Here, as they launch their new show, Making The Cut on Amazon Prime. The show sees 12 designers face an array of challenges before the formidable judging panel of Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Carine Roitfeld, Joseph Altuzarra and Chiara Ferragni decide who gets their hands on a one million dollar injection into their business. Here, the pair talk about the power of their friendship and why in these crazy times it’s so important to think and not just do…
It’s hard to find joyful moments in these testing times we are living in. But getting on the phone to Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum – who have been working together for 17 entire years since the launch of Project Runway – certainly brings the joy. And more importantly, talking to them shows why they have been at the top of the fashion TV game for nearly two decades: they genuinely love each other.
And whilst Amazon Prime celebrates the launch of one of the best new TV shows around, in light of the Coronavirus outbreak, Making The Cut will be donating more than $600,000 to the World Health Organization, and to local charities in New York, Paris, and Tokyo, where the series was filmed some of its stunning, jaw-dropping runway shows…
What do you think makes your on-screen relationship so special?
Tim: We really love each other and it’s sincere. We can really be ourselves around each other, too. I have to say we are the oddest couple in the whole of television land, and I think that is part of the appeal, that we are quirky.
Heidi: Tim and I are in the longest marriage I have ever been in! It’s been 17 years of marriage! We met a long time ago and it was love at first sight. We grew together in this television world. When you create something like this together and you win an Emmy, you go to these nerve wrecking events, and you are behind a curtain about to present an award it’s amazing to have someone alongside you. After 17 years of marriage things can get a little stale so we need a new wind in our wings to fly again, and with Making the Cut we finally get to do a lot of things we have always wanted to do.
What is the greatest thing the other has taught you about yourself?
Heidi: Tim constantly teaches me new words and shows me how small my vocabulary is! He also shows me how to present! He also shows me how important a bond is and how important our little history is together. Not many people can say they worked successfully with someone for 17 years and want to continue working together. That is a beautiful thing to have with a person.
Tim: For me, Heidi has boosted my confidence. She reinforces for me, every time we are together, just how important it is to just be yourself. One of the amazing things about each other is we will never talk wardrobe before arriving on set and we are always co-ordinated!
Tim, how has Heidi helped with your confidence?
Tim: I had a great deal of confidence when I was teaching in the classroom (at Parsons) for 29 years. But this other world of being so exposed to so many people on camera was so unknown to me and Heidi has been instrumental in helping propel me forward. I think I would have crashed and burned if I was on my own.
Heidi: No, you would have not!
You are encouraging these designers to take control of their own careers and their own narratives and you two have done that in your own careers too. What have you learnt about taking control of your own narratives?
Tim: For me it goes back to when I was teaching and a phrase I used to say was, ‘I can’t want you to succeed more than you do and why is that I feel more invested in your success than you are?’ It’s on them! It’s on their heads, they have to want it badly. They need to have an unconditional passion for it in a way that says, ‘if I do not do this, I might as well be dead.’ That’s what it takes.
Heidi: I agree. At the end of the day you have to put the work in. You have to want it. You have to be the one who wants it the most. You have to work for it. You can’t wait for things to come along and fly you away, you have to work! I think thinking is important too, I think it’s important to roll up your sleeves and work but it’s also important to think about your steps. It’s a chess game, you have to think about the next step and the one after that. That’s hard to do in this time as it’s an unknown space and we are taking one day at a time. But thinking and strategising are important for us all to do. We need to revaluate things, things that went well, things that didn’t go so well and how we can be better by yourself or part of a community. Now it’s thinking time and more thinking time.
Tim: It’s a very good time to reflect.
Has your relationship showed you how powerful teamwork can be, especially in the climate we are living in now?
Heidi: It’s so important! You will see in the show, too that it’s not catty at all although they are all fighting for that one-million-dollar prize and only one person can win it they. It’s beautiful how they help each other to get to the finish line. It’s very kind.
Tim: They built their own community!
We really need a show like this right now, an escapist TV show. Why do you think we need Making the Cut more than ever?
Tim: Agreed! Well it’s an antidote of sorts to these difficult times. People want a distraction and Making the Cut certainly does that.
You have a lot of laughter when you are together. What was your biggest laugh out moment when filming this series?
Heidi: We thought when we are in Paris and the designers are working, lets learn some stuff! So, we made croissants in Paris and we got a little side-tracked by drinking too much French wine! We were constantly laughing. We were always having a blast. We didn’t want to sit around in hotel rooms! I even asked Tim to help me shop for my husband and it was the funniest thing to see Tim in all these jeans and leather biker jackets. We were just having fun all the time!
You have an amazing panel on this show: Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Carine Roitfeld, Joseph Altuzarra, Chiara Ferragni but who surprised you the most?
Heidi: When we were shooting Project Runway, we had judges on the show who would be like, ‘that is so nice!’ Then when we cut, they would say, ‘that’s horrible!’ I would turn around and say, ‘why did you lie? Why didn’t you say that when we were taping?’ There are no cowards in this bunch! They were so invested in the show and the designers. Nobody acted like, ‘ok, we are getting paid, we are on the show.’ Everyone went on a journey, it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride. We travelled the world together for many, many weeks and they invested their time and heart into the show and the designers.
Tim: The surprise to me was how invested the judges were. It’s so easy just to sit there and they really cared, they became emotional at people leaving and so emotional when they won.
What moment really struck a chord with your emotions?
Tim: There are so many! There are emotions in every single episode. Genuinely it’s about losing a designer. But also, to stand backstage with the designers, watching their designs walking these runways, was breath-taking.
Heidi: It started for me in the first episode in the first episode when we told them the winning prize was 1 million dollars and their eyes popped out of their head. Or when they walked into the studio for the first time and they saw the full judging panel – as they didn’t know anything about the prize or the judges beforehand – so that was really inspiring and emotional. To have their first big runway show at the Eiffel Tower, was so emotional too!