Nicole Richie talks to ET about returning to judge season 3 of the Prime Video reality competition.
While Making the Cut is awarding $1 million to the winning designer of season 3, it is returning judge Nicole Richie who ran away with the series. The actor and creative director of House of Harlow 1960 brought her signature blend of humor and levity to another intense season of the Prime Video fashion reality competition hosted by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, even maintaining her composure while fellow judge and designer Jeremy Scott lost it on the contestants following a particularly disappointing challenge.
“It truly was a very intense moment,” Richie tells ET about sitting next to Scott during his emotional outburst. “I think there were just a lot of heightened emotions in that moment.”
After that, she says the show took a break and stopped filming so that everyone, including the designers, could recompose themselves. “We all took time to gather ourselves and come back in a helpful way,” she says, adding that there’s a lot of pressure when it comes to competing on the show. “These designers are having to create looks in one or two days.”
That said, “I think that all of us really come from a place of wanting to respect that and also understanding that we do have a job to do and that Amazon is knocking on the door, like, waiting to give them a million dollars and give them a global brand,” Richie explains, while acknowledging that they’re judging “some very talented designers.”
While speaking to ET, Richie talks about joining the series after sitting out season 2 and teases what’s in store for the season 3 finale.
ET: After missing out on season 2, what was it like to come back for season 3?
Nicole Richie: It was so great being back. This was my first time working with Jeremy and that was so exciting. He is bright and colorful, not only physically, but just his personality also. And it was so great to be back with Tim and Heidi again. I've been such a fan of theirs for a long time. I love the opportunities that they give to emerging designers. So I was happy to get on board and come back.
In terms of judging, what was the most intense or emotional moment for you this season?
Well, I would say with both seasons, it’s always the finale because you have to think about a lot of things. It’s not just your personal take, you know. It’s really thinking about the fact that there is a million dollars on the table. I mean, everybody’s businesses can change. If I got a million dollars, my business would change.
So, we all take that seriously. And, you know, we’re thinking about them being in the Amazon family and what they would do with the money and just really understanding all of the different parts that go into what being a global brand is. And so, you know, I think everybody, like I said, we all take it very seriously and it’s never a short night.
That said, do you, Heidi and Jeremy get to go behind closed doors and really discuss your thoughts and feelings about these designers or is it all done out on camera during the judges panel and when the designers are answering questions about their looks?
I think probably the majority of it is done on camera because we talk about it in real time as we’re seeing the pieces. We’re talking to each other and not everybody agrees and we expect that. We all have respect for each other and some of the decisions take longer than others. But that’s what the job is.
You have so many great reactions and one-liners. I always love when you say you want something in your closet. But given how intense the competition can get at times, how are you able to still bring the humor or levity to the series?
I mean, listen, I’m not doing it on purpose. I have to bring humor to everything I do. That is, you know, is just how I approach life and work. We’re here only once. And so, you know, along with the stress and the time and the pressure, we all have to find joy and light around what we do because we’re all so lucky to be here and to be able to sit here and design and have their pieces shown, even if they don't win the challenge. Like, just to be able to have their designs shown on TV on that episode, that week is just so amazing. And so, you know, I definitely wanna celebrate those moments.
I'm not judging on what my personal aesthetic is. There definitely are things that are very me and things that I want immediately. But there are things that I have loved that I know weren't part of the challenge. So, I think it’s important to just touch on all of it, because we are talking about finding the next global brand and there is so much that goes into that.
And so, it can’t just be like, “Love it or hate it.” We have to really talk about it. And that includes the feelings, like, “Did we like what they did? Where can we see it? Are they holding onto their signature or did they wanna appeal to everyone?” There’s just so much to talk about.
When you’ve said you wanted something in your closet or expressed interest in having a look outside of the show, have any of the designers since given you outfits or worked with you on designs?
Jeanette Limas made me a very beautiful dress, which I love so much. I’m so grateful to her for even remembering that because I know that this has been a whirlwind experience for her. So, yeah, it’s been amazing.
What can we look forward to from the finale?
I really stand by and believe in the person who is going to be the winner. And, you know, I think we all worked really hard to figure out who that person was going to be. And the finale is big, it’s celebratory. It is Making the Cut, so it doesn't do anything small. So, it's going to be very, very exciting.
Assuming the series is renewed for season 4, can we expect to see more of you on the judging panel?
I haven’t heard, but I love Making the Cut and I love Heidi and Tim, so we shall see.
Making the Cut season 3 is now streaming on Prime Video.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.