Project Runway’s Tim Gunn: I Tried to Persuade ‘Crack Smoking’ Judges to Crown Mondo the Winner (Updated)
November 1, 2010 in television
Here’s a bit of news that’s sure to interest Project Runway fans — especially those who are still angry that the much-disliked Gretchen Jones was crowned Season 8 champion over the much-loved Mondo Guerra. Apparently, Tim Gunn — like most of the show’s viewers — thought Mondo deserved to win, and tried to persuade judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia to change their votes and give Mondo the victory.
Although none of this has been reported anywhere as far as I can tell, these facts are revealed by Gunn himself in a video that was posted on Youtube over the weekend.
The video shows Tim Gunn speaking in Q&A session during a Kate Spade promotional event in King of Prussia, PA, which took place shortly after the final episode aired. [Update: We have since learned that this video was filmed by Blogging Project Runway's creative director, "The Scarlett" — see other videos posted here.] Gunn tells the audience that, when the judges were deadlocked over whether Mondo or Gretchen would win, judge Heidi Klum persuaded Tim Gunn (who is not on the show’s judging panel) to join her in trying to persuade Kors and Garcia — who favored Gretchen — to vote for Mondo instead. View Gunn’s description of what happened in the Youtube clip linked here:
Here are a few highlights of what Gunn reveals in the clip:
- When the show’s judging panel was deadlocked, Klum asked Gunn what his opinion was. When she learned that he agreed with her that Mondo should win, she asked him to join her in appealing directly to Garcia and Kors in favor of crowning him the winner. Subsequently, Gunn reports, “I went with Heidi and we made quite a case for our candidate.”
- At the time, Klum was upset with Gunn about a quote of his, published in the L.A. Times, about “crack smoking judges” — a reference to how much he disagreed with many of the judging panel’s decisions this season. When the two agreed on the Mondo question, Gunn reports that Klum asked him, “Can you remove my crack-smoker badge?” Gunn responded, “Yes, because Nina and Michael are smoking enough for all of us!”
- Gunn wraps up by offering this final, “oh well” take on the judges’ decision: “Mondo will do fabulously anyway, and Gretchen really needs the money.”
Many of the shows fans, however, are not so resigned and philosophical about the season’s outcome — which shocked most viewers because Mondo was not only very popular, but also heavily favored to win. On blogs and message boards across the Internet, angry fans who feel Mondo was robbed have been cursing the decision and swearing off the show. And Kors and Garcia — for the moment, at least — have suddenly become two of the most disliked characters on reality television.
But that’s what they get for choosing to ignore Tim Gunn’s advice — a decision which, apparently, spells trouble for designers and judges alike.
[11/2/10 Update: I've discovered another video of Tim answering the same question at the same event ... but this clip is longer, and contains the original question plus a bit more of the beginning of Tim's answer:
At the beginning of this version, Tim says that he's "still speechless" about the decision, which was made back on September 9 (but wasn't broadcast until last week). He also prefaces the whole discussion by saying: "Nobody's gonna be happy that I'm giving you this back story, but I can't help myself!" Heh.]