Which stands for “What Would Tim Gunn Do?” (If you’re not familiar with it, this is a adaptation of the popular “WWJD“.)

My friends know that I am huge fan of “Project Runway” and I’m thrilled that we’ve just started a new season. One of my favorite aspects of the show is the interaction of the designers with their mentor figure, the indescribable Tim Gunn. My Project Runway blogs tell me that the USA Today’s Weekend section will include a feature on Tim, and the online version includes some of the designers sharing what they learned from Tim:

Christian Siriano (winner, Season 4): “I had confidence, but he showed me how to be a little more humble in my work. He never said, ‘I don’t think it should be that.’ It was always, ‘It could be something else.’ It was always about what you could do to make it better.”

Chloe Dao (winner, Season 2): “What I got just by being around him is his level of generosity and how grounded he is.”

Nick Verreos (contestant, Season 2): “To try to conduct yourself with class and decency. And to be upfront with people, but not to be so personal in terms of getting into people’s characters.”

Christopher Straub (contestant, Season 6): “He told me to work on my design — don’t work on someone else’s, don’t try to please someone else — work on your own. It’s one of the most important things I’ve ever been told: ‘You need to find what your identity is and focus there.’ ”

Andrae Gonzalo (contestant, Season 2): “It’s always important to ask questions instead of making judgments.”

If you’re wondering what this has to do with archives, you can chalk this post up to my friend Terry over at the Beaver Archivist. This post isn’t an answer to his, but I read the thoughts of these designers right after Terry’s post, and I think that what they learned from Tim are lessons that we all probably wish we followed more often: ask questions instead of making judgments, find your own identity and focus there instead of trying to please someone else, conduct yourself with class and decency, be generous, and encourage others to do better. I know I don’t always live up to those kinds of ideals myself, but I think they are pretty good ones to shoot for.

I’ve joked on Twitter that I sometimes think I’m the Kathy Griffin (of “My Life on the D-List”) of archives, but I wished I were the Tim Gunn. I think the best I can hope for is somewhere in the middle. I don’t have an answer for you, Terry, but, as the great Ron Burgundy always said, “Stay classy!”

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One thought on “WWTGD?”

  1. You may want to read what I wrote in response to Terry’s posting. I think you are right on the money.

    And fyi though I do not have cable I watch Project Runway on DVD thanks to Netflix. I totally love the show and adore Tim Gunn. He was on the Metro once (he was down for a program at the Corcoran) and I would have never noticed him had someone not said “I love your show.” He looked so elegant and totally at home on the Metro.

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