconventional materials.  So yes, there are definitely a lot of shows that have originated from Project Runway.  And to the sense even though there are competitions I’m kind of proud of that too, because we started it.  

Competition doesn’t make you rest and just sit on the couch with your feet up.  I think it also pushes you to still work very hard at it.  Even though we are doing the tenth season we still all love coming to work and we work all very hard making new challenges and thinking of new ideas and keeping it fresh.  Even though we’ve been doing it for ten seasons we still want to keep it fresh and exciting for all viewers.  We definitely do not fall asleep over here.  And with competition, it makes you work harder in a way.

Q:Since fashion has become even more accessible nowadays, how do you approach the challenges now as compared to other seasons?  Is it that much harder?

H. Klum: We just try to think of challenges for them to do that they haven’t done before.  We try to think outside of the box.  Obviously there are still challenges that are attached to certain companies so that we get their clothes out for people to buy.  I always think that that’s important.  It’s important to our fans to be able to buy the clothes and it’s important for our designers to be seen out there.  So we just try to keep that same mixture as we’ve always had, but we don’t really look at it differently.  

We try to come up with new challenges, and we do.  We do.  I don’t know how, but we always do.  We brainstorm.  We come up with things and then we have conference calls.  We meet and then we mull it over.  Someone sparks an idea and then someone else finishes that idea off.  We’ve all known each other for a long time and so it’s a lot of back and forth and we do come up with new things.  We always do. 

Q:I’m curious about how you choose what you’ll wear on the show when you present the challenges to the designers?  I was wondering do you purposefully try to wear something that won’t give them ideas when you’re presenting a task or is that not part of the consideration?

H. Klum: Yes, I don’t think about the challenges or what I’m wearing.  My outfit never has anything to do with what the challenge is about.  

I do have a stylist.  Her name is Maryam Malakpour.  What we do is we basically have one or two days of fittings.  Many different designers send things to me, some designers that are big and some new designers.  A lot of Project Runway designers will send me things. Then I basically for like four or five hours try clothes on and then we create the look so that when I come to work I don’t have to think about what I have to wear.  So we do all of that before the season starts.  

It never used to be like that when we first started.  When we first started I was in my own closet.  I was like, “What am I going to wear?”  Also being ten seasons ago I was not having the closet that I have today and not the kind of clothes that you have to have when you do a television show about fashion.  As a model, you go to a job and then you wear the designer’s clothes but you don’t really own all of that in your own closet.  

I didn’t really have a stylist in the beginning.  So when you see all the old episodes of when I come out sometimes I’m in jeans and in a strange top or whatever, that’s what I had in my closet.  So I’m very thankful that we have grown in that sense that we can now afford a stylist who can help me.

Q:You always look so great.  I was wondering what was your experience like when you shot the Project Runway print ad with all the scissors.  Were you scared or were you just like, “Let’s do it.  It’s not a big deal.”

H. Klum: Actually I put a video on my Facebook page if you guys want to—because a lot of people thought it was retouched, that I just did a photo in my lingerie and that the scissors were kind of put around me afterwards.  So I wanted to let people see how it was done.

No, they had basically all the scissors laying on this piece that was in the shot and they kind of left a gap for me in the middle so I could just like lay right down in the middle of it.  The photographer was above me on kind of like a little cherry-picker crane, something like that, and just shot down on me.  It was fun.

I’m used to wearing lingerie from my Victoria’s Secret days.  I was happy that I actually got to wear something.  Last season I had to be completely naked.  I don’t know if you guys remember … from last season.  So I was happy that I got something on this time around.

Q: Can you touch a bit on the challenges again?  Are there any particular challenges over the seasons that you thought would never work that were a success?  In turn, is there anything you’d like to try that you haven’t yet?  

H. Klum: Challenges that didn’t work—Last season it was, unfortunately, one of my ideas.  I was wearing stilts one season on Halloween.  I was a gigantic robot from the future and so I thought it would be really cool if we did a runway show and we called it “Larger than Life” where the designers make an outfit for models that are on stilts, because I thought that it would really create more of a dramatic show with a lot of volume, in terms of fabric and flowiness when they walk over the runway.  

I have to say I was very disappointed in what the designers came up with.  They came up with weird kind of clown pants.  They weren’t as fashionable as I wanted that challenge to be.  So that unfortunately was not as cool as I thought it would be.  

I think it was still dramatic, but they just thought too surfacey or something.  They were thinking too much costume instead of fashion.  I thought that you could still make a real fashion outfit and then just have it on stilts, but it just went the other way.

