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The Project Runway All Stars Blog

Kenley Collins Exit Interview

By LisaRaphael Wed., Mar. 14, 2012 ,6:27 pm EDT

Kenley Collins Project Runway All Stars Ugh, don't you hate when a precocious kid or adorable animal steals your thunder during an exit interview with a "Project Runway All Stars" designer at a swanky shindig in a SoHo boutique? I stopped to chat with Kenley Collins at the Nanette Lepore "Project Runway All Stars" live screening party last Thursday, while she was being admired by an 8-year-old uberfan. Find out who Kenley really designs for and what was going through the designer's mind when getting teased by the boyz on the show and — bonus: meet the winner of "Project Runway" Season 23!

Lisa Raphael: On the show and in an interview for this blog, Isaac Mizrahi said that you design for the "real woman." Do you agree; who do you design with in mind?
Kenley:
I think I design for... what’s your name? [Kenley turns to young fan standing next to her] I design for her [young girl], she is my market. Girls like her who are fun and young and cool. That’s who I’m designing for. This one right here. She loves my dress! This is my girl!

Do you agree with Nanette Lepore and the judges that you got too caught up with the peacock print and lost the keyhole from the original sketch?
I love the peacock print, don’t you? [Kenley turns to young girl, who shouts "Yes!"] What would you rather see: the peacock print or the keyhole? ["Peacock!"] Me too. Me too. You have good taste!

What was your favorite look from the season?
My favorite look was the light-up jacket. [To young girl] Did you like when I lit up the room with the lightning jacket? Yeah, we’re going to go with that.

Did you have Nicki Minaj in mind when you were designing that?
I didn’t have Nicki Minaj in mind, I had music video in mind, which is Nicki right now. But when I put the wig on her, I told them Nicki.

How was your experience been different this time around?
It was really fun. I went into it thinking I wanted to have a good time and that’s what I did. I had fun.

It seemed like fun, but then there was also a lot of teasing going on to the point where the boys were always picking on you in the workroom. How did you deal with that!
It actually was funny, they were really funny. They were pointing out my personality and who I am and I thought it was funny, so I laughed. And they kind of meant it as being funny.

[Little girl interrupts and asks: "Were you sad when you didn't make it?"]That's a good question! Maybe I've found my next intern tonight!
I worked so hard and I was so upset. But you know what, you go home and you move on.

Do you have a lot of young designers, like this one, that look up to you?
They want my advice on being a designer; the advice for you [Turns to little girl] is love what you do. And have fun, because if you don’t love what you do, it’s really easy to fall out of it.

Georgina was a guest judge on your season of "Project Runway" and she did not like your look, were you nervous to see her as a permanent judge on "All Stars"?
Yes she was, and it was a horrible gown I did — I was tired. It was a bad gown.

Which look would you have chosen for the win for the Nanette Lepore challenge?
I really like Austin’s coat. It was fabulous like Twiggy!

Watch Kenley's video exit interview and view her portfolio of work from this season and past collections here!

Photo: Mark Irlando