Season 2 Q&A: Anthony Ryan Chats About His Big Win
After a so-so finish on Season 9, Anthony Ryan quickly emerged as the designer to watch on Season 2 of "All Stars", winning challenges left and right and dominating the judges' attention. He came out on top in last night's season finale and we spoke with him about the big win, his final collection, unhelpful Joshua, and his plans for all that prize money. Check out the Q&A below!
Q: Congratulations on the win! It's gotta be nice to have that news out in the world, finally.
It's out there, you know? It's like that big secret that I've been hiding for the longest time and it just feels really good to share it with everyone. We filmed during the summer. It's crazy -- we've all just been sitting here waiting. It's out there and it's good, it's great. We’re done. It's really about moving forward.
Q: You didn't do terribly in your first season, but you placed seventh. How does it feel to come back and take it all in "All Stars"?
I was floored when they called me back. I was seventh, I was like, "Why?!" They had Viktor Luna and Bert Keeter to choose from, who were both above me. I was like, "Maybe I did something a little bit right that sat in their mind. 'Maybe we should bring him back.'" But to win was never a thought that crossed my mind. It was nothing I thought would happen. I came back really just to have a great time and to show the world a little bit more about me as a person and about me as a designer. So expectations were low. I just kept goin' and kept goin' and somewhere along the line something clicked with me from a design standpoint with what I was bringing, and I just kept doing it. You know, one thing that I think really helped me stay focused and not so nervous was not really thinking about the end goal and that prize, and what it would mean to win, and how it could change my life. My thing was, if I was to make it to that top three and not win, I'd be disappointed, and there was no reason for me to be disappointed or unappreciative about coming back and having this opportunity. It's a golden opportunity regardless of if you win or not, to just get yourself out there a little bit more. I really am just here now. [laughs] It's very surreal. I'm very excited for everyone to know.
Q: What were the highlights of the season for you? Do any challenges stick out as favorites?
I was very inspired by the couture challenge. I got stuck in the beginning of it. I really had this dark place that I was in at that point. I'm not really sure why. But I was surprised how I really turned something so negative and put it into something so dark. I've always been great, I find, with channeling that negative energy and trying to put something out with it, but I loved how it transferred over into my final collection and the story behind it. I also really enjoyed the veterans' challenge. I didn't do too hot but I really enjoyed working with them and being able to give them a little something for what they've given us. It was great to have a hot second to learn someone else's story. It's great to listen to other people's stories. So I really enjoyed that interaction. That was probably one of my favorites to do.
Q: Now that you've had some time away from your final collection, is there anything you'd change? I noticed you didn't include separates. Was that intentional?
Including separates was the goal. I was originally going to do two pairs of pants. I got down to it and one of the pants didn't look good on the girl –- she had a bit more of a pear shape –- and one of the girls was board-straight, and after getting them on and fitting them the pants just weren't working. It was that gut moment like I had with the couture challenge: "Just scrap the pants and go with something else." It wasn't necessarily, "I don't want to put pants in here." I was scared to death that I didn't put pants and that they were gonna call me out. They didn't say anything. I shot myself in the foot before they could; I basically said when I was introducing my collection, "I know I don’t have pants in here, but..." They didn't even notice! I wear pants 24/7. From a design standpoint I like to make pants. I like the way they can be portrayed. But something just wasn't working, so I didn't put them in. I didn't chance it.
Q: Joshua didn't take up your request to assist you with putting together your final collection. You seemed to take it well, but I was wondering if you had any residual bad feelings about that.
Actually, no. In fact, he's here! He came down for the finale viewing we had. This is how it went: Literally the couture challenge was the day before. Go to Paris, come back from Paris, sew a dress. Then [Joshua and Uli] had to do the one-hour challenge, which was really more like four hours after setup and all that great stuff. We all woke up at five o'clock that morning. He'd maybe had five hours of sleep. I didn’t have the chance to pull him aside and say, "Look, if they happen to bring y'all back, if we're all working on these collections like we've seen in previous seasons, would you want to help me? Or do you need to do you at this point?" We never got to have that. When I was looking at it, I could tell in his face. He was just not havin' it. You know what I mean? I could tell he was tired. What makes him a great friend is that he'd rather say no and be honest with me about it, and give me a fair shot – because if he said yes and his heart wasn't in it 100%, that would hurt me – than jeopardize what I was trying to do. I think that's where he was coming from with that. My feelings weren't hurt. I knew where he was coming from and it needed no explanation.
Q: Kayne seemed like a great backup, in terms of being totally on top of things and ready to help.
Kayne could sew anything. People were like, "Why'd you pick Kayne?" Because he's the best sewer out of all of us. You look at the androgynous challenge – those jackets he made were on-point. I knew as long as I reeled him in he would help me from a sewing aspect.
Q: By the way, congratulations on winning Fan Favorite! What are you planning to do with the money?
Your mama always says you need to invest your money, so I've decided to invest it in a new upcoming designer: Joshua McKinley. If you watch the show, all of those tanktops are Joshua McKinley. Every single one. So in a nutshell I'm gonna use that money to invest into his tank line. We actually just got done collaborating on a limited run that we did here in Baton Rouge, and it sold out, which was great. So that's what I'm gonna do. I really believe in what he does as a designer. We're gonna have fun with it.
Q: So what's your next move? Or your first move, I guess, now that you've been declared the winner and you're getting the big prize. What's first up on your schedule?
As Joshua McKinley would say, "I’m gonna take a nap first." I'm gonna do several fashion weeks here in the South. With the show airing in January it's hard to travel up to New York [in time for Fashion Week], but there's Birmingham Fashion Week; we've got a great one here called NOLA Fashion Week; I'm gonna do Palm Springs Fashion Week and El Paseo. And really just try to bring "me," as much as I can get it, wherever it may go. I want to stay here in the South for another year, year and a half. I have a really great support system here. I wanna continue to work from here. But at some point I'm gonna have to make that move. I just know that I'm going to enjoy building something here first and then moving out. I need a vacation. I need a good long breather. But I'm ready to go.