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Jerell's Exit Interview
I know for yall it's cons, but for me, the only pro to seeing one of my favorite designers go home on "Project Runway All Stars," is that it means I get to call them up on the telephone and talk to them about life (Elisa), boys (Anthony), how hot they are (Rami) and clothes, duh (all, definitely Mila). So when Ange announced it was Jerell's time, I put some PJs on, popped some popcorn and got ready to gossip with the designer. Enjoy our sesh!
Lisa: What was your first thought when you heard Pharrell Williams was the guest judge?
Jerell: I really like Pharrell. I think he is extremely talented and I think he single-handedly changed the way people dress in the hip-hop community. He kind of ushered in this change to pastels and all these Easter colors which you know you’re hanging out on the wrong side of the track, it makes it a little more enjoyable, it makes it a little safer, when everyone’s dressed like Easter Sunday.
So true! Did you think you would do well with this challenge? Did you think your aesthetic would line up with Pharrell's?
I did think I would do well with this challenge, not that I’ve ever worked with lights or anything like that, but I’m pretty comfortable working outside of the box. I’ve kind of allowed myself the creative freedom to throw myself at anything. I think maybe for some other designers, they have these very strong ideas of who they are and what they do and this is what it is and I think for me, I’m a lot more flexible in my ability to just go with the flow and have fun.
And in your exit interview, you said that you thought you did the best in terms of working with the actual lights.
I really liked the way I incorporated the lights, more than most of the other outfits. I did think that Austin’s dress was gorgeous but it still looked like Christmas lights sitting on top of a dress and it was kind of the challenge to incorporate these lights. I just don’t feel that in most of the cases, lights were incorporated harmoniously. I think that my downfall was certainly that long-*ss black skirt but I never design things specifically for the blacklight and my intention was to control what the eye saw And also the sandals were super regrettable and I know better than strappy sandals and stockings but we all know that’s gross.. So, did it quite work? Not like I expected clearly but hey, it was what it was.
But I liked the movement of mine. I liked that you had these controlled points of light that didn’t have all these jumper cables and color-packs and all this sh*t everywhere.
I think it’s safe to say that throughout the competition, you’ve exuded a certain (high) level of confidence. Is that the true Jerell or are you panicking on the inside?
No, it really is my approach to life in general. First of all, I think there’s nothing wrong or right in fashion, it’s all a matter of opinion and taste and you just have to create the pieces that inspire you and you like. So that’s really what I do and there are going to be people who love it and there are going to be people who totally don’t love it and there’s not a single designer that’s alive today or ever was alive that everyone loved. If you’re a minimalist, maybe it’s Calvin Klein or maybe you like Prada and you don’t like Calvin Klein. It’s like a form of art, you get to paint what you want to paint, create what you want to create and the audience that appreciates it is going to gravitate toward it.
In a situation like “PRAS,” it’s almost like this amazing day camp experience, you don’t have to worry about what’s going on in real life, you’re there to create your art and that’s such a fun thing. And of course there’s the prize money and the cameras and “Oh, what are they going to think!?” I think maybe some of the other designers have a hard time just being in that moment where for me I’m like, “Nah, okay so we’re going to beg for people’s clothes off the streets and now I’m going to take this stinky shirt and I have to make something cute with it!” That’s where my head is. Not, “What are they going to think, how are they going to react?!”
There’s been a lot of debate about Heidi, Michael and Nina vs. Georgina, Isaac and Angela. Where do you stand in that argument and Joanna vs. Tim?
I really enjoyed this new batch of judges. I have a lot of respect for the original judges as well but it was great having a fresh set of eyes. I mean honestly, like from watching Season 9, the original batch is getting slightly over it. Like, “we’ve seen that, we’ve seen this,” whereas this batch I felt this excitement from them, like they were all excited and wanted to engage.
As far as Joanna vs. Tim: I love Tim, I have so much respect for Tim. I was shocked on my original season to see how genuine he really is. It wasn’t just for the cameras, he cared. He wanted to see you do the best work you could do, which I thought was amazing. However, there was this Tim Gunn curse. If he came around loving what you were doing, then you might want to change some sh*t up because normally what he liked and what the judges liked weren’t quite the same thing.
For Joanna, having her there, she brought a woman’s perspective, which was refreshing, and I think that she helped us look at the clothes in a [new] way. Especially being a gay male designer. For us, it is, like the fantasy of the overall thing, whereas she is also looking at it from a very practical standpoint. She has breasts, she wants a bra. I have to confess I’ve never had to wear a bra a day in my life.
Well, the girls are small they’re perky, but they’re small! So yeah. Also I think she dressed fantastic. I loved all her outfits and she was fun. I really have a lot of respect for her.
In Mila’s exit interview, she talked about the cliques that formed, but from watching, I don’t really know where you fall into them. You seem like you kind of floated with everyone and hung out with everyone. Did you have your own crew on “All Stars”?
I got along with most everyone. Honestly, I will make myself laugh in my studio by myself because that’s just what I am. But I really loved Anthony, he was like my roommate there, he was funny. Rami is cool, he was kind of crazy; he’s like no-nonsense at the beginning when he’s trying to figure out if he can pull it off so he doesn’t want to put up with you until he’s got it figured out. Me and Michael, we would do this thing where we would talk like these two old Jewish women who had it all and lost it and we would go on for hours and hours and hours talking about working at Radioshack and remember when we walked back from the Hamptons.
What about poor Kenley? She puts on such a good face but I feel like she was the punching bag in the workroom!
No! I have to say, she was so pleasant to be around. She was super cool, we got along really well. I have my little jabs and shit and she was just rolling with it and having fun. I’m proud of her because coming off of our original season, I don’t think she was aware of how she came across and I think going into this, she was mindful of what she would say and girl is still loud as f*** but she managed to find her filter and for her, that’s important.
What do you have planned now after All Stars?
Well, I just launched my lower price point line because during the original season, there was a disconnect. I just didn’t have any product that was available at a price point that was attainable. The line is called Catastrophe: Jerell Scott for Everyday Consumption and it’s available on jerell-scott.com. Most women aren’t size 2 or 4, 5’11” models. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and want to find things that express their personality that they are comfortable in. That was my objective, to create these pieces that definitely fit into that.
Also one of my big pet peeves is when you spend a lot of money on something and then you go to a party and someone has the same thing on makes me sick! So I’m doing very limited runs so you don’t really have to worry about spending $2000 on this dress or this top and the chances of you running into somebody else wearing the same thing are very slim. I hate when you think you are just the cutest thing and then it’s like, who wore it better, b*tch? Who invited you to the party?!
The question I originally ended these interviews with was the obvious, “who do you want to win?” but you all have been evading the question so instead we’ll do word association; I’ll name the last four designers and then you’re going to tell me the first thing that comes to mind... Mondo?
Michael: Ready-to-wear… has-been-worn.
Austin: Upper East Side cotillion!
Well, I know you’re working on your lines but I think we’d all like to see you back on TV. Maybe a little red carpet correspondence or something?
That is definitely something I am wide open to! I think the world needs a little more me!