My Meeting With Tim Gunn (And Other Stories)

I am a big “Project Runway” fan.

Total understatement. It’s one of my favorite shows: I’m totally obsessed.

I’ve watched the show, now in its tenth season, since the very beginning.

Right after Season Three I took a trip to New York City with my sister and got to lay eyes upon the winning designs from the season, on display in the window at Macy’s.

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Bennett (season three finalist) upon the release of her book, “Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?”

I love so many things about the show. I love Heidi Klum, I love the judges’ critiques (especially Michael Kors), I love the challenges, and I love the quirky contestants and the dynamics between them.

But most of all, I love Tim Gunn, Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne and mentor to the designers. He’s funny, he knows what he’s talking about when he consults with the designers every step of the way before the runway show, and he’s the one to have around when a pep talk is necessary.

I had the chance to meet Tim back in 2009 and it ended up not happening (oops). Even though I was absolutely thrilled with what I ended up doing instead and had an awesome afternoon with friends that is burned in my memory forever, I have cringed just a tiny bit ever since then when I think about missing my chance to meet him.

Fortunately, life has a way of providing second chances, and I discovered two weeks ago that Tim was making an appearance at my local bookstore as a part of his tour for his new book.

I can tell you that it was an unforgettable night that only started with the book signing.

I preordered my book over the phone upon discovery of his appearance because the way my bookstore conducts these events is that you get your number for the line when you purchase the book. I got number fifty-seven.

Last night, I wanted to arrive at the bookstore before 7:00 because that’s when the signing started and I figured that by arriving by 6:45 I would be there in plenty of time to pick up my book and get in line. Unfortunately, parking was a mess and I didn’t walk into the store until about 7:10.

I had decided to wear my favorite black dress with copper-colored shoes and simple styling, because I knew that Tim would be wearing a suit and I wanted our picture to be fantastic. I wasn’t the only person making unusual-for-a-book-signing wardrobe choices, by the way. The crowd was way more fashion-conscious than I’ve ever seen in that bookstore before: not a surprise.

As I approached the counter to pick up my book, I caught up with my friend Jen (@3girlsmomma19), who was also running just a tiny bit late. She said, “He started signing at 6:30, and they’ve already called numbers one through one hundred for the line!”


Jen, who was number sixty-six, and I grabbed our books and got in line. They were pushing people through quickly, and Tim was not taking the time to actually pose for pictures: they were all supposed to be candids. Jen and I barely had enough time to take a self-portrait, decide that we would take each other’s pictures, and chat, giggling, about how amazing meeting Tim would be before we got to the front of the line.

And then, before I knew it, this happened.

Me and Tim Gunn. Err, I mean, me and Tim.

Tim said he’d never seen my name spelled with one L and one S before, and asked me why my parents spelled it that way (they wanted me to be unique. ahem.), and I threw my Dad’s mom under the bus, telling Tim Gunn that “my grandmother spelled my name wrong all the time.”

I thanked him for visiting my town and then…it was over.

I didn’t even have a chance to tell him that I thought he was amazing and I wanted him to hang out with me 24/7, especially when I needed encouragement. On second thought, maybe it’s best I didn’t have a chance to say that.

Anyway, after saying goodbye to Tim we were directed to leave…out the back door.

Made to leave out the back door like a...never mind.

It was a quickie, for sure.

I felt cheap and used (not really) until I discovered that Tim and I are on a first name basis.

Tim and I are totally on a first name basis.

Jen and I headed down the street to an awesome bar upstairs from a great Mexican restaurant, and we waited for friends Serena and Jen (@thenextmartha). They arrived fairly quickly, and then this happened:

She's not called @TheNextMartha for nothing, kids.

And then this happened:

True story.

And, after a couple of hours talking about something so funny and bizarre that I would tell you about but then I’d have to kill you, THIS happened:


All in all, it was a pretty full three hours.

Thanks so much, Tim. Holla at your boy.