Season 2 Q&A: Althea Talks Hair, Fabrics and Drama
A standout Season 6 contestant (she was the runner-up!), Althea Harper was an easy choice for this round of "All-Stars". But after six challenges without a win or a memorable look, this week's pink-and-lavender polka-dotted number prompted the judges to give her the boot. We spoke with Althea about how her hair influenced her decision to come back to the show, feeling out of place during the season, and the thought process behind her fabric selection. Check out the Q&A below!
Q: What made you want to return to "Project Runway"?
The first time I was on, I was straight out of college. I really didn't have a brand of anything yet. I was looking to go back on, because since then I've started my own line and done a lot with that; I've also think I've matured as a person and a designer. I wanted a chance to show that. I was so tired of seeing pictures of myself with the bleach-blonde hair! It was to kind of show where I am now and show off my established brand.
Q: How did you feel about your auf-ing?
To be honest, the whole time I was there I felt like I was trying to fit the round peg into the square hole. Obviously I hadn't been in the top before. I kind of knew at that point that my designs weren't fitting with what [the judges] were looking for. It wouldn't matter even if I'd stayed on one or two more episodes – they weren't responding to the designs I was doing. I was a little frustrated, but at that point I was like, "Okay, it's my time."
Q: Talk a little bit about your fabric selection.
I was the last to select a fabric, so that obviously played a factor. I thought the fact that it was double-sided was interesting. I didn’t come on the show to take the easy way. I wanted every pattern I did and everything I did to challenge myself. For me when you say the words "all-star" it means that whatever you did on your first season of "Runway," that's not gonna cut it here. You need to show growth. The challenges should be harder, should be more complex. I saw something in that fabric almost. I almost saw that I could do something that was a little Marc Jacobs-y. That's obviously not the same style that I did, but it was a challenge, and it was kind of a risk.
Q: What was the workroom like for you?
To be honest, I was really thrown off with this group of people. They were very different than the group on my original season. In this season I think you had a lot of people who were looking for fights and looking for conflict because they know that equals airtime. The overall feeling in the workroom was definitely not one that I enjoyed. That's not what I'm about – I was there to showcase designs. That was my goal and my reason for being there. So it was frustrating. There was a lot of back-talking, behind-the-back talking, a lot of snide comments. I don't remember this particular challenge, there being less or more, just because it seemed pretty constant to me.
Q: What's next for you?
I have my own line and I'm continuing to work on that. Every season we're adding more retail outlets and things like that, so that's going well. On top of that I'm also launching an athletic-wear line that should be hitting later in the spring. I was just Hawaii and we just shot the images and look book and fun stuff for that line, so I'm really excited about that. And of course just maintaining and continuing to grow my own line, ALTHEA HARPER.