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Exclusive Q&A With the WINNER of Season 10!
Now that "Project Runway" Season 10 has a fashion champion, we couldn't wait to talk to the newly crowned winning designer, Dmitry Sholokhov, all about the anniversary season and what we can expect from him next! We also pooled questions from our loyal Twitter followersread on to see if your question made the cut!
Q: Congratulations! How do you feel? Has the shock worn off since Fashion Week?
A: It's like a second wave of excitement, because I won a couple of weeks ago and it was behind me, but last night, watching it on TV all over again, it was great, and I had so many friends over and all the emotions came back. Now I actually can talk about it!
Q: Which challenge proved the hardest for you this season, and why?
A: The hardest was the kids challenge, because it was so new for everyone, and by that time we were so exhausted and so emotionally, creatively and physically drained. Plus, it was a very challenging challenge because you can't really control the kid, and the mother is so opinionated, and plus we had, like, 20 babies to take care of. I just felt overwhelmed. This was the only challenge where I felt like “I'm going to lose it.”
Q: You seem to have had your emotions together throughout the season.
A: I was definitely freaking out inside, but I am more of an introvert, so I keep everything inside and I try to be collected and professional.
Q: With the exception of the baby challenge, you designed for women this season. What’s the hardest part of figuring out what women want or will look best in?
A: I always think what would look great on [my model] and what would be editorial, but commercial at the same time, so that it appeals to a wide audience. I usually design for an ageless woman, so my pieces can be worn by very young girls or more mature women.
Q: How do you think your life will change the most as the winner of Season 10?
A: It's already changing, and definitely with the exposure and recognition, I get recognized a lot everywhere I go. For me as a designer it's very important, because I've been designing for quite some time, and I've done a few collections before, but it was always for someone else and I would never get anything back from it.
Q: Which designers will you continue a relationship with from this season?
A: I'm keeping in touch with Fabio, and Chris, and Melissa, but it's very hard because we all have different lives. Hopefully we'll keep in touch, but you never know, because you never know where life is going to take us.
Q: Twitter question from @sscalise88: What will you miss most from your time on #ProjectRunway?
A: The whole experience. It was very, very tough, but at the same time it was so unique. The people around you, the producers, the whole team—they were so nice to us, and it was a unique experience that we were like a bunch of kids where we couldn't go anywhere on our own, we couldn't do the simple things that we usually do in our life, and everything was provided for us.
Q: Would you do it again?
Q: Twitter question from @sscalise88: What was the most inspiring thing that happened 2 U during your time on #ProjectRunway?
A: I never really had the time or opportunity to reflect on my life or to go back and see my story. With "Project Runway" I had so many interviews, and watching myself on TV and really reflecting on my life, I feel I have quite a story, and it's very inspiring and a great example for aspiring artists and designers who have dreams, because I came from nothing. I came to this country with a big ambition and a couple hundred dollars in my pocket. I think it's a great message: If you really, really want to do something with your life and if you have a dream and you work hard, it's going to happen.
Q: Twitter question from @seagypsyevents: Could you be friends with Elena in RL? LOL Seriously though; which ballroom dance couple would you love to design for?
A: Elena—no way, just because she's very negative and she's very unstable. You never know what to expect or when she's going to stab your back. I don't like those kind of people.
I don't even know who the dancers are at this point [...] I've been out of [ballroom dancing] for over 15 years. But I have a best friend, his name is Genya Bartashevich, we used to dance together at the same dance school in Belarus, and now he represents the United States. He has quite a story as well, so I would definitely design for him and his partner if I had the chance.
Q: Twitter question from @RicardoCanales: When can we expect to see your first collection?
A: Hopefully by next fall, but there's a lot I have to figure out. I need to find a business partner, I need to find a lot of great people to work with, so we'll see. I definitely need to attract more investors, so hopefully everything will work out and I'll come up with a collection by next fall.
Q: Twitter question from @LoveHisMusic: Is there a "story" behind all of those bracelets you wear? Just how many are there, and which is your favorite?
A: I started wearing them a few years ago. I'm very much into energy, and most of those bracelets have semi-precious stones, and they have all kinds of energies and powers, and I'm a big believer in it. Whenever I travel, I buy myself a bracelet from the country or region I go to. Plus, my friends know that I wear them, and special occasion or not, I give bracelets as presents, so they all kind of have meaning. I'm not sure how many of them I have, quite a few, maybe around 40 or 50. I mix and match them all the time. On a regular basis I don't wear a lot of them—maybe three—but on a special occasion I can wear up to 20.
Q: What is your biggest piece of advice to future contestants of "Project Runway"?
A: It's very, very important to stay true to yourself. It's important to listen to the criticism and take something out of it. But it's very important to listen to yourself and to go with your sixth sense. No matter what everybody says, you just have to go with your gut and be yourself.
Q: How has this experience changed you?
A: I don't think it changed me at all. I just had time to reflect and look at myself and my work and just think about it. I'm proud of myself, that's about it, but it didn't really change me. I am who I am, and I don't think I would ever change.
Q: Who is your favorite judge, and why?
A: It's hard to say who is my favorite, they're all so different. Heidi—she's more than a judge, she's a muse. She's so funny and quirky and whimsical, and very approachable. Michael—I love Michael because he always gives those sharp comments. Nina—I think Nina is the most serious one. She's always on top of her game, and she's always very constructive with her criticism. I would always listen to Nina very, very carefully, because I think she's the one to listen to. They all have different opinions, but Nina, with her experience, she's an editor and she knows it all, so it's important.
Q: Thoughts on Tim Gunn?
A: Tim Gunn, omigosh, he was like everyone's uncle. He's exactly as he is on TV, he's exactly like this in real life: very proper, very collected. Again, he's like your uncle—it's like any problem you have, any questions you have, you can always ask him. You never get intimidated by Tim. He's very approachable, and a very warm and genuine person.
Q: What final thoughts do you want to leave your fans with?
A: First of all, I just want to thank everyone for such support and so much love and the fan mail I get, it's amazing. And I just want to send this message out that if you really have a dream, no matter how wild it is and how unbelievable—any dream you have—if you really want it and you really work hard and don't lose your focus, it's going to happen, so just go after it.