Jerry Nunn: Hi, Robert. So you got your start designing jewelry?
Robert Verdi: Yes, strange as that might sound. It started with sweet 16 favors for my sister’s sweet 16, and then I realized I could make a nickel. The rest is television history.
JN: What did you make the jewelry out of?
RV: I was in a ceramics class in high school, so I was cutting out teddy bears, pigs and ducks. Afterwards, I glued them on Lucite containers and filling them with candy. So after my sisters sweet sixteen then her friends asked me to make more for them and I had a run of success. From there, I glued the same teddy bears onto the backs of earrings and I learned to change to keep the customer interested. I didn’t have experience with metals so I used materials around the house. All our game pieces were missing because I melted them and turned them into jewelry. I actually—shockingly—came across some of these pieces this past weekend.
JN: What do you mean by your quote, “Jewelry is more dependable than a man?”
RV: As every joke is, there is an underlying statement. Jewelry is always there for you. Men can walk out on you but the necklace can’t leave. If you ever in a bind, you can hock a good piece of jewelry and get some cash to carry you through and you don’t have to put out! [ Both laugh. ]
JN: So you played yourself opposite Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. How was that experience?
RV: Not a bad first acting role, eh? I was only in the film a few seconds but I had to shoot eight hours. It was great for me because every star from the movie was in that scene: Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep . I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
It was different from filming on television. I am much more outrageous, my voice is very loud and inflection very purposeful. They sounded like they were muttering. I was like, “What?!? What did Meryl say to me? I can’t act like this!”
JN: Very different than a reality show.
RV: Completely different.
JN: What’s your favorite part about being a judge for the show She’s Got the Look?
RV: I love that we laugh. It is really true that casting a team for their energy is important. Kim Alexis is absolutely fabulous and a living legend, as is Beverly Johnson. Sean Patterson is one of the most highly respected modeling agents in the world. I think that I bring a unique perspective on style and fashion. I am there to help the women realize the importance of appearance and personal style. It’s the best show that I have ever done.
JN: What do you look for in a candidate in the competition?
RV: There is that raw visual image when someone comes around the corner when we are doing the open call. There’s an “uh, oh” or “wow.” It has to be gut instincts. When it’s an “uh, oh,” like onions, we peel away and we find something interesting. Someone who is three-dimensional is hopefully the one that ends up in the competition. Season one was great. Season two is fabulous.
JN: I am excited about seeing it.
RV: I am, too. I am planning a party at my place every week to watch it. Come watch me!
JN: What’s in the future for Mr. Verdi?
RV: World domination. [ Laughs ] Oh, yeah—and a spin-off of my new reality show. I am designing bags on QVC and working with my own products.
JN: You are filming a reality show? What’s it called—Life on the V-List?
RV: No. It’s the Robert Verdi Show starring Robert Verdi, and it will be on Logo.
Well, the future’s so bright, you better wear shades.