Chiara Ferragni on How She Got Naomi Campbell to Be Nice to Her

by Charles Manning

Chiara Ferragni made her debut on Amazon Prime Video’s “Making the Cut” this past week, when she joined the judging panel in Tokyo. The Daily spoke with Ferragni on the phone last week from the terrace of her apartment in Milan, Italy where she is isolating with her husband and young son, to find out more about her experience on the show, how she’s coping with coronavirus, and what it’s like working with Naomi Campbell.

How long have you been holed up in your apartment at this point?
It’s been like a month in a half now. It’s been very long.

How are you coping?
I’m trying to keep myself busy. We can still do a little bit of smart work and I’m still doing projects like posting and stuff for some brands from home, obviously. I’m spending a lot of quality time with my baby boy, who just turned two. Before, it was impossible to spend as much time with him because I was always traveling and working. But I’ve never been with him 24/7 the whole week and experiencing that has been really good. I consider myself very lucky because we have a big apartment — we have light, we have a terrace — so we are much luckier than a lot of other people. It’s hard for everybody, obviously, but it’s harder for some people [than others].

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Ciao amore mio ❤️

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Let’s talk about the show! How did you get involved with “Making the Cut?”
I was in LA for the Oscars and I met with the production company behind the show. They said it was kind of like Project Runway, but much different — more of a travel show and more about creating a business, rather than just finding a designer. After a few interviews, they decided to make me one of the judges! I’m super happy to be part of it.

Have you always wanted to be on TV?
Yeah, but I’ve never been in a rush. I think it has to be for the right thing. People always wanted me to do reality television or other things that weren’t right for me and I said no. But this one, from the first time they started talking to me about it, felt like the perfect fit. At the time, I didn’t know who any of the other judges were, but the producers always said they wanted to keep it very high profile. It was super nice.

Tim Gunn, Chiara Ferragni, and Heidi Klum (Courtesy)

What was it about “Making the Cut” that made you say yes?
I became friends with Heidi back in 2014, when I appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway with Dita Von Teese. I had so much fun recording it and from then on I knew this was something I would want to do again once the right opportunity came along. What I love about “Making the Cut” is that it’s not just about finding the best designer, but looking at the entire brand. That’s something I do myself when it comes to my own image, my collaborations, and the work I do under my own brand name. It’s not only about being creative; it’s also about creating products that really sell and creating an image that people are drawn to. These are things people sometimes take for granted — especially if they don’t work in this industry — but they are just as important as designing.

How did you get along with the other judges?
I already knew Nicole [Richie] — I met her a few times at events — and Heidi and I are really good friends. She’s a super hardworking woman, but she always makes it fun for everybody and I feel that everybody that works with her loves her so much. She just has the best attitude and is so positive.

What about Naomi?
In the beginning, it was a difficult to get friendly because she’s a little bit more on her own — distant, you know? But after the first few episodes, we broke the ice and starting really talking to each other. She finally started acknowledging me more. Then we all went to dinner together and from that moment on, she’s been super friendly. She’s intimidating, though, and not super friendly right away.

That seems to be her M.O.
It’s her personality and her image. I think and then after she sees you being nice to her, she starts being nice as well.

Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Chiara Ferragni, Joseph Altuzarra, and Heidi Klum (Courtesy)

What about Joseph Altuzarra?
I was always interested to hear his opinions because he was really able to see things from a brand perspective, but at the same time, he’s a really good designer. And he was also so articulate! I was always like “My god! I wish I had said it that way.” And he’s such a good human as well.

That’s what Tim Gunn said, too. Did you ever feel like the judges made the wrong call in regards to a specific designer?
We agreed most of the time, but we each approached judging from a different perspective. I was really more focused on what I thought would be sellable, because I see so much of what people are drawn to through my own platform.

So, what are they drawn to?
A good price, for sure. And color. Esther’s collection was totally black and I was trying to tell her that on social media, people are really drawn to color and print. You don’t have to change your brand completely — maybe just add a little detail of color — but black on social media and e-commerce can look a little boring sometimes.

Do you like watching yourself on TV?
I’ve only watched one of my episodes so far. I need them to send me the rest. But it’s cute! I’m used to seeing myself in front of the camera. I sometimes think “I could have said that better” or “I could have done that better,” but, I mean, I think everyone does that, right?

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