Sweet P's done it all; "Project Runway," Lifetime's "Project Runway All-Star Challenge" and now, "Project Runway All Stars." When I called to chat, she was taking a break from working on a Wes Anderson commercial pretty, well, sweet! Read on to find out which of her "PR" experiences was her favorite, who she wants to win this season and what her new career path is.
Lisa: So you’ve done "Project Runway," "All Stars" and you were even on the "All-Star Challenge" that aired on Lifetime before Season 6. How were your experiences different and similar across the three different shows?
Well, I should try and put this in a nice way, right (laughs)? My first season was great but the "All-Star Challenge" was really cool because there were only eight of us? And we were only there for one week and we had the chance to win $100,000 so it was definitely where our odds were better. My experience was really good because I was Top 3 and received accolades from Diane Von Furstenberg. It was cool, she really understood me and that was great.
On this season, honestly it’s kind of sad for me. I never would’ve expected to go second! I feel like I was sacrificed too soon, I definitely feel like I’m a better designer than some of the people who stayed.
Well, I feel like April’s dress definitely should have sent her home and so does everybody that I’ve spoken to. It was a mess! And also, the challenge was a ball gown. I think if people Google what a ball gown is, they'd see that there was really only three or four ball gowns [made in last week's challenge]. The rest was evening-wear which was not really what we understood the challenge to be. Mila’s dress no offense, I really like her, but I do not think that was a dress you would wear to the opera at all. My experience with ["All Stars"], while it was fun, because I met a lot of people I really like and now have become very good friends with, I felt like I was cheated.
You were in the bottom the first episode and out the second, what do you think was off for you this time on "Runway"?
The judging can go however they want it to go and I don’t know if it’s that the judges don’t really know us or our stuff. On my first challenge they weren’t happy I used wash clothes because it’s fabric, but then Jerell used scarves, which are fabric (and much easier to work with). I feel like he’s more of a character, he talks sh*t about people. I don’t, so I’m not maybe as fascinating to watch on TV.
What is it like watching the episodes and hearing what Jerell said about you or your designs?
Oh, it’s so weird. I think he’s catty so I don’t really care. He’s not someone I would ever hang out with, to be honest with you. I don’t like his clothes. Last week, his dress was awful, we all thought he’d be in the bottom. We called it maternity poop. It made the model look so fat and it was brown. It was so ugly!
You're such a recognizable name and face of "Project Runway"! Do people often recognize you from the show(s)?
Oh my God, I’m working on this commercial and this lady came up to me yesterday on set actually and she’s like, “I know you from somewhere, what’s your name?” And I’m like, “Sweet P...” And she’s like, “Oh my God, you don’t understand!” And she hugs me really hard and says, “I totally love you, and you’re one of the best on there and you’re a nice person!”
A lot of times when people think they know me, especially on set, people come up and say, “Oh, what was that job we worked on together?” I know I’ve never worked with them! Usually, someone I’m with will say I was on "Project Runway." Most of the actors on this [commercial] were embarrassed because they’re like “Oh, I thought I knew you and worked with you,” and I’m like, “But, you kind of do know me.” That’s where it’s interesting, they kind of do know me and what’s nice is they like me, you know?
Do you have any regrets for doing "All Stars," are you happy that you did it?
I’m still happy I did it because I got really close with Kara, Kenley and Austin and that was really worth it. Gordana is a really, really nice person as well. So that’s part of it, you know, I always like to walk away from it and take the positives. To win, it would have been crazy for me because I did just change careers. I don’t really want to be in that business anymore and if I won that prize, I would have felt obligated to do a line again and honestly I’m not really interested in doing that anymore.
When did you last put out a fashion line?
I didn’t put out my own line, but I worked for two companies in 2010 where we designed for Forever 21 and other major retailers; Macy’s Nordstrom’s, Windsor. I did lines for them and I’m talking about cranking out three racks of clothing a month.
It’s interesting because on the show there’s only a few of us who have actually worked in the industry selling clothes. Kara sells her stuff, Gordana sells her own stuff, but she has her own store. I’m talking bigger, like selling through major retailers, and it seems like Kara and I are really the only designers with that experience on the show. It’s interesting because you see more "student-y" kind of stuff, very fresh. Things that are on the runway aren’t necessarily things that would really make it in this business. Selling one dress to Kim Kardashian is not necessarily the same as selling a dress to 20,000 girls. And that’s what I’m used to doing. I’ve worked in this business for 20 years and I’m so programmed into what really sells and what women buy.
You said that you quit doing fashion about a year ago. What are you doing now?
I was talking to my husband and I was like, “What am going to do where I can make the same money and I’m still be in the world of fashion?” I didn’t want to do wardrobe anymore because it’s really back-breaking work and my husband said, “What about makeup?” I was like “BOOM! Oh, that’ll be great!” I got out of school at the end of January 2011 and I started working in March. I did Roman Coppola’s next film, I’m working on a Wes Anderson commercial. I definitely feel like it’s a good career choice. I love bringing beauty to the face and I love being somewhere new all the time, being really close with people. I really get close with my actors, especially for a film because you spend a lot of time with them and they sort of feel like family.
Did you get your hands a little dirty in the L’Oreal room for the two challenges you were on "All Stars" for?
No, but I talked a lot to Scott and the other makeup artists a lot. It’s funny because some of the contestants would say they didn’t like their hair or makeup and I would always ask, “Were you specific with what you were talking about?” because I feel like they’re a great team, they know what they’re doing and if you’re specific, you get what you want.
On this week's episode, the designers are creating a look for Miss Piggy what would you have created for her?
I would probably do some kind of smashing red carpet look for sure! I’d do something playful but I don’t know her that well, to be honest with you! I never watched Sesame Street because it was after my time but that’s the only reason I’m not into her because I didn’t grow up with it.
So the million dollar question, who do you want to see win?
I would want someone I love to win, so I would love to see Kenley win. I would love to see Kara I feel like Kara and I have a really close aesthetic, I’d like to see her win but I feel like her stuff is too "sellable," so I don’t think she has a chance. Austin is somebody I would like to see win. And, I could see Mondo winning; I loved his line on his season. I’m surprised someone didn’t snap him up and do a collection, you know, like Mondo for Target or Mondo for Forever 21 because he’s very junior.