Heidi Klum is talking to me from an empty Parsons classroom. Nina Garcia and Michael Kors are next door, and they’re all getting ready to head up to the runway. Before that happens, I’m one of the few who gets a chance to speak with Klum about season 10 of Lifetime’s Project Runway.
Klum has described the process for the show has “not Hollywood” and unbelievably, Klum (who is, after all, one of Hollywood’s biggest A-Listers and one of the most successful supermodels in the world) makes me feel relaxed. This isn’t the first time I’ve talked with her. And even though she’s likely feeling rushed, she has the same upbeat, cheerful attitude that I remember from before.
Heidi Klum is a happy person.
And why not be happy? Project Runwayis in it’s tenth season! That’s a huge milestone!
“It’s been amazing…. We never thought that would would make it this far. Michael always says (that we’ve been) on longer than I Love Lucy, which we always laugh about, and I can’t believe it. But he Googled it.”
After ten years, you start to wonder if Klum might ever get sick of this job. But that doesn’t seem to be an issue. “Even thought we’ve been doing it for ten years I still love coming to work every season. I love being with Michael and I love being with Nina and Tim (Gunn.) …We’ve become a family.” She adds, “We’re proud, we’re very proud.”
And it wasn’t easy in those early years. Klum mentions that still don’t have the biggest budget (yes, she’d love to take the designers overseas to other fashion cities like Milan), but she’s proud to have been one of the first big reality shows that made its way into mainstream media. She still remember going around NYC, trying to explain what the show would be about to potential partners. And that first challenge with the grocery store? They were all bracing themselves, hoping the results wouldn’t look like craft projects gone wrong.
Klum also remembers that she used to have to wear things from her own closet while hosting (“jeans and a funny top” being the way she remembers those types of looks.) These days, she has previous winners sending her designs, as well as the biggest designer name labels there are. She is not wanting for fashion. And neither is the show.
One of the things that keeps the show so fresh are the new designers that come to Project Runway every year. “It’s always exciting to see these new designers. They all have a different story to tell. … It’s always fun to have people who are so hungry for it all.” But that doesn’t mean that everyone is great. Though she said there are some really amazing challengers there’s also some that don’t make the cut. “I think we have some on this season that are not that talented and we quickly see that.”
Could that be why some of the contestants literally fled the scene in the middle of the night? (Project Runway Spoilers ahead!) Klum confirmed that, “A couple designers left early.” Which is so bizarre! “They just could not make it work. In the morning, they were gone. They ran off in the middle of the night. We couldn’t believe it. You would think that a grown up would say ‘thanks but I can’t make it work, I gotta go early.’ This is such like… something that a kid would do. We were all very surprised.”
Will this season be dramatic with a capital D? “People in the fashion industry, they are very proud… so yea there’s always friction and jealousy among them.” But Klum was quick to explain that drama isn’t enough to keep someone around.
“Our show is based on talent, it’s not based on having characters. I feel like there’s so many shows out there… they just put people on because they look a certain way… I think we’ve had longevity of a great show because we are about fashion and that is the main focus of that show.” She continued, “Obviously when things happen we show some of it but that is not what our show is based on. Our show is based on fashion. And I think people appreciate that.”
We don’t touch on her personal life. She supplies that she spends a lot of her free time with her family, saying she took the kids to see “Brave” the other day. I’m most interested when she explains that her kids really do wear whatever they want (as long as it’s out of their closet.) With a chuckle and a smile, she explains the fashion rules for her house as dictated by her kids, “Rule number one is to always look cool. Rule number two is never forget rule number one.” And for the kids? What’s cool is sometimes a belt and a tie over a t-shirt. And that’s just fine by her.
She has a full, fashionable life. Who could ask for anything more?
Other bits and pieces
– Klum mentioned one of her lines will be included in a challenge. Perhaps her Wildlife by Heidi Klum jewelry? (If you haven’t seen it, check it out on QVC. I think there are some incredible pieces.)
– A behind the scenes video of Klum doing her scissors print ad has been posted, and she’s adamant to show fans that she really did lay down with all the scissors. She wasn’t scared of them, but did mention she was glad she got to at least wear some clothes for it, even if that was only some lingerie.
– Her favorite challenges are the unconventional ones. Especially the time the designers had to use car parts. She mentioned the beautiful trench coat of seat belts, and jewelry made from car mirrors. Austin Scarlett and his cornhusk dress gets a shout-out.
– Her second favorite challenges are when the “real world” gets involved – such as when viewers can buy pieces on Banana Republic.
– One of the challenges will include designing a new costume for the Radio City Rockettes, which Klum said is an incredibly big deal and will be a historic part of the Rockettes.
– Another Project Runway Season 10 challenge will include children. Klum giggles, looking to her handlers to see if she can say anything, explaining she’ll ramble on. She does her best not to give away too much, but then actually does let it slip that there will also be a candy challenge. Uh oh, her handlers didn’t want that one given away! Since it’s already out, Klum confirms it’ll be done at Dylan’s Candy Bar with Dylan Lauren.
– There’s a big challenge in Times Square for season 10, and that had been something Klum had always wanted to do. “My dream was always to bring the show out on the street. I’ve been nagging on about it so many years and this year I finally got it.” For the challenge, designers make 2 outfits. One outfit they’ve made at home to showcase who they are as a designer. Then they make their NYC outfit. Aside from saying it cost a lot to rent the space and do it, Klum says the designers were very nervous.
– There’s more goodies on the way! Christian Siriano got a major shout-out from her.
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Follow TV Critic Jessica Rae on Twitter @ThisJessicaRae.