America’s Next Top Model returns tonight, and along with a crop of college-aged model hopefuls, we’ll meet Tyra Banks’ all-new inner circle. Fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone, blogger Bryanboy and model Rob Evans replace the deposed judges, while stylist Johnny Wujek — the man behind Katy Perry’s candy-coated stage outfits and over-the-top red carpet ensembles — takes on the role of photo shoot creative consultant.
Wujek talked to EW.com about preparing for his small screen debut (those model looks don’t hurt), working with Tyra, and why he has to beg the judges for spoilers.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your biggest fear about joining Top Model?
JOHNNY WUJEK: I was anxious because I’ve never been on a TV show. When I initially went in, I thought they wanted me to judge on the panel. When they offered me the job as the creative director, I thought, ‘This is more my scene.’ I had so many ideas for photo shoots.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you nervous about replacing Mr. Jay?
JOHNNY WUJEK: I was more excited to get my ideas out there rather than I was nervous to follow in his footsteps. He did what he did, I was brought on to do what I’m going to do in a new, fresh way. There was no fear, just excitement.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s it like to work with Tyra Banks?
JOHNNY WUJEK: That’s been the question — ‘How is she to work with?’ — like people are expecting the worst. She’s a bad ass business woman who has been modeling since she was a teenager and doing this show for eight years. She gets down to business and definitely cracks the whip on these girls, but she also gets silly.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Which judge is the toughest on the contestants?
JOHNNY WUJEK: Tyra is the queen and she always will be, but Kelly [shows] the girls the harsh reality of the business. She doesn’t hold back.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What won’t we see on camera?
JOHNNY WUJEK: I’m not on the judging panel so every day I’d hit up Bryan or Kelly to ask them, ‘Who’s gone?’ otherwise I wouldn’t know. I’d be part of the photo edit, but in the end Tyra is the one who selects the photos [for judging.] I’m creatively involved, but then it’s off to the vultures to pick and choose. It was a shock to show up to a shoot and find out which girl was missing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve been Katy Perry’s personal stylist for years. Did she offer you any advice on stepping in front of the camera?
JOHNNY WUJEK: Katy’s very supportive. In the beginning I asked her, ‘Should I do this? Is it a good idea?’ and she said, ‘This is an amazing way to build your brand. Just be yourself and the world [will] go crazy for you.’
— Lindzi Scharf