Executive Producer Sara Rea on the Moment in “Making the Cut” That Had Everyone Fighting Back Tears

by Charles Manning

Just three more days until the fabulous debut of Making the Cut on Amazon Prime Video! Eeeeeep! In anticipation of the show’s launch on Friday, March 27, The Daily sat down with executive producer Sara Rea to learn more about how our new TV obsession came together.

Tim Gunn and Sara Rea (Courtesy)

What exactly is your role on Making the Cut?
It’s a little bit of everything, really. As executive producer, it’s my job to develop and manage the production of the show. I worked with Amazon to decide what the overall tone should be and then figured out what each episode was going to be about and how to execute it — overseeing production and working with our entire team to create and edit the show.

How did you get involved with Making the Cut in the first place?
I was an executive producer on Project Runway, so I’ve worked with Heidi and Tim for over 12 years. They announced their deal with Amazon in September of 2018 and by October the three of us were developing the concept together.

So what makes this show different from Project Runway?
For one thing, we decided very early in the development process that we wanted Making the Cut to focus on the branding element of creating a successful fashion business, not just the design element. We knew we wanted to travel and do our fashion shows in front of live audiences.

How did you select the designers?
We actually relied heavily on Instagram and social media to find people. Of course, we used more traditional casting methods, too, word of mouth, but Instagram was a great tool for us because it allowed us to see that these designers, at least the majority of them, did indeed have established brands and were already selling their designs, which was important to us.

The designers of “Making The Cut” (Courtesy)

Why was that important?
We wanted to know that whoever won had the knowledge and experience to move out into the real world and build a big brand, to take that million dollar prize and really do something with it. You know, I worked with Heidi and Tim for so many years on Project Runway and there just weren’t many people on that show who were really able to build a successful brand afterwards. We wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case with Making the Cut, so we selected people with business and marketing skills as well as design skills; people we were ready to take their businesses to the next level.

Who’s your favorite judge?
I love them all! What I love about them is that they all occupy a different lane. They all have a different point of reference and I love how they were each able to share their personal experiences and points of view to the designers.

And what was it like working with Amazon?
It was amazing being able to create a show where right after it airs, viewers can actually buy the clothes and that it’s the designers themselves who benefit. Because all the proceeds actually go directly to the designers. That’s another thing I think is so amazing. Because at the end of the day, we — everyone working on the show and at Amazon — want these designers to succeed. We want the winner to become a household name. And I actually think there is more than one person who will end up launching a really successful career after this experience.

What was your favorite challenge this season?
I think I’ll just forever love the first episode with the fashion show in front of the Eiffel Tower. We threw our hearts and souls into that show, and we were so excited to do so many big and exciting things this season, but just sitting back and looking at the Eiffel Tower that night and watching it all come to life and seeing the designers have such emotional reactions to what was going on around them… There are a few of us who have worked together for many years who were literally fighting back tears in the control room. It was just like “OK, this is really happening.” It was pretty spectacular. I’ll never forget it.

Sara Rea (center) in the control room (Courtesy)

I know the show doesn’t debut until Friday, but have you started thinking about season two yet?
I’m always thinking about it! We’ve done some preliminary casting. I would jump for joy to do it again.

Making the Cut debuts Friday, March 27 on Amazon Prime Video.

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