Clinton Kelly dishes on his 'biggest fight' ever on 'WhatNot to Wear'
It's the end of a reality TV era — or it soon will be. After 10 years and nearly 350 makeovers, the end is nigh for TLC's fashionable staple, "What Not to Wear."
While fans of the show are sure to be sad to say goodbye to the weekly wardrobe switcheroos, style guru Clinton Kelly feels the timing is right.
"I'm not sure I could do that show for another year if I had to," Kelly told TODAY. "It gets to a certain point where it's monotonous. You know, don't get me wrong, everybody's story is a personal one and every week is different. But I just sort of found myself rolling my own eyes at my own words as they're coming out of my mouth, like, 'How 'bout you try a structured jacket?' 'How 'bout dark-washed jeans?' 'How 'bout a ballet flat?'"
But there's been nothing monotonous about the show's final run, which has been packed with "What Not to Wear" firsts, including a behind-the-scenes episode that aired in August. Kelly insisted that everyone involved in the production wanted to end the show while they still liked it, and to that end, they've pulled out all the stops.
"The casting department really did a good job in the last season of finding characters that did not seem like the same old characters we've sort of worked with before," he told us. "The frumpy mom thing gets old after a while. It's like, 'How many frumpy moms can you make over in one season?'"
The character coming up on the next episode — the penultimate episode of the series — is anything but frumpy. She's also anything but likable, at least as far as Kelly was concerned.
"We have a woman named Megumi, who I got into the biggest fight with," he recalled. "I've really only gotten into fights with about two women out of 350 (over the years), and Megumi and I had it out in the 360 mirror!"
The fight wasn't really over fit or fashion either. Megumi got personal.
"I actually feel a little bit bad about it. I mean, she told me I needed Botox and I just went off on her," he said of the heated exchange. "Not that I have anything against Botox — I really don't. I've had it before. I was like, 'Don't you tell me that I need Botox. ... This isn't about me, b----!' "
While the showdown with Megumi might just be the most intense one in the show's history, it's far from the only time Kelly just couldn't see eye-to-eye with one of "What Not to Wear's" fashion victims.
"I think that Tristen, with the duck nails, was one of the worst transgressors we've had on the show," he told TODAY. "She idolized the cast of 'Jersey Shore.' "
Despite a couple of tough participants, the positive experiences have outnumbered the negative ones for Kelly. In fact, he's still in contact with a surprising number of past subjects.
"I keep in touch with about 100 of them, believe it or not, whether that's Twitter or Facebook or a text message here and there," he said. "But yeah, I had some great times with some of them. You know, we really affected people's lives positively. So it was a good experience."
And while it's not his habit to keep in touch with the ones he "didn't like," Kelly does make exceptions.
"I didn't like Tristen," he explained. "I didn't like her when she was in the studio, and I felt bad about that. I felt she was being defensive, and I felt that maybe I was being a little bit rough on her. And then at the reunion show in Vegas, she was there. She and I had a drink together and we hashed it out. We totally just sat down and said, 'This is where I was coming from,' 'This is where I was coming from,' and we made nice and now we're friends."
So maybe there's hope for Megumi?
"I don't think I'll ever (work it out) with her," he said. "Once you've told me I need Botox, we're done."
While there are still two episodes to air, Kelly is now officially done with "What Not to Wear." But that doesn't mean he has free time on his hands. In addition to his work on ABC's "The Chew," he has a new book, "Freakin' Fabulous on a Budget," that hits stores Oct. 15, and he has new role — mango man. Kelly is the celebrity spokesperson for the National Mango Board, which means he's gone from doling out style makeovers to telling the public how they can give their meals "mangovers."
"What Not to Wear" — featuring Kelly's clash with Megumi — airs Friday at 10 p.m. on TLC.