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Age 31, Nashville, TN - Out Episode 8
QDescribe your family. AI'm the youngest of five children, all extremely talented (there's a doctor, a comedienne, a quilter, a musician and me). My parents have been married 45 years. We are a type A bunch, highly ambitious and educated.
QCurrent occupation? AI make my living now as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer. I work on everything from music videos to commercials to photo shoots. This month I've dressed musicians for red carpet, shot a hot-sauce ad and worked on a hospital training video.
QPast jobs? AMy first job was making pizza. I've always worked retail as well- Hot Topic, the Limited, American Apparel, then smaller boutiques. In college I worked as a makeup artist and janitor (ying and yang!). In LA I worked as a sales and marketing coordinator for a shoe company.
QPets? AWe had a cat named K.C. (stands for Kitty Cat) that appeared at our door one day and never left. We are all allergic. But she seriously wouldn't leave.
QNicknames? APanda! Because it rhymes. My nieces and nephews (I have 13) know me as Aunty Pandy.
QFirst garment you ever made? AMy mother always gave me her old drapes and scraps of fabric, so I was throwing together costumes at a VERY young age. I finally started making basic skirts and dresses from patterns at around 10.
QWhat's your design training/schooling, etc.? AI took sewing lessons in junior high and high school and then went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Clothing and Textile Design from the University of Nebraska.
QHave you won any awards for your designs/work related to design? AThis fall I was featured in "Nashville Scene" (our city's weekly mag) as "Best Fashion Designer" in town.
QStrengths as a designer? AI am a 31-year-old woman, and I am very conscious of how a woman wants to look and feel in a garment. I'm always hyper-aware of proportion and line and fit.
QWeaknesses as a designer? AI have a short attention span. By the time I'm halfway through a thought I've already moved on to the next idea. It's also why fashion is so attractive to me. You have to keep jumping to the next trend or collection!
QWhat are your influences? AEvery season I draw from international cultures, costume history, and music. I love combining seemingly disparate ideas. My Fall 2012 collection was titled "French Medieval Fly Girl". Combining those two ideas (medieval and '90s hip-hop) was so much easier and more fluid than one would think! I like having serious influences and injecting some humor into the whole process.
QWhat's playing on your iPod when you're designing? AA Tribe Called Quest, Frank Zappa, Deee-Lite
QFavorite material or fabric to work with? AI love jersey knit, rayon blends and leather.
QItem you're most proud of designing? AMy wedding dress! It was comfortable and elegant.
QFavorite designer(s)? AIsabel Marant, Yves Saint Laurent (especially in the '60s and '70s), Balmain (Christophe Decarnin's time there), Alexander Wang, Gareth Pugh, Holly Fulton, Vena Cava, Balenciaga (Nicolas Ghesquière)
QSketch or drape? ABOTH! Both way too important.
QPatterns or solids? APattern on pattern!
QFavorite colors? AI love the primaries with a secondary thrown in: red, blue, yellow, green and maybe some black to ground it all.
QBiggest fear as a designer? ALosing my individual voice.
QFashion must? AA unique point of view.
QFashion faux pas that drives you crazy? ATalking about fashion faux pas. Anything goes!
QUgliest item of clothing/accessory you've worn? AUniforms of any kind. Goes against everything I believe in!
QFavorite style icon? A1994 Cindy Crawford - "MTV's "House of Style" era.
QWhat would you design for the first lady? AA simple sheath dress with some interesting detail - patchwork in futuristic fabric, for example.
QCelebrity you wish you could design for? AGrimes: a giant fringed coat. Rihanna: a slinky red-carpet dress. Santigold: patterned pants and structured jacket.
QFavorite supermodel muse? ANEWER girls I love: Raquel Zimmermann, Cara Delavigne and Anja Rubik.
QIf you had to name your label, you'd call it... AValentine Valentine! Named after my ancestor who came to America from Copenhagen, Denmark.
QIf you weren't designing, you'd be... AIn a band playing bass (been playing since I was 13).
QPlaces/cultures you wish you could design for? AI would love to design textiles in West Africa or learn embroidery in Morocco.
QDream place to set up your business? AOn a beach.
QWebsites that feature your work? Aamandavalentine.com, avalentine.etsy.com, willmorganholland.com
QHow were you described as a kid? AI was serious and always working on a "project."
QHow are you described by your family and friends? AMy husband says "hardworking and creative." I think most people would say I am kind, constantly working and often in my own world!
QWhy do you think you're easy to live with? AI am clean and quiet, so that's got to be nice! I am definitely a loner, and I've had roommates complain about that in the past!
QFavorite hangout? AThe Stone Fox, a new bar/venue in Nashville.
QHobbies? ARunning, yoga, thrifting.
QFavorite movies and TV shows? AThe British version of "The Office," "Nashville" (duh), "Goodfellas," "Better Off Dead."
QFavorite books/authors? AMalcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point," "Blink," "Outliers").
QFavorite websites? AStyle.com, and I'm pretty hooked on Pinterest.com right now.
QYour Twitter handle? A@avvalentine
QFavorite Twitter accounts? AI'm losing interest in Twitter - it's all Instagram now!!
QFast food or gourmet? AGourmet. Fast food NEVER!!!
QCooking or takeout? ATakeout.
QFavorite foods? AIndian, Thai, sushi. Oh, and fried chicken.
QBeer or wine? ABoth!
QGuiltiest pleasure? AThe Real Housewives shows.
QBiggest pet peeve? APeople who don't listen.
QHow did you end up auditioning for PR? AI had auditioned twice a few years ago and got far. I took a year off auditioning to get married and go on a honeymoon. I was going to skip auditioning again until my husband insisted I give it a go! He had a "really good feeling about it."
QFavorite past PR designer? AJeffrey Sebelia, Gretchen Jones.
QChallenge you wish they'd bring back? AThe unconventional Party Store Challenge!
QChallenge you hope they don't? AMenswear of ANY KIND.
QYour take on team challenges: AI am SO accustomed to working alone, I'm almost not SURE how I feel about team challenges. My instinct is to say HATE them, but maybe I just haven't given them a shot! I know that someone in a team usually ends up compromising their ideas/vision to make peace or have things run smoothly, and it;s almost always ME. The remnants of growing up in a crowded household!
QWhat do you look for in a model? AI love tall, tall girls. Other than that- I love a unique look. Something different. I'm not just looking for a blank canvas.
QDo you think you can win "Project Runway"? AYES! I design professionally. I've been designing for years. I also have a unique point of view that is forward-thinking and wearable at the same time. And doggoneit, I WANT it!