It isn’t often that you get behind the scenes of a reality show while the competition rages on and actually talk to one of the active players, but we managed to wrangle a few minutes with Selden’s own Jillian Lewis, who rocked the runway on Episode 4 of Project Runway winning the challenge hands down.
Newsday fashion writer Anne Bratskeir gets the answers to questions we’ve all been, um, sew dying to know.
AB: How great do you feel about winning this challenge?
JL: Well, because it was a group challenge, and I was the leader, it was an especially huge moment for me, probably the best moment of my life.
AB: What’s been your toughest challenge to date?
JL: By far the menswear. It was really tough and I would not want to relive it. There was a lot of pressure. And you’re so clouded by the pressure and exhaustion that I couldn’t see that I had done a good job. I felt that it prepared me for the challenge I won. I felt it got me ready, If I could do that, I could do anything and that made me feel a lot better.
AB: Who’s your BFF on the show?
JL: It’s kind of evident by now. Rami and I worked together twice, and because of the fact that my boyfriend is from the same region (Her boyfriend, Lewaa Abdulkhalek, is from Lebanon; Rami is from Jerusalem), I’m comfortable with him. Rami is a down-to-earth, nice real person. I like spending my time with people who are real. Even when we disagree, we agree to disagree, and that’s the beauty of nice friendship.
AB: In the same vein, which contestant is the most annoying?
JL: Well, I try to avoid bad-mouthing anyone; I don’t necessarily want to go there. I think that people who are annoying have redeeming qualities; Christian has a bit of that side to him. He likes to be the bitchy one. When he gets a little older he might regret that.
AB: Is there a point on the show that you forget about the cameras?
JL: I think by the fourth episode I can safely say I was feeling a little more comfortable. The first three I was conscious of them. Even in the fourth episode, when Rami and I were feeling the tension we were prone to whispering because of the cameras. We didn’t want to make a big scene about what makes a good leader.
AB: Anything else?
JL: Yes. I noticed that my Long Island accent comes out on the TV more than I thought that I had one. I say ‘awl’ instead of all.
AB: Who are your roomies on the show?
JL: Carmen. Since she’s gone I have my own room.
AB: Be honest, who’s the scariest judge?
JL: I guess I would say, Nina, she’s a strong, intimidating female. I’m always intimidated around her, though Michael is pretty intimidating too, but I’m leaning more towards Nina.
AB: Is Tim Gunn really the sweet, gentle mentor he seems to be?
JL: He is completely what you see, I found myself thinking that he must think he’s conducting a class in a classroom, He’s so natural and genuine.
AB: Is Heidi all that gorgeous?
JL: Absolutely. She looks fake because she’s so pretty, you do not believe she’s a real person.
AB: We love your coif. Are you naturally curly or do you have to er, make it work?
JL: My hair is so curly that I actually have to use a curling iron to relax the curls. Jay McCarroll [Project Runway winner first season] calls me Captain Crunch because of my curls.
AB: Your bod is as good as some of the models. What did you have for breakfast today?
JL: I eat whatever I want, I never consider calories. Today I had cookies and coffee. I need something sweet when I wake up. My sister said when I went to the show, everybody is going to hate you because you’re so skinny. My family always makes fun of me for it.
AB: What’s the one article of clothing you can’t live without?
JL: To me, it’s really important, to look a little different every day, so there’s not one article of clothing I depend on. I like to at least feel like I haven’t worn the same thing for two weeks. There is a fleece cardigan I wear with a big shawl collar a lot because I get cold a lot. Also I rely on jeans. I know those are typical obvious answers but everyday I try to switch it up.
AB: What do you think of Hillary Clinton’s style?
JL: I think Condoleezza Rice is a notch above. Hillary can use some work but she’s not bad for her age. In the political world Condoleezza is better dressed. But these are my fashion views, not necessarily my political views.