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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tim Gunn Returns to D.C.

Hello BPR-ers,

It seems Tim Gunn cannot get enough of Washington, D.C.

The always impeccable Mr. Gunn was back in his hometown Friday night as a special guest at the YouthAids gala, an annual event to raise awareness about and money to fight HIV/AIDS. Despite all the hubbub and flashing bulbs -- other attendees included gala host Ashley Judd, Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, and honoree Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin -- he graciously made time for all his fans and well wishers. And there were many. In fact, the announcement that he would serve as one of three auctioneers for the live auction earned some of the biggest cheers of the night.

Your correspondent found the gracious Mr. Gunn in the VIP pre-party (thanks Jennifer and Elissa!) where he was catching up with his friend, Sheila Johnson, chairwoman of the gala and of the Parsons Board of Governors. He said that Ms. Johnson asked him to become involved with YouthAIDS. "I respect her word and her philanthropy," he said. "When she commits to a cause, she gives it serious attention."

Of course, we dished on Project Runway. No beans were spilled about next Wednesday's finale, but Tim did mention a few little nuggets:

- His mentoring role on Project Runway is informed "1000 percent" by his work as an educator at Parsons. "I really am on the show as I am in the classroom," he said. His students at Parsons occasionally rib him about his star turn, teasingly telling him, "Now, you're being the Project Runway guy."

- While he sometimes has to be the heavy on Project Runway -- asking Keith to leave the show, confronting Jeffrey with the outsourcing concerns -- he says "it's tough love. I only want to help the designers." His one frustration: "When the designers act irresponsibly." See: Keith.

- Like the rest of us, he's a viewer, finding new things when he watches the show. He doesn't know what is said in individual interviews or what makes the final cut.

- The episode that made him smile the most: the dog challenge.

- And, like your correspondent, he is in awe of the commitment of the BPR gurus. We don't know how you find the time -- but thanks!

Your correspondent in D.C.,