INTERVIEW: Heidi Klum Talks Judging Contestants, Moving Back to NYC

Singer Melanie Brown is best known as a member of the Spice Girls. Howie Mandel and Howard Stern both have backgrounds in comedy and acting. But the fourth judge on this upcoming season of “America’s Got Talent,” Heidi Klum, is mostly known as a host and model.

“Being in entertainment for 20 years, seeing a lot of things… I’ve been grooming models in Germany. I do Tyra’s (Banks) show (‘America’s Next Top Model’) in Germany,” Klum explained to me during a red carpet media event for the show in Rockefeller Plaza. “You have to be a little bit of an entertainer, an actress, when you’re a model. You can’t just stand there.”

Klum was married to a singer – Seal – for eight years, but also has a little bit of a performance background herself. Before coming to America, the “Project Runway” star danced professionally in Germany.

“When I came here, I found out that I wasn’t that good,” Klum joked. “In Germany I was good, here I was not good.”

While she has no problem taking a light-hearted jab at herself, she has found it difficult at times on set to turn contestants away.

“It’s hard to crush someone feelings, especially when we’re crunched on time,” she said. “I want to say more to send them away, and sometimes you have to be really quick, and then it hurts my feelings to hurt someone else’s feelings.”

Despite the acclimation period for Klum to judging a talent competition, she insists that she hasn’t asked for help or relied on the other judges. Once auditions are over, the judges will return to New York, a place that Klum knows all too well, having lived in the city for thirteen years as a model. But the judge was adamant that she won’t be able to hit up any of her favorite spots around town.

“I’m going to bed, because I’m doing this all again tomorrow,” said Klum of her work day, which can run from 5 am to 9 pm. “A girl needs her beauty rest.”

“America’s Got Talent” premieres June 4 on NBC.

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