Exclusive! Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn Dish On Season 2 of Making The Cut

by Eddie Roche

The wait is over! Making The Cut returns for season deux on Amazon Prime on Friday, July 16th. The fashion competition show aiming to find the next global fashion brand reunites hosts and executive producers Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn and welcomes new judges Winnie Harlow and Jeremy Scott. Klum and Gunn tell us what we can expect this time around and how they coped filming under unusual circumstances.

Congratulations on Season 2 of Making the Cut! We loved the first season.
We finally filmed at the end of last year. We have amazing people from around the world on the show. We had designers from India, France, Poland, Colombia, the UK, Australia. and the U.S. We had great people, so we could make it fabulous, if not better. It turned out amazing. We’re all super proud of it. Kudos to this amazing team, who were up till 3 o’clock in the morning debating on who’s going home and who’s staying.

We were freezing! We filmed out in Malibu, but we had to crunch the days together more than we normally would [due to the pandemic]. Normally, we film much longer than this, but we had to cram in so much in such a short time. It was definitely different, but everyone put in the extra, extra to make it special.

Were you nervous filming during the pandemic?
Of course. It was the same as how everyone else was nervous everywhere. We were wiping everything down like maniacs, washing hands constantly, staying six feet apart. Tim [Gunn] and I were never super close together. It was strange. But we just did as we were told. We had people telling us how we should behave and what we should do in order to keep it going. We didn’t want anyone to get ill and also didn’t want to get shut down.

This season, you have Winnie Harlow and Jeremy Scott as your co-judges. Why did you bring them onto the show?
They are two different points of views. Winnie is one of the most successful supermodels of our time right now. She has a fresh take on everything. I love her input and her point of view of fashion. Jeremy is one of the most unique designers out there. He has an amazing point of view. He has such a vision. Every fashion show he has is magical. He creates art. He’s what our concept is all about.

Winnie Harlow, Jeremy Scott, Heidi Klum, (Courtesy)

Talk to us a little about this season’s designers. Is there anybody you think we should be looking out for?
It’s hard to say because I’m also someone who was very into designers who are more “out there.” This morning I put the designer Chelsea Kaya on my Instagram Story. I don’t know if it’s the most wearable for most people, but I get inspired by people like that. I love someone who is more out there and shows us things that we haven’t seen before.

Is this the show you’ve dreamed of making?
Yes! I feel like we’re giving people real opportunities. These designers came from around the world and all had businesses. It’s also not a sewing competition anymore; Project Runway was a sewing competition. We wanted to find someone who is a global brand and who can shift into the world because we’re streamed in the world.

Last season, you and Tim did activities like fencing on the show. Will we see that again this season?
Unfortunately, this year, because of COVID, we couldn’t do these types of things. Being in Paris last time, making croissants, we had so much fun drinking French wine making those croissants. This time, we couldn’t have close contact. I even made my own food at home and brought it [to the set] in Tupperware. Jonny Cota won the first season.

Have you been in touch with any of the designers? How are they doing?
I just wore one of Jonny’s looks on The Kelly Clarkson Show. I was recently in Germany filming Germany’s Next Topmodel show and I put all the girls in outfits from Esther Perbandt. She came by and did an episode with me because she speaks German. I always try to incorporate people from the past.
We know that your daughter, Leni, has been modeling lately. Is this something she’s seriously pursuing?
She is! She did the German Vogue cover and from the German Glamour cover she just booked a huge campaign. She’s doing a whole bunch of different things, and I don’t know if I can talk about them yet. But soon you’ll see more!
How do you feel about it?
It’s weird, but it’s great at the same time. At the end of the day, you want your kids to be happy. If she loves it, then I’m happy for her.
Any word on Season 3 of Making the Cut?
Fingers and toes crossed. Hopefully we get to travel again. We did love traveling, and taking our viewers with us. Hopefully we will get to do that again, once it’s safe.

Tim, talk to us about what filming was like this season at the height of the pandemic? How did you do it?
I have to say our timing was fortuitous because we began at about the middle of September [2020] and ended the third week of October. Many productions that began shortly after we ended were shut down because COVID was on the rampage. We were extremely, frankly, the word to use is paranoid. We were paranoid about it. Everyone on the crew, everyone involved with the show—producers, crew, talent, everyone—was tested every single morning. We remained COVID-free, I’m happy to say. I think that paranoia helped us. Heidi [Klum] was all jittery about it. It’s funny, when she and I were walking down the runway to introduce the show, just out of habit, I grabbed her hand to hold it and she pulled it away as though my hand was a scalding-hot fire. It was good that we were so respectful of the disease.

