April's Exit Interview
Forget that other young "Project Runway" designer you know and love for just a minute, Season 8's April Johnston is the new kid on the block. At age 22 she clocked in as our youngest All Star, but everyone from Lady Gaga to a Tim Burton-costumed-cast, to me dancing alone in my room would be lucky to wear her darkly divine designs. After her exit post-Episode 4's super speedy gelato challenge, April spoke with me here at the "PRAS" Blog to dish some dirt on her time on "All Stars," her beef with Michael C. and her Season 8 BFF.
It was a really emotional goodbye for you too!
Yeah, I mean because it’s a lot to lose, you know? It’s a big opportunity and just to see it kind of flutter away oh, it’s hard.
You were only on "Project Runway" a couple years ago, what did you think the experience would be like this time around?
I pretty much have the same expectations for what it would be like. I just felt like it was going to be the same but also a little faster. The talent’s definitely more up to par, everybody there is obviously super-talented. [There is] more competition. I felt this time around, we were going to be a little more professional, a little less amateur. I felt like it was going to be faster.
So you expected there would be six hour challenges and crazy things like that?
Yeah, I was prepared for that... but obviously I wasn’t! You can expect things but what are you to do whenever it’s actually there in front of you? You do whatever you can.
A lot of the "PRAS" designers have talked about who from their season they expected to see. What did you think when you found out Michael and Mondo were back with you from Season 8?
I expected Michael to be there and obviously Mondo, because Mondo was the hopeful winner of our season. Michael, I expected he would be there because we had some differences beforehand.
Do you mean on your season or between seasons?
Yeah, on our season. I had said some things about how fast he works and we had disagreements. So seeing him wasn’t really a surprise, seeing Mondo wasn’t really a surprise. But me and Michael, since that episode, you know, we’re fine. He does what he does and I do what I do and that’s the name of the game.
You guys definitely had some conflicts this season, picking the same fabrics, same colors. Did you see that coming or were you prepared?
No not at all. Well, he creates a lot of drama and I always tell him that. I wrote on his Facebook wall, I’m like, "Your middle name is 'drama!'" He loves to just start things, no matter what. I’m sorry, I didn’t know that the color red had Michael Costello’s name on it, you know? That’s just bizarre to me. I’m using a color for once and you’re going to bash me on national television for it? I mean, come on, I thought we had gotten over that hump, I thought we had worked out our differences and then to see that play out on TV after I thought we were cool, it was a little bit disappointing and kind of hurtful because I actually thought he was fine. So watching his interviews sucks.
Did you reach out to him at all?
Yeah, I mean we discussed it. At noon he said, “Oh, you’re using red?” and I said “Yeah, why, are you using red?” like, what’s the big deal? And then he just rounded the corner and told the the Mood guy, “Just don’t cut that, somebody else is using effing red,” and that’s why I was, in the interview, like, “If you want to use red, use red!" This is not second grade and Johnny is using the purple crayon! It’s just stupid.
How do you deal with that? You don't like something you see on TV so then do you Facebook him and say like, "Hey, I want to get it off my chest, that bugs me, I hope we’re cool now"? What do you do in that situation?
Well, we discussed it after the challenge, we got that kind of cleared up after the fact, but just watching the show and watching all the interviews that I didn’t get to see, on his part, it’s a little bit shocking how over-dramatic he can be. Sometimes it seems a little bit fake to me. I’m not like that at all so obviously I’m going to call people out on that because I’m a very down-to-earth person and I say it like it is. That’s just how I am.
On the next episode, the designers have to find muses on the streets of NYC, ask them for their clothing and create new looks using them. What kind of people or what clothing items would you look for if you had to do that challenge?
I would probably go for people who were wearing jackets because they have a lot of material and there’s also lining on the inside. And then, also, probably skirts, longer skirts, because you’re looking for the most material. That’s basically what I would have used for my strategy.
Going back to Season 8 for a minute, you and Peach had such a nice mom-daughter-older-younger-sister-friend relationship do you guys keep in touch? I kind of had this vision of you guys spending Easter together.
Totally! Peach is coming to my wedding. She calls me probably two to three times a week. She’s always keeping track of me. She’s so sweet, she’s my number one fan.
Did you make any new, surprising friendships on "All Stars"?
Me and Mila, we got along really well. She was very down-to-earth, very much like me so I loved hanging out with her and she was also a great buddy to run on the treadmill in the morning with because we both run. I would say Mila was the one person I hung out with a lot and Gordana was really, really sweet, I love her too.
Do you think you’d ever want to do something like what Mila does working in film and TV?
Oh my gosh, yes! I would die to do some Tim Burton movies. That would be right up my alley, you know, that’s a huge dream of mine. The only problem is I’m on the east coast.
Would you relocate?
I think I would, if I had the right contacts and connections, I would definitely move out there. I’m one of those people who are like, "Should I not fear the unknown and just make that move or should I schedule things out, get things prepared and then make that move?"
What do you think is in the future for you and your designs after "All Stars"?
I hope to expand my clientele and maybe get some people on the red carpet dressed. Kind of just get my name out there more. Also, I have a fabric line at Jo-Ann Fabric Stores nationwide now so that’s really a big opportunity for me. People saw what I did on the print challenge on Season 8 so they thought that I was good at that so I kind of ran with that and started my own line. The fabrics are amazing and it’s something new for Jo-Ann’s, it’s a fresh take on fashion fabrics there because they’re trying to expand their clientele and I think what I bring in is very edgy aspects of textile design.
Who do you want to win "All Stars"?
I have said Mila, because I think that she has what it takes. She’s very professional, she’s very talented and has a very fashion-forward eye and I think that’s what "Project Runway" stands for.