Carson Kressley Talks OWN Shows, Anti-Polyester Stance

2011 will be the year Oprah Winfrey retires her signature daytime show (tears!) but never fear: the High Priestess of Talk is ringing in the New Year with the launch of OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network,) going live at noon on January 1. The Big O is blowing out her latest venture with help from her TV besties, including Gayle King, Dr. Phil and fashion master Carson Kressley, who will helm two shows on the new network – Your OWN Show, premiering January 7, and Carson Nation, debuting in the spring.  Celebuzz caught up with the razor-sharp makeover king and former Queer Eye star about his duo of new gigs and his mission to ban polyester nationwide.

You have not one but two shows on Oprah’s new network. You must be pinching yourself.

I’m pinching myself, my assistant’s pinching me, I’m having people pinch me all over town. I love being pinched. I love to talk about my shows like crazy. Start your tape recorder because I never shut up!

Done and done. Your OWN Show is the search for the next big talk show host.  The show is executive produced by Mark Burnett, the man behind Survivor and The Apprentice, but how is it different from the other reality competitions out there?

Everyone’s like, ‘How’s it different?’ Um, they get to work with Oprah! They’re not just getting a show on Food Network, they get to work with Oprah!  She’s on the show some of the time. I get to have moments where I’m like, ‘Oprah, sit right over here, thank you so much!’ Basically, there were 20,000 videos uploaded from applicants and we brought the Top 10 to vy for their own show. Every week they’ll have their challenges – producing a makeover show, interviewing a celebrity, all the things that they’re going to have to do if they become a TV star on the network.

So did you find the next Oprah?

I don’t know if there will ever be the next Oprah because she’s such a one of a kind and was such a pioneer but we definitely did find a great new TV star. All 10 of them were amazing. I was worried it was going to get like a Florida election, but we found a great winner.

Working with Oprah, do you ever give her style tips?

I just started working with her so I don’t give her too many fashion tips. I would never go, ‘You’re not going to wear that, are you?’ But we did get to spend a lot of time on the set of Your OWN Show and it was fun getting to see her different outfits and her jewelry was pretty awesome. When you get to sit right next to her, you get a close look.

You’re also filming Carson Nation, in which you will make over the country one small town at a time.  Where do you even begin?

I pick all the towns and cities by randomly throwing a dart at a map of the United States… over my shoulder. I wanted to do this in small town America because that’s where I’m from. I’m from Allentown, Pennsylvania. I want to show people that you don’t have to live in Paris or New York or Los Angeles to have access to style. It’s very democratic nowadays. You can get great things almost anywhere.

What can you tell us about the journey thus far?

It’s kind of like a makeover roadtrip across America. It’s me driving a big trailer outfitted with all kinds of makeover magic. We’re making people over, giving them their dream weddings, renovating their houses, doing whatever we can to inject some style into their life. We’re actually going to try to enlist the help of local resources, like teaching the person in the small town how to give great highlights so that when we leave, their community actually will have cuter hair. So everyone wins! It’s not just one person. We’re trying to make over the whole town.

If you were really ruling over a Carson Nation, what would you have us all wearing?

I would like to think we’d all be in beautiful tailored clothing that was made in Italy somewhere but then everyone would look the same and I think the great thing about clothing and fashion is that it allows you to express who you really are. Or who you want to be that day! So I think everybody should look different. In a perfect world, everyone would look different but there probably wouldn’t be any polyester and there wouldn’t be any gauchos. I just don’t see the need.

What are you expecting to see from the people you meet on Carson Nation?

One thing with Queer Eye, I was shocked at how welcoming people were.  I thought it would be like, ‘Ew here’s that gay guy’ but instead it was like, ‘The gay guys are here, thank god!’ I’m hoping it will be the same and it won’t be like Too Wong Foo and they try to run me out of Dodge.

Will you watch Carson’s shows on OWN? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: OWN