There are a lot of things that are inevitable when it comes to the holidays: festive music, bright lights, plenty of cookies and a lot of gift wrapping. Some people aren’t exactly fans of gift wrapping, but others really go all out for the holiday tradition and on Freeform’s new competition series, “Wrap Battle,” audiences will get to see some stellar showcases of the latter. But the new show is also meant to inspire those who maybe aren’t too keen on gift wrapping to come up with their own personal touch, which is also what judge Carson Kressley loves the most about it. Being a jack of all trades with all things design, it makes sense for Kressley to be on the panel and he truly fits the bill when it comes to loving everything about the holidays as well. Kressley sat down with Metro to chat about the show, his judging style and what audiences can expect to be inspired from on “Wrap Battle.”
Carson Kressley talks love of holidays, design and new competition series, “Wrap Battle”
What first interested you to be a judge on “Wrap Battle?”
Oh gosh, well I love to work and it was a job so I was immediately on board, but most importantly I love anything that has to do with style and design. I think whether you’re wrapping a gift or you’re dressing a person for an event or you’re creating a look for a runway, it’s really all the same. It’s about proportion, color, making it exciting and adding your own personal stamp to it. It was really in my wheelhouse, and I also happen to really love reality competition shows — but also I’m the person who puts their Christmas tree up the day after Halloween and I’ve always loved the holidays since I was a little kid. Just creating beautiful gift wrapping and decorating, I think it’s just one of those things that I’ve always really enjoyed.
What does each episode of “Wrap Battle” consist of?
Well, we have the most amazing gift wrappers from all over the United States and they really are so talented. Some of them run businesses where all they do is professional gift wrapping and some are more of interior design or stylists, so it’s a wide variety. Each episode there are two challenges and there really are a lot of opportunities for out-of-the-box and interesting gift wrapping techniques. They are wrapping the most outrageous things or sometimes they have to use unusual materials, so it’s a little bit like “Project Runway” in the sense that they’re not just making a dress but sometimes they are making it out of something really unique. It’s always something interesting and intriguing and you’ll think ‘Wow, who would have thought of that?’ It keeps the show quite fresh and fun. Some of the challenges are very big and over-the-top and will be very exciting, but some of the other ones will give people lots of ideas on how to create beautiful presentations themselves for the holidays, so that’s a really fun part as well. I love that people can really watch and be inspired and learn stuff — I learned so much just from watching the show, and I loved it.
What were you looking for when you were judging and was it ever difficult to choose a winner?
It’s always difficult because you get to fall in love with the contestants on the show, and I always want everybody to do really well. So that part is hard. But my job as a judge, whether that’s being a judge on “Wrap Battle” or “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or the Miss Universe pageant — whatever it is, our job as judges is to ask, ‘Did you meet the criteria of the challenge and did you do the best job?’ So in that way, it’s not that difficult. I think what I always look for is someone who’s executed all of the components of the challenge but did it in their own personal way so that it has their stamp on it and you know it’s their work. That goes for any kind of artist. That’s always the most successful endeavor, when you do a great job but it’s also very personal and everyone knows that it’s your work.
Can audiences expect any kind of twists or curveballs with “Wrap Battle?”
There’s definitely a lot of different switch-ups and there are some team challenges — just some challenges that I think contestants really had no idea were coming their way. Sometimes even us at judges saw what was happening and went, ‘Wow that’s incredible.’ There is always a twist in every episode that keeps our contestants on their toes.
How was it working with the other judges and host on “Wrap Battle?”
Sheryl Underwood is the host and one of our judges and then Wanda Wen has this wonderful and amazing gift wrapping business here in LA, and she is kind of the gift wrapper to the stars. Sheryl is so funny and getting to do a show with her was wonderful because we were all just so entertained on set every day, and Wanda just has so much knowledge in the art of Japanese gift-wrapping, gift wrapping in Europe and different presentations, so she was so inspirational. We also have incredible guest judges that come through as well.
What do you love the most about “Wrap Battle?”
I think ultimately it’s a holiday show, and since I love the holidays, that adds a little extra glitter and sparkle for me. But I think I love this type of show because I love the creativity. Using materials, and packaging and just the things you would never expect — I love to see how people create, I appreciate that kind of artistry. I don’t think a lot of shows on TV focus on creativity in this way and that’s what I found so entertaining and inspiring about “Wrap Battle.”
“Wrap Battle” premieres Nov. 25 on Freeform.