The premiere of Project Runway‘s milestone 10th season is only a week away, and iconic host Heidi Klum is thrilled. The breezy, upbeat model and mother sat down to discuss the upcoming season, the new batch of contestants, and her dreams of taking Project Runway abroad.

On what’s special about this season:
To commemorate season 10, Project Runway has joined with the High Line in New York City to create “Project Your Way,” an interactive installation that acts as a virtual runway for the public to strut across. The special runway will feature “innovative human tracking technology” to include the virtual faces of Klum, fellow judges Nina Garcia and Michael Kors and Tim Gunn reacting as you walk by. The installation will be open July 16 – 19 at the Chelsea Market Passage of the High Line.

Season 10 will also start off with a special live runway in Times Square, which Klum had been pushing for for a while. “My dream was always to take the fashion show out to the street,” said Klum. The first challenge will feature guest judges Patricia Fields (who guest judged the very first Project Runway challenge in season 1) and actress Lauren Graham. When asked about other guest judges this season, Klum mentioned actresses Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) and Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23), but said she was “not allowed to give any more away.”

On this season’s designers:
In terms of the talent level this season, Klum thoughtfully said, “It’s always hard to compare.” The fashionista went on to say, “Each year fashion evolves and becomes different, and so do our designers.” But ultimately, this batch has the same mixture of great and mediocre talent; according to Klum, “It’s always like that–good and bad.” But the host assured us that no one got on the show for their personality. “Our show is based on fashion and I think people appreciate that and I think that’s why we’ve been out for so long,” she said. “That is the main focus of our show.”

However, it was reported that two contestants abruptly left the show due to inability to handle the stress of the competition. Klum confirmed this, saying, “They just couldn’t make it work… In the morning, they were gone. They literally packed their bags in the middle of the night. You would think that a grownup would say, ‘Thanks, but I can’t make it work.'”

On this season’s challenges:
One challenge this season will be to create a new outfit for the Rockettes, which Klum ecstatically described as a challenge that “will go down in history” (click here for a photo of Tim Gunn and Klum as an honorary Rockette). The second challenge of the season will be one of the unconventional materials types (always interesting), where the designers will have to make their outfits out of candy from Dylan’s Candy Bar (guest judge will be owner Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph Lauren). According to Klum, the designers “LOVED” this challenge. There will also be a challenge involving one of Klum’s maternity lines.

On the future of Project Runway:
Klum’s hope is to one day have Project Runway “go overseas,” to other fashion cities like Paris or Milan. However, since the Lifetime series does not have a “gigantic budget,” it’s difficult to make those opportunities happen. “We do everything at Parsons [The New School for Design],” said Klum. “Right now, I’m in a classroom before we go down to the runway,” Klum continued. “Michael and Nina are next door in another classroom, getting ready. It’s very gritty, not very Hollywood.” But the host/judge/producer admits this season’s Times Square runway show was a sign of progress. “We’re making baby steps in the right direction.”

‘Project Runway’ season 10 premieres on July 19 at 9pm on Lifetime. Watch the wispy promo video below.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Jenn Lee

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jenn grew up in Ohio before moving to Seoul, Korea, where she attended international school and failed to learn Korean. From there she went on to earn a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania before settling in Seattle, where she now spends too much time pondering the power of narrative in TV shows and novels. While she loves a good smart comedy (a la Community or Parks and Recreation), her favorite current show is Breaking Bad; all-time mentions include Arrested DevelopmentLost and Friends. When she’s not consuming television or literature, she’s savoring pastries and searching for the city’s ultimate sandwich.