After getting caught in the crossfire between Elena Silvnyak and Dmitry Sholokhov in the team challenge, menswear designer Alicia Hardesty got the Project Runway cut. TheInsider.com caught up with Project Runway's first out, lesbian designer to talk about being an example to others, why it sucks to go home and who, between Elena and Dmitry, was really the most difficult to work with!
TheInsider.com: How does it feel to leave now?
Alicia Hardesty: It sucks. I think everybody comes into the competition thinking they’re going to win … and I did the same thing. I had big plans ‘till the end, so it sucks when it gets cut short, but it was a good run I feel like I showed a lot of variety in what I can do and I stayed true to myself and carried myself well. So overall I’m very happy with the experience and how it’s played out on TV.
TheInsider.com: You were the first out lesbian designer on the show. Why was it so important for you to be out and open from the get go on the show?
Alicia: Well it’s a huge part of my life, it was a big thing for me to go through, a big thing for me to overcome when I did come out. I’m at a place where I’m totally cool with me and I’m in a good place I feel like I might as well just share. I know it its not a easy place for a lot people to be in. People struggle with being out all the time and you can get flack from people, it’s taboo in some places I just think its nice to be a person who’s comfortable, confident and out. People see that and like it and you know they relate to that and something they can look up to as well.
TheInsider.com: Do you feel it was important to you to be an example to people?
Alicia: I’m from a small town in Kentucky and … but when people relate to you or people get to know you they like you for you and it opens up a lot of doors for people to just have a conversation instead of basing everything on stereo types. … I’m trying to just set a good example and be me at the same time.
TheInsider.com: What do you say was the hardest part of the competition?
Alicia: Well for me the hardest part was trying to maintain my perspective as a designer. I came into this competition wanting to show what I had to offer as far as different look. I like doing menswear; I have a menswear background mostly and I like womenswear. I don’t do super girly stuff; I don’t do any of the really feminine stuff. There’s a lot that you can do in womenswear … it’s not all about dresses all the time. I was really trying to get that point across but I think I ran into quite a few challenges where it made that difficult for me to find the balance between what they were looking for and the challenge -- and what I wanted to show. So I struggled a little bit with finding that balance.
TheInsider.com: Elena and Dmitry were fight the whole time, constantly accusing the other of being difficult and controlling. But for you who was the hardest to work with?
Alicia: For me, Elena is the hardest to work with. I always got along with Dmitry and I think when you have … all the negativity … it just makes it difficult all around even if you get along outside the workroom it’s just too difficult ‘cause the focus is on the wrong things and it not on being productive -- it’s on what is wrong and how it is not going to be right. … I think with Dimitry, it’s easier because even if he’s going to do the same dress he always does, he’s going to be easier to get along with in the process.
TheInsider.com: Dmitry, Ven Budhu and Chris Palu keep doing the same thing over and over again. What you think about that and why you think the judges aren’t really calling it out more?
Alicia: It still baffles me, [the girls] all talk about it. We’ll talk about it like, ‘Why does this keep happening?’ They do the same thing over and over again and they get A’s for it up there on the runway. …And we’re all like, ‘Can you give us a break?’ But it’s a common theme in our conversation throughout the season because we just don’t get it and it’s annoying and were over it and were all doing stuff that’s outside of our comfort zone and [the guys] keep popping out the same thing over and over again.
Meg: What is next for you? Are you designing in Kentucky?
Alicia: I actually live in LA. I’m based in Los Angeles but I grew up in Kentucky. I’ve been working on my line it’s called Original Tomboy. It represents the style that I was trying to represent on the show -- it’s like menswear for women basically. And this line in particular it draws a lot of inspiration from my Kentucky roots -- blue grass and moonshine and four wheelers.
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