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Tim Gunn talks 'Project Runway Junior' with Long Island kids

"Project Runway Jr." host Tim Gunn with Kidsday reporters Joshua Marucheau, Laurel Press, Jack Montoya and Ariana Giametta, all from Boyle Elementary School in Port Jefferson Station. They met at the A& E Offices in Manhattan on Nov. 2, 2015. Photo Credit: Pat Mullooly

We went to the A&E offices in Manhattan on Monday to meet Tim Gunn, the co-host of the new show "Project Runway Junior." The show starts airing Thursday, Nov. 12, at 9 p.m. We found out some fun facts that you may not know about Tim Gunn, plus we interviewed him about the show and more. Take a look:

1. He is very welcoming and not at all formal. He told us to “Call me Tim” when we met him.
2. We learned in our research that he was shy when he was younger, but he didn’t seem shy at all with us.
3. He is a funny guy. He laughs easily and hard.
4. He is serious when he needs to explain his thinking.
5. He added details and descriptions to all of his answers to help us better understand.
6. He told us he didn’t become “famous” until he was 50 years old.
7. He doesn’t pick the judges on “Project Runway” or “Project Runway Junior.”
8. He said “We need clothes, we don’t need fashion. Fashion is just a state of mind.”

Q. How do you feel about working with 13- to 17-year-olds? Were you scared or nervous?

I wasn't scared, I was a little apprehensive. I say that because I'm used to teaching college-level students, and I'm used to working with adults on "Project Runway." I have had some teaching experiences with teens through the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum education department. I was apprehensive primarily about how I would be able to conduct myself with the teens because with the adults, I interact with them the way that I would with anyone who's my peer and with the teens I have a tremendous amount of respect for the fact that they're younger and less experienced. I was anticipating that I would have to not be as blunt. In fact that wasn't the case at all. The teens were so wonderfully receptive to critical feedback and they wanted to hear the truth from me. And it was wonderful. If I had a little bit of stage fright with them, it went away very quickly.

Q. How do you choose the judges for "Project Runway Junior"?

I had nothing to do with that, and the judges couldn't be more fantastic. They're completely different from regular "Project Runway." We have the fashion editor of Seventeen Magazine. We have Kelly Osbourne, who is certainly tuned into pop culture. We have Christian Siriano, who was the Season 4 winner of "Project Runway" and Christian is still very young. He's about to turn 30. I'm the old guy, and then our host is Hannah Davis, who is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model. She's 27 so she also has a lot of youth. Each of the judges comes from a very different background and together they make up a fantastic recipe for feedback for the designers.

Q. Who was your inspiration for fashion?

Cary Grant, but you'll probably ask, "Who's he?" How about George Clooney?

Q. When you were younger did you ever think you would be famous?

Never! You flatter me by saying "famous." I never thought I would be a public figure in any way. All this happened to me after I turned 50. . . . I'm having the best time ever. I'm having a blast.

Q. Tell us what we can expect with "Project Runway Junior."

In "Project Runway Junior," we start out with 12 teen designers and there's an elimination with each challenge. So the same group stays with us as opposed to having a different group each time. It was an honor to be invited to be part of the show.

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