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Larger-than-life Vogue editor works the small screen

Vogue Editor At Large Andre Leon Talley sits on the front row before the Tibi Fall 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: FASHION ENTERTAINMENT)


He has only appeared on three episodes of America's Next Top Model and already André Leon Talley has a signature word: dreckitude!

The diva-delicious put-down is just one of the reasons to watch the latest installment of Tyra Banks's model-search reality show, now in its 13th season and franchised around the world. Although Talley has a relatively minor role as one of the program's judges, the 60-year-old Vogue stalwart steals almost all of his scenes.

Recently, Globe Style spoke to him by phone from his home in White Plains, N.Y. Topics ranged from female empowerment to fashion bloggers. Only one question wasn't answered: Can he pull a Tyra and "smize" (smile with his eyes)?

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I feel like we've yet to see an ANTM winner transition into high fashion.

That's beside the point. What's important is that Tyra is giving these girls a jump start to a career, be it high fashion or a commercial with CoverGirl cosmetics. It's giving the women the empowerment, even when they're the first to go home, to be able to have the skills and tools to take them beyond the show and get viable work.

But the irony of being a model is that their careers are often short-lived.

It can be short-lived, but the irony is that, at that moment, you can have a great career if you know how to make it work for you.

So many supermodels have come out of Canada - Linda Evangelista, Shalom Harlow, Daria Werbowy, Coco Rocha. What's your theory on why?

Ha! I think it's in the water and the cold air because all those girls have the most amazing luminous skin and the light coming from their eyes. It's in their DNA.

What were your thoughts on Marc Jacobs leaving celebrities off his invite list at his recent New York show?

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I think that Marc can do whatever he wants. I think that the celebrities now are the bloggers and I think for too long we [had]front-row celebrities, A-list to Z-list, who took over and it was just too much. And he probably felt that, after Lady Gaga was at his last show, the emphasis was on Lady Gaga and not his collection. I think it was a smart move on Marc's part. He's a very smart person. And I think he wanted to have people pay attention to his work and not to the event.

Why do you think fashion bloggers are celebrities now?

I have no idea, darling. I have not a clue. I'm not an expert on cyberspace.

Do you think that live-streamed runway shows will ever match the experience of being there?

I think nothing replaces being at the shows. I think [live streaming]is a phenomenon and it will [stick around] but it's never going to [compare to] being there.

What do you think about Alexander McQueen's brand continuing after his death?

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Brilliant idea. The brand is there. It's alive. I'm sorry that he has passed away, but Yves Saint Laurent died [and]they continued the brand. Coco Chanel died and they continued the brand. A brand as big as that and with as much credibility must go on.

What would it take to get you to Toronto Fashion Week?

I'm too busy. I just would never be able to. My schedule just can't permit it.

In any case, Jeremy Laing, Erdem and Mark Fast show in New York and London to get the audience they feel they need.

Well, then that's what they have to do.

What advice would you give to fashion graduates in 2010?

Never give up your dream.

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