Q: What do you feel it is about the show in particular that continues to resonate so well with viewers?

H. Klum: I think viewers like when they see people who have maybe a job at a completely different place.  For example a bank or some who maybe still go to school for something or a lawyer, and their passion is also design and they’re really good at sewing and coming up with great things and here they are on Project Runway living a dream that is within them too.  I think that people like to see that.  They like to see people who have a talent with something.  I think that’s why it works.  

I think also that’s why it’s great to see those shows where people have another talent, like signing for example.  Where you see these people who have a completely different job but then they’re on television belting it out.  They have this amazing voice, this hidden talent.  

I think people enjoy watching that dream of another person, that dream that these people have.  You fight for them.  You root for them.  You want them to do well and you want to see what they can come up with.  

Q:I noticed there are a lot of gay competitors on this season.  I was going to ask about Gunner.  Could you talk about how he didn’t make it last season and what made your decision to have him in this season?

H. Klum: We were thinking about Gunner.  He came last season and he didn’t make it.  He had this dress that confused us.  It was kind of this prom-looking gown that he had and it was just not very on trend or fashion forward.  It was very Cinderella, old school, and we just did not believe in him that much.  

I think he grew in that season and he showed us a lot of great things.  He showed us that he evolved as a designer so we wanted to give him a shot.  Last season we didn’t give him a shot and this season we wanted to give him a shot.  So he made it on the show and he’s a good designer.  

We like it when we’re wrong.  We like it when they prove us that we’re wrong, that they’re better than expected.  He’s fun.  He’s a fun guy and he deserves to be here.

Q:Are you going to bring your book signing to Chicago?  We’d love to have you here.

H. Klum: I’m here in New York right now and I’m filming so I was able to go.  I’m going on Friday.  It is not my book.  I wrote a little bit for it and there are definitely some of my stories in there, but it’s not my personal book.  It’s the show’s book and someone else wrote the book.  I was very excited that they asked me if I would go to Barnes & Nobles on Friday and sign a little bit, but I’m not going to go on a book tour.  

Q:What has been your most awkward moment ever when filming Project Runway?

H. Klum: Well for me a lot of the times I would make my outfits too short and then I have to sit in the director’s chairs and I literally have to tell the camera man to please keep me from the waist up, because no matter how I cross my legs it’s always too short.  Michael is like, “Put your cards on your lap.  Put your cards on lap.”  But that is for me, personally, one of my awkward moments.  

I would do my fitting and I’m like, “This is too long.  Let’s shorten it.”  And then we would shorten it and then we get it back and I shortened it too much and I forgot I have to sit in this dress and then, oops, it all rides up—yes, so that’s an awkward moment for me.  But then I have to make it work because I don’t have anything else to wear for that day.

Q:Well speaking of the judging segment, do you ever have moments where you feel sorry for the stressed out and the sleep deprived designers?

H. Klum: Of course I do.  Sometimes I feel bad.  I launch into this whole thing, what I don’t like about this and how I don’t understand why you came up with something like this.  The challenge was X, Y and Z and you just gave it away and you’re such a designer.  I launch into a whole thing and then afterwards I’m like, “Oh no, now I feel really bad that I said all of that.”  

I fight for them.  I fight for them and I root for them and I sit there and I want them to do good and I don’t understand sometimes why they do these things where I know that they can be so much better because they’ve shown it to me before.  And afterwards I sometimes think, “Wow that came out rather harsh.”

Q: I’m from Argentina and we have a Project Runway here too, the Latin version.  I was wondering if you have ever considered doing an international all-stars like you did last season or to bring some of the elements of international versions to the main Project Runway?

H. Klum: Maybe that is something we can do after this season is over.  Maybe we can incorporate other countries or maybe go to other countries.  For me it is hard to go—you mean for me to go to Argentina and other places?

Q: Or bring the internal all-stars participants or the winners from different Project Runways—

H. Klum: Together and then they can compete?

Q: Yes.

H. Klum: I think that is a great idea.  We should definitely do something like that.  To have a Project Runway winner from Argentina or from Germany or from Italy, all those winners, to bring them together and do an all-stars.  I think that’d be great.  Then all the country’s winners can fight with each other.  Who is the best designer?

Q: I guess everybody on that team must be working like crazy to get something new in a ten-season old show.

H. Klum: Not so much Tim, Nina and Michael.  They don’t really participate in the producing of the show.  I do that with the producers of the show.  It’s people that no one really knows.  We work behind the scenes and we work months and months in advance before we start shooting.  

