Okay, so there’s no true Long Islander like Jillian Lewis, last season’s Project Runway finalist, to root for on the show, which premieres on Bravo, Wednesday, July 16 at 9 PM this time around. But if geography is a factor, than Stella Zotis, 42, from Astoria is our gal. Billed by the show as a “rocker chick,” we caught up with her pre-premiere for a little one-on-one conversation.
First off, she began her career doing hair and make up for famed Rock ‘N’ Roller photographer Mick Rock for whom she worked on legends such as Debbie Harry of Blondie fame. “I used to make my own stuff, patch up my own jeans, and then Debbie Harry said to me ‘I’d like you to make me something to wear to the Grammy awards.’ She came over to my house and we worked on what she wanted and I made her an outfit. She called me after to tell me that she felt really good in it and loved it.”
To date, Stella makes one of kind denim and leather pieces out of her apartment – “I’m a word-of-mouth designer” -- and is hoping that exposure on the show will “help me expand and get an investor.”
As for the rigors of being a Project Runway contestant? “Trust me, the show is no joke. Seriously you really need to know what you’re doing to be on this show. From draping to pattern making…and the hours were intense. You’re not sleeping a lot, it’s chop chop, get it done.”
So do the players play nice this time around? Stella says, “Everybody is pretty different, some more competitive than others. We were all pretty civil, but there are people you don’t love all the time.” Oooh, cannot wait. – Anne Bratskeir