Q&A: "All Stars" Season 3 Winner Seth Aaron Henderson
Congratulations! Big victory for you. Second big victory, really. How does it feel?
I went there to win twice. The thing is, people always ask, "What are you gonna do with all your prizes?" Money comes and goes, deals come and go, but titles are forever. [Laughs] That was my number one goal: to win twice. I'm a huge competitor. That's what meant the most to me, to have two titles. Secondly, it's about business now. It's not about having the public know who I am; they already know that. It’s about building the business. So that's my main agenda: take me to the next level. Which QVC has helped me do.
This season had three winners return to compete, and that wasn't the case with previous editions of "All Stars." Did that change your outlook or strategy going into the competition?
When we [first arrive for filming], we don't know who's going to be there. I didn't know till the day of that Jeffrey and Irina were there.
Did you have an inkling, though?
No, because the producers are really good. They say, "We're going to up the game for 'All Stars.' We're going to bring you back and not tell anybody you’re coming." And so I had no clue until I walked out and saw them and I thought, "Oh, crap." But "All Stars" is different. I get asked if Jeffrey or Irina or I had an advantage but the entire cast is phenomenal and capable of winning. It's not like a regular season where you can eliminate three quarters of the cast in the first episode because they don't have what it takes. This cast, everybody has what it takes. So the game was upped. I had no advantage.
I would argue that you three were in many ways at a disadvantage, and that maybe you got a little more scrutiny because you'd all come out on top before. Did you feel that way?
They're expecting a lot. And the crazy thing about "All Stars" is that you have half the time to produce [your looks]. Half the time, better work. Well, that's hard! I think we averaged 11 hours worktime each day. That was definitely to our disadvantage. You know, I went in saying, "I'm gonna do what I do best and make it to the end." My final collection was conceptually in my head before I left to film. And there was never any doubt that I would make it to the end.
You didn’t win a challenge until quite late in the season. Was there really no concern that you wouldn't make it to the end?
No. I wasn't worried. I mean, I'm being honest! It never crossed my mind. 70 percent of this show is mental. It's a mindset. We can all sew, we can all designthat’s one thing. But it's a mental game. It’s "I'm gonna come out in the first episode and show them who I am, and then I'm gonna pull back. I’m gonna make it to the end and at the end I'm gonna show them something they can’t deny." And that’s what I did.
There didn’t seem to be a lot of cattiness in the workroom. Was the vibe as good in person as it seemed on screen?
Yeah, we all got along great. There was no bickering or cattiness or fighting. We all had a mutual respect for each other. We helped each other. We all laughed about our interviews because we knew we said stuff, but it wasn'tI mean, Jeffrey was my roommate. He came back from an interview and was like, "I told them you had a hooker in here," and he and I were just cracking up about that. I was talking to Korto while we were watching the show one week and she's just laughing as I said a bunch of jacked-up stuff [in an interview]. But we all knew we did and we were okay with it.
I'd imagine you all knew going in that being a little inflammatory during talking-heads is how this whole thing works. There's a lot more to it than just creating and designing clothes.
Yeah, there's a ton more to it. It was easier in that element, because we know what it's about. It's harder because you're competing against equal designers and friends. You don't want to see your friends do poorly. You also want to win. I didn't want to see Viktor or Christopher go home, but it's either them or me, so it has to be.
Were you surprised or disappointed by anyone’s work?
No, because I know all their work. I've cast several of them for the regular seasonI cast Ari, Viktor, a couple others. The only person I hadn't met was Mychael Knight. Out of all the events, everything, he was the only one I hadn't met or worked with. And he's just fantastic. He's just great. We talk on a regular basis. But we're all established professionals. We're not a bunch of kids out there trying to create chaos. We already got our natural chaos.
Looking back at the season, what look or looks were you most happy with?
Well, the final collection was my absolute favorite. I loved the Milly look. You know why I loved the Milly look? It’s because it was like my final. I didn't try to design for anyone but me. I know the label; when they said that's who we’d be designing for, I was like, "Fantastic! I got this." I know what Milly's about and it felt like I was designing for my own collection. The first challenge, I loved that. I was designing with emotion. I’m inspired by music, not by objects. When they say, "Oh, here’s a watermelon, here's your inspiration," I don’t really care about that, but when they say, "Here’s a song," now I can build a whole thing in my head, my own interpretation of that world.
In an alternate universe where you didn't compete this season but everyone else did, who would you have liked to see in the final three?
I think…Viktor. You know, Irina, that really kind of threw me because I love her work and during her season she was my favorite. There were so many of them that I thought…well, all of them! [Laughs] I think outside of myself, Korto and Elena deserved to be there and did really well, but if none of the three of us were there it would've been great to see Viktor, Irina, and Christopher.
What was it like to come back to a show format you were familiar with, but with new judges and a new mentor?
The new judges were fantastic. Georgina is just great. Isaac has got his own flavor, you know? And then Alyssa was just a fantastic host. The thing with her is that she's seen every episode of every season, she's a huge fan of the show, and now she's the host, so with her it's very genuine. I thought she was fantastic. And then Zanna, I work with her, I cast with her. I've known her for three years. She was actually on the casting panel when I got on Season 7. She's known my work for years now, so she really, really pushed me, like: "I know you. I know your work. What is this? What are you doing?" This is a new role for her, it’s like a new job, you got to get comfortable and find your rhythm and I think she did. I respected that she was new there and she was doing her best. She's a very kind person. I know a lot of comments were made like, "She doesn’t know what she’s talking about," and I’m like, "What? No!" She’s very sweet and she absolutely knows what she's talking about.
So what’s on your plate coming up?
My line is up on the QVC website right now! [Check it out here.] I’m on-air Monday, 7 pm. I have a collection designed for them that's modern, easy-to-wear, made for everybody, but it has my sensibility. High-end fabrics, but they're forgiving. You can be comfortable but still look stylish.
Awesome. Anything else I should add?
This show is slightly different from the first, but it's so well done. They've given us the opportunity to expand. I’d like to say thank you to "All Stars." They really supported us and still do, and that’s the cool part.