If Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir weren’t already household names for their Olympic medal-winning prowess on the ice, then their witty banter and eye-catching over-the-top fashions in their new roles as TV commentators would do it.
Over the years, the ice skating duo have become inseparable besties, regularly walking arm in arm down the red carpet, often while wearing coordinated ensembles. Now the pair are bringing their love of everything feathered and sequined to South America, joining the athletes in Rio as Olympic cultural correspondents, and speaking to People exclusively about their friendship, their secret to commentary perfection, and, of course, the importance of shopping.
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir’s friendship was born out of a mutual love of fashion, naturally. The pair bonded over their owernship of Céline handbags at the 2010 Sochi Olympics, and by the end of their conversation, says Lipinski, “We knew that we should be commentating together.”
And according to Johnny their type of love is extremely rare in the sport: “Figure skating is very cutthroat, [with a lot of] behind the scene wheeling and dealings, so it’s hard to trust people,” he says. “For Tara and I both, we had to smell each other for a little while and then we fell into this very, very beautiful friendship.”
Their friendship is so beautiful, Johnny says, “we need to be close together so we can study and Instagram and gossip,” so they always reauest adjoining hotel rooms. They also have their own set of rituals, he explains: “I always have to walk to Tara’s left. We walk to our jobs arm in arm and I always have to be on the left. It’s really weird. If I end up on the wrong side, if there are people in the way, I have to move to be on the proper side. It’s a lucky thing.”
And, Johnny says, the pair are just as close on camera as they are off, standing “very, very, awkwardly close together” during interviews, “so I can hold her and tap when I want her to talk versus when I want to talk, that’s just how we’ve always done it. We were at the Super Bowl and people were photographing us from behind because I was grabbing her butt. How funny would it be if I came out as straight? This whole time!”
RELATED: VIDEO: Tara Lipinski: Me Speaking Russian in Sochi Is ‘Probably Going to be a Disaster’
While they’re ostensibly in Rio for the sports, they’re also most definitely there for the shopping. “We picked up some beautiful clothes from local Rio
designers,” Johnny says. “It’s about exploration. We hadn’t been to South America before this and we’re looking
forward to see what the city has to offer.”
In terms of prep for their Olympic cultural correspondent moment, Johnny says, “I have four wardrobe racks set up in my dressing room at my house. Tara has been running around like a crazy person getting things together.” And what types of over-the-top looks can we expect from Weir? “I’m a big fan of spring/summer white,” he says, “I’m working with several designers like Adrienne Landeau. There are some feathers coming at you from my end. Crazy shoes and glitter for sure and jewelry. It’s going to be a feast for the eyes.”
C Michael Stewart/imageSPACE
As for Tara, she says, “I’m bringing 15 suitcases this time. We have been planning for months. I’m working with quite a few designers, I’ve pulled amazing pieces — [like] Eugenia Kim for fun hats.” They’re a crucial accessory given the heat in Rio right now; as Johnny says, “we are terrified of the sun. We are so white and we work indoors. I go big with my hair which creates a natural shield. I bought all of my weaves yesterday. Tara loves a sun hat and sun dress.”
Long story short: “We are going to kill it. Rio, get ready for Johnny and Tara!”
Which of Johnny and Tara’s looks is your favorite? Sound off below!
–Emily Kirkpatrick, reporting by Rose Minutaglio