After weeks and weeks of being called boring by Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum, nice guy Robert Best packed up his sewing kit. Now, he’s back in Los Angeles designing more Barbie costumes, but he made time to call EW to discuss this challenge, his new cult status, and whether Jeffrey really is the devil.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Robert, I was especially upset to see you eliminated during a week where you weren’t exactly designing what you want to design.
ROBERT BEST: I have to completely agree with you. Not to be a whiny baby, because part of me says, ”Okay, whatever,” but at the same time, it’s like, those are clothes I would never design. Period. I have nothing against plus-size anyone, and it’s not a dig against anyone who’s plus-sized at all. My heart’s just not there. I can’t fake it. There are people who do that, and that’s what they want to do. I would rather be doing my glamorous party dresses.
Why did the judges keep saying how boring you are?
I think they were bored and they wanted to pick on me. I was the nice guy. They were trying to get me to come out of my shell and show my claws, but part of my whole thing is I don’t feel like I need to go there. I’m not a person who feels like I have to take down people to feel like a better designer. I’m not going to be like, ”He sucks….He’s horrible” — other than to dish Laura every so often, because that’s fun. It’s so high school, and I’m 37.
Were you shocked when you saw your sister walk on the runway as one of the ”real women”?
That was the best thing ever. At first I thought they were just bringing out real women. I think Angela was behind me, and she pierced my ear with a shattering scream, and I realized these would be people we knew. I was kind of looking for my mom, but my mom’s health isn’t that great, so she wouldn’t have traveled. But I was so excited because I had done [my sister’s] wedding dress and she’s really my perfect customer. We vibe on the same style icons and cultural BS. I thought, ”Yay!” Then Heidi started in on how there was a twist.
You were the second to last to choose. How did you decide between Vincent’s sister and Angela’s mother?
This is going to sound evil, but it was really six of one, half dozen of the other. I initially wanted to do either Kayne or Michael’s mom, because I’m closest to them and it would have been fun to build more on those existing friendships. As it turns out, I was paired with Vincent’s sister, and I chose her out of the two because I had worked with Vincent before.
When you said how she wanted black and red, you sounded so miserable. Are those the colors of death for a designer?
No, I just knew based on everything Nina Garcia had been smacking me on the head with for three solid weeks that they would think it was a safe, boring choice. I was torn too because I needed it to be flattering to her. This was not the time to make an eyesore or a joke of a costume. But I felt like I’d been thrown under a bus. When you’re defensively designing, you’re not operating at the top of your game, and last week I had been warned in the recycling challenge. They didn’t show it on TV, but Heidi said to me, ”Robert, you have moved on, but you have still disappointed us.” I was like, ”That’s bizarre. If I’m being moved on, is it fair to tell me I sucked?” All that stuff stays in your head when you’re trying to think creatively. Then you’re already overwhelmed, and you’re designing on a completely different scale, and your mannequin is of no use
Were you all aware of the drama going on between Jeffrey and Angela’s mom?
That was all happening front and center in a very awkward, uncomfortable way. Jeffrey, never one to shy away from a good fight or belittling someone else, seems to enjoy confrontation. Angela’s mother had the same passive-aggressive thing as Angela. It was a lethal combination, to say the least. Here was this wonderful moment to celebrate, and then to have this thrown in felt very unnecessary and ugly. Not to be Pollyanna, but I thought, ”Grow up already.”
And yet Jeffrey cried — cried! — when you got voted off.
Getting to know him, I saw a very different person than who everyone sees on TV. We would make jokes and laugh. He got kind of a bad rap for being so negative, but underneath it he’s a good guy. We were just getting to know each other too.
NEXT: The designing women and the screaming fans