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We admit it, we’d watch anything starring Iman. It’s a bonus that her new co-hosting gig, Bravo’s new-and-improved “The Fashion Show,” is sure to be delicious good fun. The fashion competition show, hosted by Iman and legendary designer Isaac Mizrahi, features twelve designers split into two fashion “houses” — and each week, the houses are faced with design challenges to be completed in twenty-four hours. We chatted with the supermodel/mogul/TV star about what it takes for a designer to hold her attention, and why she’ll likely be perceived as “The Fashion Show’s” Simon Cowell… ESSENCE.COM: How did the opportunity to host “The Fashion Show” come about? IMAN: Bravo’s been pitching me shows for about five years, but nothing ever felt authentic to me. At first, I was on the fence because “The Fashion Show” had already had a first season, and I wasn’t sure the format worked. But Bravo completely revamped the show, and the premise is totally unique to the fashion reality show genre. It actually addresses collections. ESSENCE.COM: Describe the new format. IMAN: Instead of designers competing individually, they’re broken into two competing fashion houses. It really mimics what real fashion houses do. Each house has to work together to create a cohesive collection and present it on the runway… and we’re talking hair, makeup, music, staging, lighting. It’s eye candy for the viewer! ESSENCE.COM: What’s it like working with Isaac Mizrahi? IMAN: If he wasn’t involved, I don’t think I would’ve done it. I’ve known him for twenty years, and he’s such a genius! He’s brilliant, funny, nurturing — he plays the mentor, and he wants the designers to be the best he can be. ESSENCE.COM: What are you looking for when you’re judging the designs? IMAN: Isaac comes from a designer point of view, while I come from a customer point of view. Nobody needs another dress! Women want things to inspire us — to take our breath away. I meet young designers all the time that say they want to be the “next Marc Jacobs.” I always say “well, we have a Marc Jacobs… be you!” I’m looking for a singular, unique vision. ESSENCE.COM: What can we expect from tonight’s episode? IMAN: The two houses have twenty-four hours to create an homage collection to me! The designers had no idea the format had changed, so they totally freaked out. ESSENCE.COM: Are you the Simon Cowell of the show, or are you a softie? IMAN: By nature, I’m a no-nonsense person so I’ll probably come off like a Simon Cowell. The teasers make me look so tough! But when you see the whole episode, you’ll understand why I critique the way I do. At the end of the day, I hope the designers and the fashion are the stars, and me and Isaac are icing on the cake. “The Fashion Show: The Ultimate Collection” premieres tonight at 10 ET/PT on Bravo.
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