As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
Tim Gunn is famous for his catchphrase — "Make it work!" — his snazzy outfits and his calm, can-do attitude. As a mentor to designers on Project Runway, his unflappable demeanor soothes many a stressed-out contestant.
But Gunn wasn't always so self-possessed.