And there were people who just couldn't accept our "this isn't what we're looking for" declaration. A sample transcript follows:
Our next candidate enters holding a top with a hoodie shaped like a dragon head, complete with scales; a feathered ball gown with a 20-foot train (really); and a corset made out of condoms.
Tim (after exchanging looks with the other judges): "Thank you for coming, but this isn't what we're looking for."
Candidate: "No, I AM what you're looking for."
Tim (to the other judges): "Do we see anything here that interests us?"
Other Judges: "No."
Candidate: "How can you say that? I have incredible talent and I have to be on the show!"
Tim: "I'm sorry, but we don't have time for a critique. We have to move on."
Candidate: "What? But I have to be on the show! I HAVE to be!!"
Tim: "Simply put, these aren't clothes (referring to her three garments), they're costumes. We're not looking for costumes."
Candidate: "They're not costumes! I wear them!"
Tim: "I'm sorry, but this meeting is over. Good day."
This is followed by the candidate's slow exit with a long and lingering over-the-shoulder stare.
The judges and I shudder. Executive producer Rich Bye states that we took entirely too long on this complete waste of time. Rich: "To invoke a Timism, 'We gotta go, go, go!'" We went!
For the sake of transparency, I want to assert that our producers, led by the incomparable Rich Bye (in all four cities), plus Bravo's divine Shari Levine in Los Angeles and, later, New York, were on the sidelines to weigh in on the "personality quotient" of the candidates. Speaking for our judges, we were grateful for their role, because we were so myopic about finding design talent that personalities could elude us. If we were on the fence about a candidate, a nod or a shake of the head from Rich was a lifesaver.