'This is the biggest opportunity of my life,' said fashion designer Rinat Brodach. 'This is the biggest opportunity of my life,' said fashion designer Rinat Brodach. 'This is the biggest opportunity of my life,' said fashion designer Rinat Brodach. (Photo: Courtesy Amazon)

See if an Israeli contestant wins $1 million on Heidi Klum's new reality show

Fashion designer Rinat Brodach calls filming 'Making the Cut' a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Rinat Brodach knew she wanted to be a fashion designer since she was a kid growing up in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva. "It kind of hit me when I was 12 years old," she said, adding that she officially made the leap when it was time to attend college. "Nothing could stop me at that moment. I'm moving to America and I'm pursuing my dream."

Little did she realize that her dream would lead her to where she is now: one of 12 designers vying for a $1 million prize on a new fashion competition show hosted by industry icons Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. One of the judges is supermodel Naomi Campbell. "Making the Cut" features contestants from around the world – from Oklahoma to Berlin to Malaysia. The inaugural season of the series debuts on Amazon Prime on Mar. 27, with the globe-trotting first episode taking the designers from New York to Paris to do a fashion show in front of the Eiffel Tower. (No pressure.) The streaming service will premiere two new episodes each week, culminating in an epic finale on April 24.

"This was a once-in-a-lifetime amazing experience," Brodach told From The Grapevine. She remembered the phone call in May of last year when she was informed that she would be on the show. "It was a very emotional day because I feel like I don't normally win a lot of things. And I always feel like I'm the person that has to work extra hard and go the extra mile to prove. So it was just a really good confirmation within myself that I was chosen out of thousands of designers."

The filming for the show took several months and spanned three continents. In contrast to other competition shows like "Survivor" where the contestants can turn on each other, "Making the Cut" offers viewers a more "we're all in this together" ethos. In the first episode, Brodach can be seen helping another contestant with a sewing emergency, and offering supportive hugs to others. "I think my philosophy in life is to treat others the same way you want to be treated," she said. "I like to help people and I like to give. If I'm done with what I need to do, why not help? I understand this is a competition, but it's in my nature to help and be there for other people."

The 12 designers listen to the rules of the competition on the debut episode of 'Making the Cut.' The 12 designers gathered in New York City to listen to the rules of the competition on the debut episode of 'Making the Cut.' (Photo: Courtesy Amazon)

Building her own brand

When she left Israel to move to America, Brodach landed in San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art University. After she graduated, she received a scholarship to a haute couture school for a year. She stuck around after that and worked with designers from both big and small fashion houses. "I really got my hands dirty," she said. "And I got to see what it takes to run your own business." Brodach took that newfound acumen and made her way to New York City, America's fashion capital.

She launched her own eponymous fashion line in 2014 featuring a minimalist chic, reflecting her own straightforward personality. She recently dressed Billy Porter for the Critics’ Choice Awards and her designs have also been worn by Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert. "I did my own thing, I learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes that were so beneficial for my growth in life."

Actor Billy Porter wearing two of Brodach's creations at separate red carpet events. Actor Billy Porter wearing two of Brodach's creations at separate red carpet events. (Photo: Rachel Luna and Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

A few years ago, Brodach transformed her women's wear line into a gender-free brand. "I think ever since, I've been more real and raw and authentic with my brand," she revealed. "I've been getting a lot of feedback from other people who have been responding to it so much better."

But don't call her line of clothes unisex. "I don't think that word unisex is always used in the right way. So many fashion companies that call themselves unisex, all they do is throw together a hoodie with a slogan on it," she said. "I feel that what I'm doing is beyond that. There's this whole movement of being fluid, and I'm a single straight woman, but I have my days where I want to dress more manly. Or today I want to be more feminine. And I don't feel like one should be in a box to wear women's clothes or men's clothes. I think it should be something that's for all."

Designer Rinat Brodach (center) poses with models wearing her clothing line at a 2016 fall fashion show in New York. Designer Rinat Brodach (center) poses with models wearing her clothing line at a 2016 fall fashion show in New York. (Photo: Monica Schipper / Getty Images)

The fact that Brodach had her own existing brand actually helped get her on the Amazon show. While many fashion reality series pluck young unknowns to be contestants, "Making the Cut" specifically went after seasoned designers and entrepreneurs who just needed a lucky break to bring them to the next level. The contestants range in age from 24 to 64.

Filming on the show ended a few months ago and the 35-year-old Brodach has been sworn to secrecy on who won the $1 million prize. Meanwhile, she has been spending time focusing on herself. She’s planning an upcoming trip to visit her many relatives in Israel, and her dating calendar is wide open. “At the moment, I’m single and ready to mingle,” she said with a laugh.

'Making the Cut' took Brodach and her fellow contestants to three continents. 'Making the Cut' took Brodach and her fellow contestants to three continents. (Photo: Courtesy Amazon)

She looks back at the experience of flying around the world for an Amazon fashion show with self-reflection. "I think we all have self doubt," she admitted. "I always knew I had the talent in me, but fashion is not an easy industry. Unless you have some crazy connections or have millions of dollars to really do what you want to do with your brand, it's really hard to to be noticed. I'm a fighter and I'll tear down a brick wall if I need to. So this was just a validating moment for me of who I am and what my capabilities in life are – so it was a really good moment."

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See if an Israeli contestant wins $1 million on Heidi Klum's new reality show
Fashion industry up-and-comer Rinat Brodach calls filming 'Making the Cut' a once-in-a-lifetime experience.