The weirdest thing happened last night — there we were at our local speed-dating event, expecting no more than a few rounds of small chat and the usual dismal prospects, when what do you know? We get paired with none other than powerhouse publicist Kelly Cutrone! Really, what are the chances?
Ok, we kid. We were actually at a screening for America’s Next Top Model Cycle 19: College Edition, which premieres tomorrow at 8PM on The CW, but the interview room did have a bit of a speed-dating vibe. That is, if such an event were populated with people like Cutrone, Tyra Banks, and celeb stylist Johnny Wujek, which we somehow doubt they generally are.
But while sitting down with Kelly we still had to ask: did anyone catch her eye? “Everyone. What can I say? I’m a dater.” We’re not surprised, given how much she had to say about topics like education (it’s a privilege), The Olympics (not a fan), and having fellow judge/professional hot dude Rob Evans strip for her mom on Skype (lucky lady!).
Styleite: So obviously there are some huge changes on the show this season, the first being the cast. What was the dynamic this season versus last season?
Kelly Cutrone: Well, Nigel is a really good friend of mine so I loved him. And when I first came to the show they were like, ‘Hey, we’re so glad you’re here. Here’s your chair.’ And there’s no handbook. It’s not like, ‘Hey, welcome to Top Model! Here’s the top 50 things of the last decade that make a good judge.’ So I was just, like, trying to act as if -– ‘Oh yeah I know what to do! Yeah, don’t worry, I got it…new sheriff in town, cock the gun!’ But really I was like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’ Nigel was like my husband, he was my Gene Kelly. So when we changed seasons and it was this whole new cast. I know everybody on the new cast and obviously we all talked about it, so it was easy for me to make it. And, you know, I’m happy to work with BryanBoy and Robbie.
So do you feel like you kind of took on a mentorship role, now that you’re the “veteran” judge on the show?
Yeah, I mean, I did help them, I did onto others what I wanted and what I had done to me. You know when I first came on Nigel was a really great coach for me about how the show worked and I made the decision that I would be the Mrs. Brady of the new Brady Bunch, but I had no Alice. But of course — I’m a publicist, you know what I mean? So I can’t help myself but to be a PR person. So I was like ‘Hi, ok, come gather.’
Running the show?
Not running the show, but I wanted to make sure everybody understood. I wanted to give more than what I got and I got a lot from Nigel. And in exchange I made Rob Evans pay by not wearing a shirt and Skyping my mom. My dad died a year ago so she was like, ‘How are you doing? Are you missing..’ And I was like ‘Hey mom, look! Off with the shirt Robbie!’ My mom read Fifty Shades of Grey.
And then there’s the college aspect of the new season. How do you think being educated plays into modeling — do you think it helps?
Well, you know, education is a privilege. I was fortunate enough that Vidal Sassoon was a really great fried of mine and a mentor and, you know, I said to him at one point, ‘How do I do for PR what you did for hair?’ and he was like ‘Dahling, go to the bank and borrow so much money they can’t afford to kick you out and drop you.’ And then at that point — and I’m going to be going to his memorial after fashion week that his wife Bonnie is doing — he was so into architecture and design, and he had always wanted to go to school for architecture. So it’s a privilege. I work so hard to pay for my daughter’s private school in New York. Education is a privilege, but I would love for it to be a human right. I would love for all of us to have these human rights — have no passports, everybody gets the right to study whatever they want, and you could do it for free because there are so many amazing institutions that we should be able to totally download hunger of the human spirit. I know 16-year-old girls that get plucked out of potato farms in the middle of nowhere and they come and walk the catwalk and I know girls who are born to Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall that can also walk the catwalk. Do I think that having a great education makes you a better model? It depends on the head game. I know girls that come from the middle of nowhere that play an amazing head game and I know girls that have MBAs that can’t play a head game. We have to allow for destiny and the expression of the self. There’s no guarantee in anything.
So what was your college experience like? I’m going to venture that you weren’t a sorority girl.
Oh god, no! No, no, no. I was the first person in my family to go to college so I went and did what my parents wanted me to do. Which was not, you know, not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a Poetry major and go to the University of Hawaii.
Another change this season is the social media aspect. Were there any big surprises for you with fan votes?
I think a lot of time the judges in the public were on point with the paid judges so it made me scared. I was like ‘Wow, they’re doing this for free but we’re getting paid!’ There were some really amazing comments that came in. My favorite was this couple that was on the show that came in with a video every week and they licked popsicles and it was very pop art-y.
Was there anyone you really wanted to see come back?
I can’t say but there were a lot of surprises with the voting part. It was like, ‘What the fuck?! Oh my god!’
Do you guys all go and conference after the episode?
Well, we get the results at the same time you see it taped so sometimes people we think are going to stay don’t…BryanBoy cried every time someone was unexpectedly [eliminated] (Calls across the room) Hey BryanBoy, how many times did you cry when someone was eliminated?
BryanBoy: Probably three times.
KC: And how many times did you attack the contestants on camera?
Styleite: Physically attack them?
He shot paper balls at them.
So something you said in interviews leading up to last season was that you’re always judging, all the time. Were you one of those backseat judges during the Olympics that disagreed with all of the scores?
I don’t like the Olympics. I know, it’s really sad. But I think it’s a really weird thing.
You’re not a Ryan Lochte fan then, I take it?
Well, here’s the thing: I don’t really watch the Olympics, A. And B, I think the Olympics should be every day, with obesity in America. I think it’s a really eleventh hour thing. I mean why wouldn’t they be honoring amazing athletes every time. Why do we have to wait four years? It just seems very Roman. Very yesterday. I think it’s amazing that teams can go and the world can compete, but you have to understand that I am a huge liberal. I think it’s ridiculous that we have countries, ok. For me, I don’t watch TV. Well I do, but it’s very edited: Top Model, MTV, VH1, CNN.
photo via Nicky Digital