Gale force

Me­gan’s back on Project Run­way

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - writes Deb­bie Schipp

FOUR years af­ter call­ing it quits on stalk­ing the cat­walks of in­ter­na­tional fash­ion shows, Me­gan Gale has set­tled in nicely to the new run­way she calls home, as judge and host of Fox­tel re­al­ity show Project Run­way.

As Gale strides into her sec­ond sea­son – Project Run­way’s fourth – of un­earthing Aus­tralian de­sign­ing tal­ent, Gale has never looked back on her de­ci­sion to be­come fash­ion com­men­ta­tor, pre­sen­ter and de­signer with her own la­bel. ‘‘ I have won­der­ful mem­o­ries of my time do­ing the run­way, but I don’t miss it in the sense I could go back to it,’’ Gale says.

‘‘ I’m happy with my de­ci­sion to leave it be­hind and I haven’t re­gret­ted it.

‘‘ You miss an as­pect of any­thing that you loved but I never think, ‘ did I do the right thing?’

‘‘ I left when I was ready, I’m still in­volved in an in­dus­try I love, and I’m still learn­ing.’’

For Gale, who took up the role of host and judge on Project Run­way last year, the loom­ing sea­son is a chance to re­lax fur­ther into the role, as well as con­tin­u­ing along­side great mate Alex Perry and new judges – de­signer, busi­ness­man and en­tre­pre­neur Peter Mor­ris­sey, and fash­ion con­sul­tant and for­mer fash­ion ed­i­tor Claudia Navone – to find Aus­tralia’s next big de­sign­ing tal­ent.

If it means de­liv­er­ing a few home truths along the way, they’re just do­ing their jobs.

‘‘ There are no nasty judges on this show, but we are re­al­ists,’’ she says.

‘‘ Peter de­scribes it best – some­times we have to de­liver a gen­tle slap and ap­ply a cold cloth.’’

Com­ing in for that tough love this year are 12 new faces – some kids fresh out of de­sign school and oth­ers who have worked on the fringe of the in­dus­try and are now tak­ing a bold roll of the dice to try to make it on their own.

The con­tes­tants set to stitch and bitch their way through this se­ries – Jamie Ashkar, Leah Da Glo­ria, Natalie Cook, Sasha- Rose Hart­ley and Wil­liam Ku­tana from New South Wales; Tris­tan Melle, Christina Exie and Jor­dan Court from Vic­to­ria; Alexan­dra Ovi­jach, Savva Ar­gy­rou and Natashya Man­field from Queens­land, and Mladen Mili­cich from Western Aus­tralia – may mean noth­ing to view­ers just yet, but Gale says they are per­haps the most di­verse group yet seen on the show.

‘‘ It’s a great mix of styles and per­son­al­i­ties, their ‘ hand­writ­ing’ as de­sign­ers is so var­ied. And it’s that in­jec­tion of new tal­ent each sea­son that keeps this show fresh,’’ Gale says.

She says judges Mor­ris­sey and Navone are a great ad­di­tion.

‘‘ We are bounc­ing off each other re­ally well. We don’t al­ways agree, which I love, there was a bit of argy-bargy and wind­ing each other up, and it’s great when you feel com­fort­able enough to do that,’’ she says.

Perry, as fa­mous for his acidic tongue as his in­cred­i­ble red car­pet cre­ations, says Mor­ris­sey and Navone are the per­fect de­sign and com­mer­cial bal­ance.

‘‘ Claudia brings high- end glossy fash­ion mag per­spec­tive to it, be­cause as a de­signer that’s gold – you want to see your de­signs in those mag­a­zines,’’ he says.

‘‘ She knows high- end in­ter­na­tional fash­ion. And Peter brings that to­tal com­mer­cial sense of what works.

‘‘ He’s had spec­tac­u­lar highs and lows and sur­vived. He has a ter­rific grasp on com­mer­cial fash­ion and the

bal­ance be­tween the two is fan­tas­tic.’’

Perry may be the mas­ter of the curt one- liner, which is re­al­ity tele­vi­sion gold, but says he has no time for any­thing but tal­ent and hard work when it comes to his men­tor­ing role on the show.

‘‘ In the end, it’s not about who is great tele­vi­sion tal­ent or who plays the game,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s about be­ing great de­sign­ers. ‘‘ The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple on re­al­ity tele­vi­sion now have grown up watch­ing it, so they’re very savvy to how it works, what the deal is. They know the game.

‘‘ You can cull out in the au­di­tions the ones who just want to be on TV. I don’t

. . . some­times we have to de­liver a gen­tle slap and ap­ply a cold cloth – Peter Mor­ris­sey

care what their per­son­al­ity is, I want to see their work.

‘‘ I want to cut through the theatrics, the kooky hair. Show me you’re a de­signer be­cause that’s what will carry you through the next 12 weeks.’’

Mor­ris­sey has men­tored chil­dren via the Qan­tas Share the Spirit pro­gram for the past seven years, and is rel­ish­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with up­com­ing de­sign­ers.

‘‘ I’ve wanted to do this show ever since it started, and I’ve loved ev­ery minute,’’ he says of his new role.

He’ll know he’s been a suc­cess if he can get the mes­sage through to con­tes­tants that ‘‘ their job as de­sign­ers is to make peo­ple feel a cer­tain way, not just look a cer­tain way’’.

‘‘ A dress isn’t a dress un­til it makes a woman feel beau­ti­ful,’’ he says.

‘‘ If I’m crit­i­cis­ing it’s be­cause I be­lieve you can be bet­ter.’’

For Gale, a sec­ond sea­son of pre­sent­ing also al­lows her to set­tle more into her ‘‘ own voice’’ on the show.

‘‘ Alex and I were the new kids on the block last sea­son, then we found our feet and found a rhythm and flow,’’ she says.

‘‘ Last year be­cause I was new, I was a good girl, did what I was told, said what I was told to say, and some­times they weren’t the words I’d use.

‘‘ This year we’ve agreed to free it up, I’ve ad- libbed a bit, this feels more per­sonal, more me.’’

And just as she hits full stride on the cat­walk, Gale is on the verge of baby steps into an­other longheld am­bi­tion: act­ing.

Af­ter a long wait for a role, in­clud­ing the dis­ap­point­ment of be­ing cast as Won­der Woman for the now- aban­doned Ge­orge Miller movie, Jus­tice League of Amer­ica, Gale may fi­nally have her big break.

She is cast in Miller’s up­com­ing Mad Max: Fury

Road, star­ring Char­l­ize Theron and Tom Hardy, al­though, true to form, the se­cre­tive di­rec­tor told her lit­tle about the role be­fore she left for film­ing in Namibia. ‘‘ I learned this with Jus­tice

League. Ge­orge Miller is com­pletely se­cre­tive,’’ Gale says.

‘‘ It’s some­thing that’s been on the cards for quite a while, and if we man­age to do this to­gether it will be a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

PROJECT RUN­WAY, Arena, ( Fox­tel), Mon­day, 8.30pm

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