Esther Perbandt: Making the Cut’s Unexpected Role Model

by Eddie Roche

Warning! Making the Cut spoilers ahead! This Friday is the season finale of Amazon Prime’s Making the Cut (boo hoo!) and Esther Perbandt, a frontrunner from the start, is in the final legs of the competition. Will she make the cut? We got on the phone with the Berlin-based designer to find out how she’s become an unexpected role model to women around the world and how her experience on the show has changed her business forever. 

The show has been on for a few weeks now. How do you feel about watching yourself and do you feel the show is an accurate portrayal of you?
Many questions! This morning, I said I look forward to the time when the airing is over. It seems like going through all the emotions the second time. The first time it was just the few of us, but now it feels like the whole world is sharing the emotion. People are rooting for you and writing thousands of messages. It’s great! I don’t regret a single second. I’m thankful.

Jonny said  to us recently it was an accurate portrayal of him on the show. Do you think the show is who you are?
Yeah! People send me messages that say, “I don’t know you well, but this seems like it’s 100 percent you.” This is how I am. I know people see me and think I look hard with the black safety shell around me, but behind that shell, there is this very vulnerable and soft Esther.

Is it weird to watch yourself cry?
Yeah! Of course!

How hard has it been to keep the show secret?
It’s helping that we have the current situation in the world. I’ve been by myself for a couple of weeks. I work in my atelier and then go home. I have very little contact. This helps a bit. I don’t know how it will be when I have to open my store again and people approach me. But very close friends knew. A couple of friends knew I participated, but they don’t know the results. They are always trying to get me to tell the results, but I tell them it will be no fun watching if they know.

How are people getting in touch with you?
Most of them through Instagram. I try to answer every single person when they write me messages. It’s funny to see when they realize it’s me who is answering. They say, “Is this really you, Esther?” I think people are longing for a brand that has a soul or a character behind it. The feedback that I get is that I am inspiring and I give them the courage to follow their dreams. People say I’m a role model for women to fight for what you believe in.

Which judge gave you the best feedback? Who was the most helpful?
The most joy was to realize that Naomi is a big fan of mine. This is so thrilling and amazing. She has such knowledge about fashion. She doesn’t need to say if she likes it or not. She’s very honest. We’ve all experienced that. The most profound feedback I received was from Joseph Altuzarra. He knows how we all felt. He has gone through these steps in his career. It was always very constructive.

Naomi Campbell (Courtesy)

How are you using this time?
The show happened at the right moment for me because when I came home I didn’t do anything creative. I started to work really hard on how to prepare myself to March 27, 2020. [The launch day of Making the Cut.] I knew I had to have a perfect website, I needed to be able to deliver worldwide, I didn’t have a great concept that suits me for Instagram, I have stories to tell there. It has been about business since I came back from filming and that was exactly the right decision. It’s now where I can build up my brand.

Do you like the business part of being a designer?
I got to like it. I’m looking forward to the other moments again and there were a lot in the show where for ten weeks or whatever [filming], I could just be the designer and be creative. I got inspiration from everyone. That was such a big pleasure. I need to have that again in my life. I know I need to build the structure first and then I can start playing again.

Esther Perbrandt (Courtesy)

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