Joanna Coles on ‘Project Runway All Stars’ Role

Celebrity Q&A
on December 10, 2012

Did Joanna Coles from “Project Runway All Stars” ever want to be a designer?
—Cheri Bowen, Biloxi, Miss.

As a young girl, Coles, 50, says she sketched clothes endlessly, and she has pages and pages of horrible designs to prove it.

“I was fascinated by drawing when I was younger, but I was never good enough at it, or I was better at writing and English and I got channeled in that direction,” says the “Project Runway All Stars” mentor. “Every now and again, I get the opportunity to work with a designer to design something and I love doing it.”

The British-born Coles, who recently switched positions from editor of “Marie Claire” to editor of “Cosmopolitan” magazine, says that her love of working with designers is one reason she insisted on more airtime for the second season of “Project Runway All Stars.” The other is she takes her position as mentor very seriously.

“I spent more time with each designer,” says Cole, who feels the best designers have the ability to blend creativity and commerce. “I think I got a bit more involved emotionally with the designers this year, which I wasn’t expecting to.”

That said, she says she doesn’t try to emulate Tim Gunn, 59, who holds the mentor position on the regular “Project Runway.”

“Tim is such a one-off, it would be a hiding to nothing to imitate him,” she says. “I am on the TV show like I am in real life. I am very direct. I am pretty straightforward. I say what I think, as I think Tim does, but we are very, very different.”

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