First to be spliced from “The Cut” with metaphoric but nevertheless razor-sharp shears was Amy, a twenty-something from Chicago who describes herself as a personal shopper and stylist. I caught up with Amy by email, and since the show didn’t give us a chance to get to know her, I wondered what she would have brought to the competition if she hadn’t been Cut. (Just because Tommy Hilfiger passed on the opportunity to use his show title to eliminate contestants doesn’t mean I have to.) How would she compete without being able to draw or sew?
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Amy. First off, what was your strategy was coming into the game?
It is difficult to have a strategy for a game where you do not know the rules. This was a first season show so everything revolving around the design was a mystery. I felt I would use my friendly demeanor to deter people from focusing on me for elimination.
What did you hope to gain from being in this competition?
The real purpose of me even considering the concept of reality television was directly related to my profession [as an] ambitious individual who is always looking for the next avenue to take my career another level. This show would allow me to have national exposure to the industry people I am looking to work with. The fact that the show had a fashion-based concept was overwhelmingly appealing to me.
You stated that you can’t draw or sew. What do you bring to fashion design without those skills?
I am a conceptual person. Tommy Hilfiger built his empire off of concepts, not with a needle and thread. I have been a fashion stylist for several years now and understand fashion and all things related to it. My eagerness to learn and expand upon my already existing knowledge is an asset to any situation.
Did you bond with any of the other contestants on the show? Who was your least favorite person in the loft?
I met several amazing people on the show. They were each individually talented and remarkable within their own right. There was obviously personality clashes as there would be with any large group of people that diverse. We are on a competition based show living and working together for over a month, people disagree.
What did you think of the final concept of the billboard? What would you have done differently?
I still believe our billboard was much more professional and well-executed over the other teams. Our biggest flaw was not making the Hilfiger name larger. Unfortunately, ours became a piece of art rather than a major advertisement.
What did you think of the skyline billboard?
The concept of TommyNY was brilliant. As for the rest of the billboard, I felt it was elementary in concept and execution. Our billboard was looking into the future of the Hilfiger label while theirs was another version of what the company already represents.
What kind of challenge would have showcased your talents best?
My talents revolve around fashion, organization and management. I have my own business with the personal shopping and fashion styling (www.amysalinger.net), I understand people both creatively and individually. Any challenge involving a mixture of business and fashion would have allowed me to display all of my abilities.
What did you think of Deanna’s reaction when she discovered her coat had been left out in the rain?
Everyone on the team was shocked by Deanna's tantrum. At that point we had been awake for two days straight working as hard as we could. Everyone was truly looking out for everyone else as much as they possibly could. I actually had picked up her hat and gloves earlier and had them in my bag. We were all completely delirious and wished she had talked to us rather than yelled at us.
Did you expect to be working in a team, or competing as individuals?
I expected to be working on a team. I knew the cast would be a very diverse group of people and it would be impossible to design challenges that any one of us would have been able to complete individually. I enjoyed working as a team; it can be trying, but you learn so much from others.
Going in, did you know that there would be an element of your fellow contestants judging you?
The judging process was completely a surprise. The curiosity revolving around elimination was definitely looming during the first mission. We had no idea what we were walking into that night. It was difficult, but you have to keep in mind that this is a reality show and not take anything too personally.
Why do you think Chris chose you to be nominated for elimination?
I had a feeling that Jessica and I would be up there. Our team, unlike the other, got along exceptionally well. We truly worked together and each of us worked extremely hard. Jessica and I both focused on organization and management. I knew that to most of my teammates those contributions would not stand up to design and manual labor. Someone had to go and I certainly was not offended.
What is your ultimate goal - what would you like to be doing?
My ultimate goal is to work within television as an on-camera stylist. I feel extremely comfortable doing improvisational work in reference to fashion, it is second nature.
Was there anything else you wanted our readers to know about you and your experience on the show?
Reality television is an interesting concept. When anyone watches these programs they need to remember this is for entertainment. For the contestants it can become a very personal experience, you get lost in the drama of it at times. I really tried to stand back and breathe, "Amy, this is television - not your life."
Thank you to Amy for answering my questions, and to CBS for granting the interview.