Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jillian's still in it, and we keep interviewing her!

With only two more new episodes between now and Fashion Week at Bryant Park, Long Island’s own Jillian Lewis is still one of the favorites to make the final cut. That last episode was a tense affair for the young designer, but Thursday afternoon, she was happy and calm as could be when she when she took a moment to catch up with Newsday style writer Anne Bratskeir.

AB: Okay, so let’s talk about the “head laying on the sewing machine,” moment during last night’s episode. Were you really that frustrated?
JL: There’s a difference from being on the show and watching it. Everything is so consecutive, and at that point in the competition I was just completely exhausted.

AB: In the Twizzler episode and this one, you seemed like you really might not finish your work in time for the runway presentation. Is that editing or fact?
JL: It’s the truth. Everyday is walking through the fire for me. I come from a background of making clothes for corporate companies, and this level of finishing is not something I’ve dealt with before being on the show. For me, it’s not a quick process. Both Victorya and I went to Parson’s and were taught the very proper way of making clothes. I go through a process. Rami, Chris and Christian, they make clothes on a mannequin. I do a pattern. It’s not as natural for me, and I suffer a little more.

AB: To be honest, it doesn’t seem like you and your partner last night Victorya, are BFF’s. What’s the deal?
JL: It was a very funny situation. We barely exchanged words before we teamed up together. I never had that warmth with her and I was skeptical. I was worried about her being controlling like she was with Ricky. But I was surprised. We had the most incredible partnership. I almost feel that my partnership was more successful with her than with Rami. I learned a lot from her and we both respect each other. Professionally, we were very successful. I wouldn't say that we were the best of friends after.

AB: Friends or not, that coat you two produced was amazing. So was the whole ensemble. Did you think you were going to win?
JL: For me, it was a real turning point in my entire designing career. It was a dream challenge and I never made anything like that before. That’s why I came to the show. I thought everyone turned out strong work and I didn’t necessarily think I was going to win, but I thought the coat was killer.

AB: What’s the worst thing the judges can say (other than you’re out) about a designer’s work?
JL: That your work is amateurish. You definitely don’t want to hear that.

AB: Alberta Ferretti seemed like a pretty critical judge. How did you feel about her?
JL: I was very impressed that she was there. To have a European designer be a guest judge . . . how impressive is that? We don’t necessarily need people to keep saying, "great job" all the time. I thought she was right on and strong and good.

AB: We know how close you are with Rami. Do you think he’s getting a bad rap or was he really that much of a crazy control freak last night?
JL: I love Rami, but I think he was out of line with the situation. He was one of those people . . . the boss you never want to have. I had one of those and everyday you come home feeling you’ve been micro-managed. I really felt bad for Sweet P and now I understand that it is important not to suppress someone in a team situation. He’s a controlling person when it comes to his vision, but I don’t think it’s a reflection of his personal character. He’s a nice person.

AB: What about Kit leaving?
JL: I was shocked she was eliminated. She’s a very positive and very intelligent person. On our chalkboard in our apartment it said, ‘PMA’ – positive mental attitude – and we tried to leave the house thinking that way and that was Kit’s positive influence. She’s a great designer, and a level-headed, strong individual. Kit and Sweet P were best friends so I was really sad for them, and I will really miss her.

AB: Are you getting recognized on the street these days?
JL: Pretty much everyday sometimes up to 10 times a day. It’s funny. I have to get used to it. People say, ‘Oh my God, I love you,’ and at first, I didn’t know how to react. But now I just say ‘Thank you!’

AB: How are you feeling to still be in it?
JL: It’s an honor at this point to still be in the competition. It feels very good to be at that level.

AB: Um, speaking of winners, are you a Giants fan?
JL: I’m really not, I have two sisters and we are the girliest family you’ll ever meet. I’m a total ballerina type girl.

Photos from


David Dust said...


Click here for DavidDust's Project Runway recap.

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