But it is definitely hard because you want it to always be good.  It definitely is hard to always come up with new things.  When you’ve been around for so long it is hard, but we do always pull it together.  We do always make it happen.  It always works out.  We always do come up with new things.

Q: What’s the difference between how you leave the show when you’re making it and the things that we as viewers get to see?  For instance, I always think that maybe that was not the dress or why did this guy do this stuff and then we see something different on the show.  Maybe you get to see a different aspect?

H. Klum: I’m sure there are a lot of people in the audience that think why are we judging the way we’re judging, but I think that’s normal.  I think also a lot of people who are maybe not in the fashion industry will look at things differently.  They would say, “Oh but that was so pretty.”  

But then when we talk about a certain outfit and we say, “Honestly, this is very much a knockoff of what Prada did four seasons ago and he did exactly the same thing,” then we don’t appreciate that.  But maybe a person who’s not in the fashion industry does not know that Prada did a certain something four seasons ago.  Do you see what I mean?

So sometimes there are certain aspects as to why someone continues and why someone doesn’t and each challenge is different.  Sometimes we also think about the challenge.  This person wasn’t particularly very good but we believe in this designer.  He did all the other challenges.  He did a really a good job.  And sometimes we say, “Okay, therefore we’re going to keep this person in.” We give them a last chance.  

Each week is different.  There’s always a reason why they continue on or why they don’t.  Normally you cannot always explain to everybody why that is or that everyone will always understand why that is.  We do try to explain it when we do the Q&A with the designers and why we like it and why we don’t like it, but maybe it doesn’t always come across as well as it should.

Q: How have you and other judges grown relationship wise in the past nine seasons?

H. Klum: We know each other so well.  We have lunch together almost every day when we’re shooting.  We talk about the theater.  Michael is really into the theater and he talks about things that he just saw.  We just talk. We’re friends.  He asks about my kids and what I’m up to.  He brings his husband, Lance, and then we all chat.  Nina talks about her children.  

So we always have a good time together catching up.  It’s always a very intense time when we’re together.  It’s nice.  It’s very comforting to work with people that you know and love and have fun with.  We laugh a lot together.  It’s not hard for us to do this.  We really enjoy what we’re doing.

Q: When you guys are all exhausted and overwhelmed from filming this show what’s your favorite place to go hang out and unwind with the other judges in New York?

H. Klum: To be honest, we don’t really see each other that much outside from being here.  We all have lives and people in our lives that we want to spend time with.  Michael works a lot.  He has a whole fashion house that he has to run and when he doesn’t do that he’s here on Project Runway.  Nina does Marie Claire Magazine. She has children.  She has a husband.  So when she’s not here she’s with her family or she’s at work.  And it’s the same for me.  On days off I’m with my family.  

We shoot until like 8:00 at night.  We don’t go out afterwards.  When we spend all day together we all go to our personal lives and we’re all with our families.  That’s what I do on my days off.  I do things with the children.  We go to the theater or we go to the water park.  Yesterday we went to see Brave.  Every day I have off I do things with the kids.  So I don’t really spend that much time outside of being here with them for so many weeks.  Then everyone does their own thing.  

Q: Who’s been your favorite guest appearance so far and who would you want to come on someday?

H. Klum: Favorite guest, it’s hard.  We’ve had some great people on.  I, for example, personally love Bob Mackie.  I’m a huge Barbie collector and I have all of Bob Mackie’s Barbies and all the special Barbies.  So when I met him for the first time I was really like, “I love you Bob Mackie.”  

For some of the designers maybe it was more like Christina Aguilera or like a Victoria Beckham.  I don’t know.  Everyone has a different kind of excitement for a certain person.  For some people, the bigger the star the more excited they are.  For me it was—I love Bob Mackie, for example.  So everyone has a different guest judge.  

Some actresses that have been here that I’m personally friendly with, I obviously love having them here.  Debra Messing is a friend of mind. She’s been here in the past.  I love having people who I spend personal time with.  Having them on here is always fun too.  

Q: For you personally, what do you tend to weigh more heavily on, idea or execution?  I mean obviously the best designs on the show are excellent in both, but which do you tend to value more?

H. Klum: If it’s one idea that is so amazing, that is so different from anything I’ve ever seen before, then I’m not that strict on execution.  Like if the hem is crooked or if it’s something like that.  But if it’s a very simple dress and then the execution is bad, then I don’t know why that person is necessarily here.  

