Overzealous publicists, beware. Heidi Klum is taking matters into her own hands.

Thirty minutes before the model-mogul’s Barnes & Noble book signing on Friday, p.r. called to warn that this event would be merely a photo op, all conversation was off limits. This reporter attempted to interview Klum anyway but was quickly shooed away and reported such in Monday’s WWD. Apparently, Klum wasn’t privy to the restrictions and, perplexed, rang WWD, saying she’d be delighted to chat. We took her up on her offer, speaking with her over the phone between filming scenes for the latest season of “Project Runway.”

WWD: “Project Runway” is in its 10th season — can you believe it?
Heidi Klum:
I can and I can’t. When we first started, I didn’t really know where this was going. We were a small show. You know, to even get on the air in the first place was hard, to find a network that wanted to do a show entirely about fashion. That was a novel concept then. When we were pitching the show, it was difficult to explain why people would watch it. They were all like, “Why is that interesting?”

WWD: You’re in the middle of filming season 10. Can you give us a sneak peek?
We’re almost at the end of it, and then they go on that long break when they all go back to their homes and they start designing for the finale, the big runway show, which will be in September. Other than that, I can’t say!

WWD: Does it get tough to judge at the end of the season, almost like splitting hairs?
For me, it isn’t. I always go with my gut feeling, and I’m always fair. I root for the person who I believe is the best. I don’t really go by character, you know. If someone talks to me in a certain way or cries, that doesn’t sway me. I’m very cut-and-dry; I go by who I think is the best designer. You know, if there’s someone I really, really believe in and Tim [Gunn] or Nina [Garcia] doesn’t, I really will fight with them to get who I love until the bitter end. Sometimes I don’t succeed, like with Mondo [Guerra, season eight’s runner-up] for example. I really wanted him to win, but I got overruled. Jessica Simpson and I, we wanted Mondo, and Nina and Michael [Kors] wanted Gretchen [Jones, season eight’s winner]. Then all the sudden they got Jessica on their side, so then it was three against one.

This story first appeared in the July 18, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WWD: Michael Kors’ pithy critiques have become such an integral part of the show. Do you have a favorite description of his from over the years?
He just speaks that way, very vividly. He paints a picture with his words. Like he would say, “This sweater looks like a wildcat ripped it up and then threw it in the washing machine 50 times” or “That looks like a genie’s wee-wee pad diaper.” He says what most people are thinking but are too afraid to actually say. I mean he always talks like that, not just on the show. Like when we have lunch and he talks about his anorexic cat who loves to eat tissue paper!

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