Kelly Cutrone, America's Next Top Reality Star

Crédit photo: Handout/The CW Kelly Cutrone, America's Next Top Reality Star

Kelly Cutrone doesn't mince words. In the past few years, the esteemed fashion publicist has become less known for her famous roster of clients, and more for her cutthroat, unflinching appearances on the reality shows The Hills and The City (MTV), and Kell on Earth (Bravo!). If you want a harsh dose of reality on your "reality" TV show, she's your gal.

No wonder the 46-year-old single mother makes the perfect addition to America's Next Top Model.

The publicist-turned-TV-star took over Vogue's Andre Leon Talley's coveted spot on the 18th cycle of ANTM and hasn't looked back since. caught up with ANTM's newest judge to discuss everything including her obsession with Janice Dickinson's ANTM cycle.

Q: How did you become involved in America's Next Top Model and what made you want to pursue this opportunity?

A: I was on my way to London Fashion Week and I got a phone call, literally, the day I was going to London. And it was really strange, because I was going with (The City star) Whitney Port. I was like, "Oh, they probably want me to do a guest-star or a weekly celeb judge thing," and my assistant was like, "They want you to be on the show!" For me, it's a no-brainer, because a lot of the people who watch Top Model are very similar to the people who watched The Hills and The City and Kell on Earth. So it was a great crossover for my demo and for me to stay on TV and keep talking to young women.

Q: Did you have any expectations going into Top Model?

A: I'm old enough to know not to expect anything. You don't get a handbook. . . . You kind of just sit and see. I think that a lot of people don't realize that I was one of the first people to cast Dree Hemingway. I was one of the first to cast Chanel Iman, and I watched her grow up, and I had Coco Rocha. I've worked with tons and tons of models, because we cast them for all the fashion shows and ad campaigns for our clients and lookbooks. So our interaction as a fashion PR company is really deep and broad with models. I think that it's an interesting perspective to bring to the show.

Q: You talk a lot about branding, which is something that hasn't really been discussed in past seasons.

A: There are 300 fashion shows in New York for every fashion season, and about 30 girls per show. Do the math -- it's 9,000 models. Of course, there are some models who are repeating shows, but how do you become . . . a Tyra or Linda or Coco or Chanel Iman? How do you become those girls? There's a lot more that goes into (modelling) than taking good pictures. How do you interact with others? How do you take criticism? What happens when you're told that you're completely wrong: too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny? That your nose isn't right, your nose is amazing? How do handle that?

Sometimes the public watching the show says, 'Oh, you're being really hard on these girls.' No, we're not, actually. It's nothing compared to what it's like (in the real world). If you're the big fish from a really small pond and then all of a sudden you go to New York City for your first casting and there are 100 girls there -- who are all amazing -- what do you have to bring? Why is it going to be you?

Q: You took over Andre Leon Talley's position. Did you feel any pressure filling his shoes?

A: No, because Andre's a fashion editor, and I am a publicist. I didn't even watch Andre on the show until after I shot the show. I did watch a few of the other judges. To be honest, I don't really watch a lot of television. So when I got out to L.A. to do the show, I had seen maybe a few episodes of Top Model. I didn't want to watch the seasons that were closest to me, but I asked for every Janice Dickinson (a former judge on the show) episode for my personal collection. I'm pretty proud that I have every Janice Dickinson episode of Top Model.

Q: If you had to hashtag your experience with America's Next Top Model, what would it be?

A: #KeepingItReal

America's Next Top Model airs Wednesdays on The CW network at 9 p.m. ET/PT. This week's episode features the models attending Toronto Fashion Week.

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