Nina Garcia Defends Her Project Runway Critiques: “It’s Better to Cry Now Than to Cry Later”

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“Disaster,” “foaming vagina” … Project Runway judge Nina Garcia doesn’t mince her words when she doesn’t like a designer’s creation. But Marie Claire’s creative director took some time on Wednesday, Aug. 26, to explain to HuffPost Live why she dishes out her critiques.

“I think that the industry and … real-life experiences they will have after the season is over will be much tougher,” Garcia, 50, said. “I’m not as tough as what they really would experience in real life, and that’s in dollars and cents as well. So it’s better to cry now than to cry later, because at least I feel like I’m giving them a little crash course on what the business is like.”

Another taste of reality that Project Runway offers the contestants? The one- and two-day challenges to create amazing fashions, according to Garcia.

“Yes, the Project Runway contestants are working on a one day challenge or two day challenge for maybe ONE outfit,” she admitted. “The designers we’re going to see at New York Fashion Week are working on 60 looks! And then in two months or a month, turn around and do another collection!”

Nina Garcia
Project Runway judge Nina Garcia says she may give tough criticism, but reality is even harsher for designers. Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images

So while the short turnaround times for each challenge on the show may seem insane, “What we’re seeing is a real microcosm of the reality of the fashion business,” the longtime judge said. “The pressure is there.”

And right now, a new batch of designers are trying their best to make it work, as mentor Tim Gunn would say. Project Runway recently kicked off its 14th season, and airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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