#Movies & TV

Alyssa Milano Dishes on Project Runway All Stars Season 3

by Ilyssa Panitz

Who’s the boss on Project Runway All Stars? Alyssa Milano, that’s who! Yes, you heard right. The actress who grew up in front of our very eyes is now hosting the popular Lifetime series, which promises to be a nail-biting season. I mean, who needs Fashion Week when you can watch these wanna-be-designers fight to get their fancy threads on a clothing rack from the comfort of your couch? DivineCaroline caught up with Milano, who is quite the fashionista herself.



DivineCaroline: Can you tell us how you reacted when the producers contacted you about hosting this program?
Alyssa Milano: Harvey Weinstein had actually seen the episode of Fashion Police that I had co-hosted and he and Georgina Chapman thought I would be a good fit for the show. It was, you know, a very big surprise when I got that phone call. My initial response was full of excitement, but I wanted to make sure that we were on the same page.

DC: How do you see your role on this series?
AM: I do not want to come across like I am trying to be a fashion expert. I want to be the voice of that audience member that might love fashion, but that isn’t an insider. It’s a little scary, too.

DC: What makes this season different from the others?
AM: It’s a lot more competitive. The stakes are higher and we expect more from the designers because they are all stars. I also think that you’ll find that the energy is a little different because people know who I am.

DC: Describe your on-air style as the show’s host.
AM: Eclectic. I wear everything from vintage Dior to fashion-forward stuff from Marissa Webb and everything in between. We really wanted to have fun with my wardrobe and my styling. Emily Barnes was the stylist on the show and she just did a great job. This job is sort of a dream job for a girl that loves fashion and likes to get pampered by having your hair and makeup done by the best teams in New York.

DC: When did your love affair with fashion first begin?
AM: My mom was a fashion designer when I was a little girl. Her stuff was sold in Bloomingdales and she had a store in Brooklyn called “Me and We.” I grew up with patterns all over the house and stick pins in my feet. My grandmother was a hat designer.  So I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t into fashion.

DC: What have you learned from your time on All Stars that transitioned into your daily wardrobe?
AM: I learned the importance of having great pieces that complete a look. And what I mean by that is the importance taking a fabulous coat that you can throw on over anything and make a look complete.

DC: How would you describe your own personal style?
AM: I think my own personal style is eclectic too. I really like fashion that is innovative yet wearable. I like people and designers that take risks with fashion.

DC: What did show judges Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman teach you?
AM: Everything. They are so amazing and so madly in love with both of them. There is nobody that gives a critic like Isaac Mizrahi. He always starts out with the loveliest thing you could possibly say and then just like goes for the jugular. As for Georgina she is such a classy, beautiful and elegant woman with an amazing accent. She has such a technical background and the points that she made were so dead on. I really listened to what she had to say and learned so much from her wisdom.

DC: Speaking of fashion designers, you have your own clothing line. Based on that experience and your many years on the red carpet, what qualities do you think someone should have to be a great designer?
AM: I think that they should be fearless. I think they need to be to really, really, really be confident in themselves.  Confidence is probably the biggest thing. It is also really important for designers to continue to push the envelope and to express themselves creatively regardless of what the outcome is.

DC: What were your favorite challenges the contestants had to perform?
AM: I don’t know if I had a favorite, but I can tell you the ones I loved. I loved the first challenge, which was a punk challenge and Debbie Harry was the guest judge on that.

DC: What’s the difference between being the star of a show and hosting a series like this?
AM: I am used to obviously getting a script, memorizing all my lines and then going out there to perform. Obviously when you are the host the job is completely different so that part was quite a transition. The judging aspect of what I did was pretty easy for me because I love fashion, I have an opinion about things and I’m not shy about putting that out there.

DC: How are you when it comes to offering up your opinions?
AM: I am passionate about my opinions and I own them for sure.  And you know it was probably intimidating for me because I was sitting next to Isaac and Georgina, who have such amazing taste and success in this industry. But the more comfortable I became the louder I became.

DC: Aside from Debbie Harry name drop some other famous faces we’ll be seeing on this installment?
AM: Let’s start with Gabourey Sidibe.  he had my favorite judging line of the entire season. Gayle King, who is on the finale, is just so smart, eloquent and brings a great point of view from a business perspective. Nick Cannon is not afraid to take risks in his own fashion world and was very vocal and honest in his perspective. Nina Garcia was one of our guest judges and what an absolute honor it was to sit on a panel with her. Stacey Bendet from Alice + Olivia was charming, lovely and quirky.

DC: Was there is anything that really surprised you on how Project Runway is done or how it affected you?
AM: It is really intensive. You spend a lot of time with these people in a very short amount of time and then all of a sudden it’s over. I miss everyone. I have to tell you my experience was is this show is totally real.
Season 3 of Project Runway All Stars airs on Thursday, October 24, at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.