Meeting Whitney Port is a slightly nerve-wracking experience. Why, you ask? Well…where do we begin? Not only is she one of the most stylish women on the face of the planet, she’s also multi-talented.
Reality television star, writer, fashion designer, model – the girl has done it all, which is ridiculously impressive given the fact that she’s only 27 years old.
Oh and did we mention that as well as being uber-gifted, she’s also effortlessly cool, hilarious and drop dead gorgeous?
Recently Whitney took up the title of judge on the new series of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model and we were lucky enough to catch up with her and chat about modelling, fashion and falling over on live television…
Whitney, don’t take this the wrong way, but your CV is pretty intimidating – you’ve been a reality TV star, a model, a fashion designer…the list is endless! What’s been your favourite thing to do so far?
“I would say that design is my favourite. It’s what I’ve always really wanted to do and that’s what I have the most fun doing. I love the feeling of seeing someone wearing my clothes and appreciating them.
It’s just such a cool feeling when you’ve put your heart and soul into something and someone else wants to wear it! Clothes are such an expression of our personality and so the fact that someone took a liking to it is the most fun.”
So how do you react when you see someone wearing your designs? Do you chase them down the street?
“Yeah! I’ve seen people wearing my clothes a couple of times and I have to stop them and take a picture, and I’m like ‘sorry!’”
Aside from your own clothes, what other brands do you like? Where do you shop?
“I love Topshop and I love Liberty London. Oh and I actually really like River Island – I think you can find some really cool things there…and Asos!”
We all know that the fashion industry can be tough – have you had any bad experiences with it?
“I wouldn’t say bad. There’s embarrassing things that have happened – like me falling on Good Morning America Live when I was modelling that dress (laughs).”
But you handled it well in fairness…
“People say that but I was like ‘what else am I supposed to do?!’ I mean, I did tear up. No one would probably notice unless you really know me, but when it happened I could feel my eyes getting a little bit blurry.”
You recovered well though and went on to do some amazing things.
“I guess falling makes people feel sorry for you! (laughs).”
So let’s talk judging. What does it take for a girl to become Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model?
“I think they have to really, really love what they’re doing. To be passionate about it because it takes a lot out of you. There are lots of people who are going to tell you that you’re not good enough, or that you’re not pretty enough or that you’re not skinny enough or whatever it is.
It’s a really hard industry. You have to be really, really motivated. You have to try and find that confidence within you, so you can keep on going on not necessarily take to heart everything that everyone is trying to knock you down for.”
Were you nervous about becoming a judge? Were you scared about how you would be portrayed?
“I’m nervous to see how I come off because there are times when I can be brutally honest and there are times when I can be really sweet and nurturing. I tried not to filter myself because I know that you have to be honest for the girls. You have to try and teach them.”
Did you find it hard to speak up if you didn’t agree with what the other judges were saying?
“We all tried to balance each other out a bit. It was more when Tyson [Beckford] would say something I’d be like: ‘What are you talking about?!’ He’s like my older brother, so I felt comfortable being like ‘Are you crazy?!?!’ but with the other two [Elle and Julien] I didn’t talk back as much because they would just bite my head off!”
Speaking of Tyson…what was it like working with him?
“He’s awesome. First when I heard he was going to be a judge I was like ‘oh my God! He’s so hot! This is going to be so crazy! Is he going to be my big brother? Are we going to be best friends?’ And that’s kind of how it turned out.
I thought I was maybe going to have a crush on him, which didn’t happen – don’t tell him that! He’s like my goofy older brother.”
And what about Elle and Julien?
“Elle is really cool. She’s an inspiration to me because she’s a strong businesswoman who is in this industry making a name for herself in a lot of different respects.
Julien is so talented! His clothes are insane and gorgeous – and he is so funny! He makes me laugh like no one else can make me laugh. Plus he’s sassy and he’s so sweet.
It’s been really cool getting to know all of them.”
Did you have a favourite girl in the competition?
“I did yeah (incredibly sad face).”
Judging from your reaction I take it things didn’t go to plan?
“There’s nothing else I can say about it, but yeah, she was awesome.”
Was it difficult for you when girls were eliminated?
“Very. The thing is, we didn’t really get to know them too well other than when we were talking to them on the panel. So that made it easier.
It wasn’t “easy,” never easy, but that made it easier. There were certain girls that I had major soft spots for – I was really sad to see them go.”
And now the final question: would you come back for a second series?
“I’d do it. Yes. For sure! I had such a fun time. I loved every part of it!”
Want more Whitney? Check out season eight of Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model on Sky Living, Monday nights at 9pm.