It’s a design show.  It’s about design.  So it’s not about making basics.  It’s not about making a basic pair of black pants or a basic t-shirt or a basic blouse or a basic dress.  It’s a design show.  So they have to come up with really innovative, new designs.  If there is one that’s really stunning, then I’m not as harsh on them if the hem if off.

Q: What do you guys look for when selecting contestants?  What’s the “it” factor that makes people get chosen?

H. Klum: When we do the casting so many different people come to the casting.  Sometimes people bring the craziest things to the casting, like t-shirts with studs in them or they knock things together but not in a cool way. It’s clear they haven’t seen the show.  They don’t know how hard it is to be on there.  

You have to be able to sew.  You have to do all these things and they’re like, “Oh,” or they just want to come for shock value or some bring things where you know clearly they have not done that.  Where someone’s cut the label out and they’ll just show you that.  There are numbers of people who were fake or not really real.  

It’s difficult for us to kind of weed through all of these people, but then that person just all of the sudden walks in the door and they would have some clothes where we raise our eyebrows and go, “Oh wow, that’s cool.  Tell me more about yourself and what your point of view is and who you are and who you’re designing for.”  They can also string sentences together and they can actually have an idea on who they are and whom they’re designing for.  

So it’s kind of like a little bit of all of that.  Come with some great clothes and know who you are, because you do need to know who you are as a designer if you want to be here and show your point of view.

Also, click here to see some videos for the new season of Project Runway, including a peek at the behind the scenes for the promo ad shoot with Heidi Klum!

Will you be tuning into Project Runway tomorrow night?

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The Chic Sheet said...

This is so cool...I am ready for the upcoming season ;)


Setyo-Utomo Said said...


follow me on :

james said...

ahh! youre so lucky =) grreaaat interview!

xx james

VintageDanielle said...

Wow, what a great opportunity to interview Heidi!! I adore her!

Unknown said...

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Hanna C. said...

you'r so lucky!!


beautiful me plus you said...

Great blog! Hope you dont mind me following you! x Marina

Oh to Be a Muse said...

It's so awesome that you were able to be a part of this conference call and that you actually got to ask Heidi a question. To be honest, I used to love PR, but recently I had stopped watching it because it was getting to be a bit boring (same thing with ANTM). But after this post, I think I'll be tuning in to the premiere.

sartob said...

aaaw that's such an amazing post! thanks for sharing <3


Unknown said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm now following you via gfc :) Would love it if you follow back!


Daniella said...

Wow this is soooo cool, what an amazing opportunity!!! Great question to :)

Take care, Daniella xox

Always Maylee said...

So awesome that you got to interview Heidi Klum!

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

tini-tani said...

Hello! Great blog! The last post is very interesting and beautiful! Let's follow each other, if you agree, then let me know!)))

A Brit Greek said...

How fantastic Audrey! This must have been one of those amazing moments! Bless her, she's pretty awesome & good of her to share the down-lo on the show!

Hope all is well with you hun!

Nancie said...

awesome opportunity...love the interview
first time on your blog and I love it.xx

kaylee said...

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing xo

marykapsi said...

I totally love her <3
MaryFashionLove on Facebook

Fashion Recession said...

How awesome that you had this opportunity with Miss Klum!
I actually really appreciate the documentary style of Project Runway, I think that is a part of its strength and success, but travelling would be really amazing for these future designers!



Bionica said...

omg Audrey this is so fabulous
thank you so much for sharing with us and congrats as well!!!
I can't believe Patricia Fields is going to be on the show again
I love her <3


Diana said...

Omg, this awesome!! I'm so jealous you got to talk to her!! She is fabulous, definitely one of the style icons for me!! And she is funny, and smart, and ironic!! Great post, thanks for sharing! xoxo


Unknown said...

what an awesome interview! love project runway ;)

xo SideSmile,

SideSmile Style Blog

Diana Marks said...

wow! cool interview!

Please support my up and coming blog about life and fashion in Los Angeles by following it on Bloglovin ;) I can follow you back if you want ;)

LA By Diana Live Magazine

Unknown said...

That's so awesome that you were on the call. Love Heidi!

xo Mary Jo

Justina said...

What an amazing opportunity! And you asked an awesome question.

Enter My Giveaway!


What a fantastic opportunity Audrey for you & other bloggers and reporters! Great interview! I've not seen Project Runway in quite a while. xxoo

Anisa Young said...

What's crazy is that I was suppose to have been part of this as well! Damn class, looks great though! She's a doll! xx

Unknown said...

Wow you are so lucky, what a great opportunity. Well done, you asked a good question :)


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