Where did you film the show?
We were at a ranch in Malibu, California. It was in a canyon, so it was secluded. We did all the episodes there. It took about five weeks.

What were you doing when you weren’t filming?
I was huddled in my room in front of my computer. I was the only member of the talent squad—other than the designers, of course—who came from out of town. Everyone else was local. People were for the most part going home to their homes at night, though we had rooms for them there at the ranch. I stayed put; I never once left.

The show came out last year when everyone was locked down. How did you know it was a success?
To be honest with you, I had my fingers crossed, as did Heidi. We really didn’t know. When we were picked up for Season 2, we knew that Amazon must have been pleased with it and pleased with the numbers. The only thing we did know, it was something we were nervous about; we had no idea what type of traffic the sale of the winning looks would generate. Things sold out within 24 to 36 hours, so we were ecstatic. That was a good sign.

What’s new in the second season?
I think the most dramatic change happens to be the judges. We’re bringing in Winnie Harlow and Jeremy Scott because we hear their voices and their point of view about what the designers are doing, and their point of view about fashion in general. I’m always nervous about new judges, but what’s been so wonderful about the show is that the judges really care. They’re not just there as window dressing or to be a face. They’re deeply engaged with what the designers are doing, and they want the best outcome for them.

Who are some of the cast members that viewers should be watching out for this season?
They should be watching out for everybody! There are no shrinking violets among them. They’re extremely talented. Because this is a marathon of sorts, you just don’t know how the designers will respond to the intense schedule and pressure to constantly produce the best work. It’s a pressure cooker. Not to mention the fact of what is constantly getting tossed back to them, by the judges, and also by me. Things like,“Where does this look fit into the larger rubric of who you are as a brand.” It’s not just about one look, it’s about the larger picture. That’s where Amazon has been tremendously helpful, especially Christine Beauchamp, president of Amazon Fashion. She’s been extremely insightful and at the same time, supportive.

How involved are you in the casting?
I was extremely involved in Season 1, but Season 2, going into COVID, I was marginally involved. [Showrunner] Sara Rea, who is now with Reese Witherspoon’s production company, I trust her more than I trust myself. I was getting all the information about the designers through Sarah. I have had moments of apprehension or nervousness about it, and from 29 years of teaching, I never selected who my students were. You accept what you’re presented with, and you do the best that you can.

What are your duties as an executive producer?
Creative. I have a voice in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. It’s a big collaboration. There are a lot of people involved, and I’ve enjoyed that. One of the reasons why Heidi, Sarah (our showrunner for the past 10 seasons of Project Runway), and I left Runway is because we had a vision of what we wanted to do with the show and no one would listen to us. The vision is what Making the Cut is—a global perspective of fashion, brand identity, and more. It’s been a dream.

What have been some of the “Wow!” moments since you’ve been working on the show?
I don’t know of a time where there hasn’t been a wow moment. What really wowed me about this ranch is that it’s a big wedding venue in Los Angeles. There could be anywhere from half a dozen to eight or nine weddings happening simultaneously there. Each of those venues has a different feeling. You feel as though you’ve been transported, but you’ve actually only moved 50 yards. So, for me, I couldn’t believe how diverse that environment was. I thought landing there,
everything was going to be the same. The venues are extremely different, and it adds to the excitement.

You and Heidi have worked together for many years now. What’s the secret?
I’m constantly scratching my head about it because we are the oddest couple, we really are. But we love each other, we have great respect for each other, and we have fun together. It’s almost like opposites attract. And who knew that it would actually work this way, I mean we didn’t. We love being together and we love doing things together. What is so wonderful about doing the show, it was true with Runway too, but even more true with Making the Cut, is that it’s so
pleasurable to be on the set. It’s really joyous. There are emotional times, which are hard, but that’s because you feel invested in the designers and care about them.

What’s the rest of your life like these days?
I’m so lucky. I was born with a curious mind, so I’m never bored. There’s never a dull moment for me. I do a lot of writing and a lot of reading. I’m eager to get back to the museums, which I haven’t been doing. I love being at home, so I’m lucky. I know people who can’t stand their own company, they’ve gotta be with other people, and I’m the exact opposite. That’s how I was as a kid, as well. I was very solitary. I liked being in my room. In some ways this is the silver lining, this pandemic. It’s made for quite an about-face for my fashion. I never dreamed I’d be walking around in T-shirts and sweatpants, and boy, have I been. There’s nothing like an elastic waistband.

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