Bring us up to speed!
It's been such an amazing year since doing "Project Runway" Season 9! I have had the chance to travel around the country doing events and working with some amazing organizations, but the best part of that is getting the chance to interact with the fans of the show! It is so humbling to have been apart of an Emmy-nominated show that not only is reality based but first and foremost talent based! To fathom that I was able to share my design perspective with millions of people around the country and globe is still hard for me to grasp, but I have realized that through my work I have been able to inspire people to follow their true passion and stand up vocally for what they believe in, and that opportunity is priceless. For that I am forever grateful to Lifetime and Bunim-Murray for giving me a platform and the chance to touch peoples lives.
What garment from your season of "Runway" do fans compliment you on the most?
The garment that most people compliment is of course the LBD from the "Real Woman Challenge," I think it was a great opportunity and win for me based on the fact that as crazy and "out-of-the-box" I can be when it comes to design, this dress was a chance for people to see that I do have an "edit" button and that I am able to design within parameters of the normal ideal of sophistication and taste. With that said there is also a plethora of fans that love the "more-is-better" mantra and are attracted to the challenges where I just let loose design wise. Naturally the pet store challenge with the aquarium rock top was a huge hit as well as the couture challenge where I painted the Neoprene skirt to look like wood with the complementing flame top. Design can be such a subjective field, like most art forms, so its always interesting to see what type of design different people gravitate towards! In true form, I of course LOVED everything that I sent down the runway, so I can't be bias, I just love to design, create and inspire!
What do you think you are best remembered for from your season?
I think what people best remember me for on my season was my passion and determination, my sass and addiction to all things that "sparkle" and "shine" and my eyebrows! I think the always hilarious and on point divine duo of Tom & Lorenzo said it best when they coined me "Eyebrows McSequins!!!" In additions to obvious traits, the most infamous off the cuff, said with love and wit phrase that of course people can’t get enough of is, "IF YOU'RE TIRED, TAKE A NAP!!
Who has been your favorite client to design for?
I had the pleasure of designing one of a kind dress for Swarovski which were on display last holiday season in their 5th avenue Flagship store windows and in Chicago as well! It nice to know that all that "bedazzling" went to good use!
What celebrities would you love to dress?
Blake Lively is still my number one dream celebrity to dress! There is something about her that I find so attractive. It's her versatility as an actress, her beauty and her confidence that I find mesmerizing!
What are your strengths as a designer at this point in your ca'reer?
I think having a unique eye for color, textures and fabrics and the combinations that I put together, mixed with the "take a risk attitude is one of my greatest strengths as a designer. I always relate designing back to classical piano or dancing in the sense that once you learn the basics and know the foundation of where it all began, an artist is at liberty to take risks and play outside the box. I never like to look at life as though there are weaknesses, because I feel that has a negative connotation, however learning everyday is essential for growth of the human, in life or in the field we hope to thrive in, so that is what I try and accomplish daily, is to grow from knowledge. It's all about keeping your eyes, ears and heart open!
How has your design aesthetic changed since your time on the show, if at all?
I don't think an aesthetic changes overnight, so of course I still have an "editing" problem and I still LOVE to "bedazzle" any chance I get, but ultimately for me as a designer it’s about mastering what I do best. I continue to experiment with new cuts, think out of the box in terms of design, and explore the territory of marrying fabrics that might not otherwise be put together. Pride in the craftsmanship is of the utmost importance and something that I thrive to achieve in my designs and for my brand.
What are your favorite pieces/staple items in your closet?
Combat boots and a tailored blazer!
Which fashion rule do you think is begging to be broken?
It's 2012, I feel as though we have broken them all! If not let me know one and you know I will break it!
How do you choose what to pack for "All Stars"?
Seeing how I am someone that isn't scared to express myself through clothing, packing isn't really a difficult thing, the hard part comes in when there is only so much space in a suitcase! For me the staple piece in my wardrobe is a great blazer and my signature combat boots. I always tell people find an article of clothing, an accessory, even a pair of underwear, whatever it may be, but find that one piece that makes you YOU and rock it out! You would be surprised how clothing is actually connected to your self-esteem and confidence!
What "Project Runway" challenges do you think are the best and worst of all time?
I never like to look at the challenges as "best" and "worst." Instead I like to have the outlook that they are opportunities to explore an area of design that I might not have considered. I will say my "favorite" challenge of all time is the Unconventional Challenge, on any season! I think it's the one opportunity to not only surprise the viewers, but a chance to surprise and stun yourself as the designer with what you come up with!
Who is your favorite fellow "Project Runway" designer from any season?
Great question! It's been so magical for me to meet designers from so many of the seasons being a huge fan of the show even before being on, but I would have to say one of my favorites however would be the one and only Bert Keeter from my season! Behind all the bickering and drama we had on the season, he is such a genuine, funny, kind man, and I greatly respect his drive, determination and talent.
What goes through your head when you see yourself on television?
Normally I am freaking out if a hair will be out of place, if the bronzer or mascara is smudged or an eyebrow goes awry!!! In all honesty, I am just so humbled to have the opportunity to share my talent with the viewers. Its such a special opportunity to come back for a second shot and explore my craft further.
What is the one thing fans still would be surprised to find out about you?
I am NOT a fan of crystals or "bedazzling"...KIDDING...I'm not sure if there is anything that would be surprising, seeing how I was an entirely open book, with that said you can’t always judge a book by its cover! I owe that to the fans, because those that resonate with me are not easily shocked, they are confident and well spoken, and stand up for themselves and what they believe in.
What makes you "All Star" material?
My determination to never give up and inspire along my journey.