Best in Show

7.25.2006

By Jeffrey Epstein

Anyone who has caught even a moment of the new season of Project Runway has no doubt laughed out loud at something Robert Best has said. Luckily, the designer is also extremely talented'if he weren't he wouldn't have been designing Barbie's dresses for the past 10 years. After the Utah native graduated from Parsons, where the series shoots, he spent time working for fashion luminaries like Donna Karan and Isaac Mizrahi before heading to the Left Coast, where he currently resides.

You seem very comfortable in front of the camera. Did you go to the Barbizon school for models or something?
Absolutely. I would say the Barbizon really taught me everything I needed to know about being on camera. Actually, having been at Mattel and Isaac Mizrahi was good training'at the time I was at Isaac, they made the movie Unzipped. That was my first experience having someone with a boom around all the time. At Mattel I've gone on the Today show to talk about Barbie and have done radio. At first when I saw myself I was like, 'Is that what I look like?' But I'm used to it.

How was doing the show?
Overall, it was a really fun experience. It was twisted in ways you can't even imagine., There's no way in the world to prepare for the experience you go through. Every minute you're surprised or caught off guard or feel like it's a bizarre, surreal dream you're hoping ends soon'but doesn't. But part of you wants to fight because in real life you control how you present yourself; when you're doing this show, you don't have the control. You don't have the mic, Heidi does, and you hope to get on her good side. Different people control what you look like so you have to give over worrying about that sort of thing. You can't fight the production. If you try, 'I wanna be portrayed as the funny, nice guy,' you're gonna lose.

Since you went to Parsons, did you already know Tim?
I did know Tim from my days at Parsons, which was interesting. The experience of being back at Parsons was very full circle. You're learning the craft when you're at school. And then you come back and you're practicing it. So it was kind of like old home week.

Did it help knowing Tim?
Not remotely. I wanted it to, certainly. But it's all based on merit. Everyone has a different experience that may help them, as in the case of the second episode'Kayne's experience with pageants certainly helped us. You don't know what the challenges are going to be. So even knowing Tim, in the end, is a moot point. But it helps to have someone rooting for you in your corner. And Tim always appreciated my sense of style, so it's good to have someone like that around.

You and Kayne seemed to get along great.
Kayne was a hoot and a half'that's his quote. He was great. So funny and easygoing, the kind of personality that if you're going to do a challenge, he's the person you want to work with. When you're not cracking each other up, you're getting the work done. We got along very well. We have a similar sense of humor. It helps that we're both gay.

You're gay?
I know, shocker.

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