Project Runway All Stars premiered on Thursday
, and the fashion design series' tenth season brought big changes in tow: New prize package, new workroom mentor, new panel of judges. The returning designers were thrilled to have such a full-scale fresh start, but would fans be able to adapt amid so many, er, alterations?
As both the host and a judge on Project Runway All Stars
, supermodel Angela Lindvall knew she had big stilettos to fill when she signed up for the job usually performed by Heidi Klum. She's more comfortable picking vegetables on her seven-acre farm than presenting to a pack of designers in full-on glamazon gear, she told me, and found watching herself on the first episode so "surreal" that she said, "I don't know if I can watch it anymore!"
But from the group of talented fan-favorite designers who've returned for another shot at runway victory, to the intense and off-the-wall challenges, to her impressive fellow judges, there's so much to love about Project Runway All Stars
that even Lindvall won't be able to resist. And, with time, she hopes you'll come around on
all the alterations, too:
How did hosting Project Runway All Stars live up to your expectations?
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You know what, I would have never pursued to be a host of a TV show. It's kind of like one of those amazing opportunities that came along. Then, when I did it, I loved it. I thought it was so fun and great. And I watched the episode the other night, and I know there's a lot of huge expectations for the show because it's like a beloved show in America. And I thought the show was fabulous.
But I've got to say, watching myself ... I haven't watched TV in 10 years, so watching TV in general is really weird. But watching myself on TV, and the personified-version fashionista of myself, was really surreal and kind of started making me insane, so I don't know if I can watch it anymore.
Was it hard for you to follow in the footsteps of Heidi, Tim and the other judges? Were you worried about how fans might react?
Yeah, it was kind of like, "OK, Tim Gunn is one of the most beloved men in America now." I know Joanna [Coles] was having a hard time with that one. We talked about it and I was like, "Oh my God, everyone's gonna be like, 'Where's Heidi?'" and she was like, "Hello? Tim Gunn's one of the most beloved men in America. What was I thinking?" We were kind of laughing about it, but ultimately it's about us being ourselves and being the new fresh eye on the show.
You know, I think it's going to be hard for people at first because they're not going to understand. "Why the hell is Heidi not here and who's this girl?" Heidi and I, although we have similarities, I think we're super different. I'm an all-American girl from Kansas City, so hopefully people will accept me as the judge of Project Runway All Stars
and hopefully love me over time.
What's it like to work alongside Issac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman?
They're amazing. Isaac is so hilarious and super-intelligent. He's got a particular eye and such a particular opinion, and the words and metaphors and comparisons he uses I just find to be so entertaining. He's great. And Georgina -- everyone in America loves a British accent. She's very refined. She makes the most beautiful dresses on the red carpet, and she knows what she's talking about. She's a very knowledgeable designer when it comes to details and practicalities of the work. She gives invaluable advice to these designers. And they were super fun. They have such different viewpoints. There are times when Isaac loves that and Georgina hates it, and I love it and Isaac hates it, or whatever. It's actually pretty fun. We have three really different views on things. And if we all hate it or all love it, then it's easy, but you know it's not always like that.
What is your judging philosophy? Are you bringing your experience from the modeling industry, having worked with so many different designers?
Yeah. I mean, I have the amazing opportunity to work with the most creative people in the business, and I guess that's the beauty of being a model. You're not just seeing it from your perspective. You know, if you're a photographer, you only see your photography. If you're a designer, you're only working from your point of view. I get to see all the most creative people in the world's point of view, and you learn so much from that. There are designers, creative directors, there's stylists, art directors, hair and makeup people, so you really get this broadened exposure to all angles of things, and you really learn a lot from them. And then of course I wear the clothes, so I know what works and what doesn't work, so that's kind of where I come from.
In the past, there have been challenges where the designers would design for Heidi. Do we get to see them design for you at all?
They didn't design anything for me this time, although I would have loved to wear some. But you know, we'll see. If people love the show and we do a second season and they wanna have me back, then I'm sure it's gonna happen.
You said you didn't watch a whole lot of TV, but did you brush up on the show before filming?
Yeah. I mean, I got hired to do one of the favorite reality TV shows in America. They sent me all the DVDs, and I sat and watched Project Runway
non-stop and loved the show, So I'm like, "Oh my God, am I gonna be able to do that?"
So the all-stars must have been really fresh on your memory. Were there any designers that you were especially excited to meet?
Yeah, because I've seen some of them on there. They're all so unique, and such big personalities, and so different from each other. It was just so entertaining and exciting to see them all together, to see the way their looks came out. I think that's one of the beauties of the show is that they're all so unique and different. It's really fun to see how each one is going to interpret a challenge. And I really became fond of all of them.
I don't get to interact with any of them when we're shooting. They really keep us separate. I mean, even when we were filming a given challenge, if Austin came up to talk to me, they were like, "No." So they want to really keep that unbiased opinion going. You do kind of fall in love with them for their talents, style, and quirkiness.
Did you see them behaving differently than they would be on a normal season? Did it feel more intense?
Yes, it felt like ... First of all, I felt like they behaved different for us when they were on the runway than how they behaved backstage, back in the work room. Because when I watched the episode, I was like, "Oh my God." They just got so sweet and nice when they're in front of us, and you see them being so bitchy and competitive backstage. That I saw.
The winner of the show is going to get the biggest prize. Established designers would love to have their own exclusive boutique in Neiman Marcus and on NeimanMarcus.com, not to mention all of the office supplies and materials they need, and the cash. I think it's close to $500,000. Like half a million dollars. That's huge. So if I was them, and I'm sure this is how they felt, they were like, "I've got to win this." And so those stakes alone are huge. And they've already been on the show, so they kind of know that they're doing, which gives them a little leverage. At the same time, they've all been on the show before and they all had some time outside of the show to establish themselves a little more. So you know, the competition's a little stronger. They're all all-stars and they're all so talented, and the competition's high.
Can you tell us anything about what fans can be most excited about for what's coming up?
Well we've got some really great challenges. I mean the stakes are pretty high. We gave them one challenge where they only had six hours, which is pretty intense. And we gave them a challenge where they had to ask for people's clothes off their backs in New York City to design a look, which was definitely challenging. I don't even know how they did that. I don't make the challenges up. Who's gonna give these guys their clothes off their back in New York City? But people did. People love these designers. People stripped for them!
And then we have Miss Piggy. I don't get starstruck by anyone. I see people all the time. I was starstruck by Bill Clinton. Like in my whole life, one person. And I got starstruck by Miss Piggy. I was starstruck by a Muppet!
Well, who wouldn't be?
I've been in love with Miss Piggy since I was a toddler, so it was just so surreal to be talking to Miss Piggy. Talking with her, judging with her, she was so funny. She was hilarious.
We were trying to decide who should be eliminated, so there were our two least favorite looks, and I was like, "Miss Piggy if you had to wear one of these, which one would you wear?" so I'd know which one to eliminate. She was like, "You mean if you put a gun to my head?" I was like, "I would never put a gun to your head!" That was fun.
We had Pharrell Williams on the show. He was the nicest guy, by the way. I was expecting this egotistical rapper dude, and he was so cool, so gentle, so intelligent and so loving. This is so embarrassing, and I'm sure they edited it out, but because Jerell was one of the designers, I kept calling him Jerell. I kept saying, "So Jerell, what do think?" Oh my God! I hope they edited that.
We're looking forward to watching this season. I hope you'll get over the anxiety of watching yourself so you can watch the drama unfold with us.
It's like this catch-22, because I want to see that. Maybe I can just fast-forward through all my parts.(Image courtesy of Lifetime)