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Tim Gunn Stays Classy at Life@50+

Doug Van Sant

You can be pretty sure Tim Gunn didn't predict his second act.

As he told a rapt AARP audience today, he was an academic, working at Parsons: The New School of Design when Project Runway called. It was six months after his 50th birthday, and as his mother said, "YOU? Are they crazy?!? You're so old!"

So Project Runway asks, well, do you think these designers could make a whole wedding dress in one day? On the show?

Tim Gunn, being used to academia, says, "Well, they'd just have to make it work."  Awkward silence. "Oh. Okay." He found out later everyone else had scoffed at the idea. You know the rest of the story - that line, make it work, became the Tim Gunn signature.

As second acts go, it could be worse. He went on to tell stories of fashion divas."At what point do you start thinking it's okay to have someone feeding you cheese and grapes by hand?!?" he said, shaking his head.

"The moral of the story is, don't live in the monkey house. At first, you think it smells like poop. Then you live in the monkey house, and after awhile, it stops smelling. Don't live in the monkey house."

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