The Latest Project Runway Loser Tells All: 'I Brought the Jockstrap Pant Back'
Spoilers ahead, seamsters: Movieline just checked in with the latest Project Runway contestant to receive Heidi Klum's cheek pecks of good riddance. He/she dished on Bryant Park, a "gimmicky" fellow contestant, and the problem with seeing what editors have done to your sparkling personality. Ready to meet the loser?
It's Ben Chmura! The 30-year-old Tampa native talked with Movieline about the perks of Bryant Park, the gimmicks of Project Runway, and the fact that he's not a mute.
Were you conscious of being a "low-drama" contestant throughout the series? I felt like we only got to know you during last night's episode.
I'm not a dramatic person to begin with, so I'm obviously not shown a lot because I'm not creating any drama between other contestants, or by myself. It's difficult for me now, because people were just starting to get familiar with me. The timing was so off on this. That's just the way it happened to be.
What do you make of the idea that certain contestants get to stick around longer based on their dramatic personalities alone?
I think it's interesting, because a lot of people have these conspiracy theories about how the show is run -- that people are there based on their personality rather than their talent. And I think what actually solidifies those theories for the viewers and even those who are involved -- like, the designers involved with the show -- is the way the editing's done afterward. I have a lot of people say, like, "Wow, they really pushed this one particular person, this one person." And it's gotten to the point where they think they're going to win. And I've said in a couple of interviews: How many times do you have to be in the bottom before you're eliminated? It's interesting how some people have made it further. We've all seen the show before, and we all know the rules, like from when signed on for it. I think it's frustrating for people because they want to last longer than they do. And I said from the get-go, as soon as I started the audition process, I'm not going to turn on something because the camera's on me. I'm not going to be somebody I'm not. I'm a no-frills kind of a guy. If you choose to go with me, I'm not going to go and say outlandish things. I have my one-liners, I bond with people and make some great friendships, and unfortunately you don't get to see a lot of it. I think that's the sad part for me, to be honest. You're portrayed, especially me -- people are like, "Is he even on the show anymore?" Because you hardly ever saw me. And I do talk. I'm quiet when I work. I treated it like a job; I had a lot riding on this. But at the same time, it's not like I'm a boring person. So I think that's the part that gets a little frustrating.
Still, you got to show at Bryant Park. How was that? Were you shocked to be invited back after finishing in ninth place?
Bryant Park was phenomenal. When I got the phone call, it was, like, September or October. They were saying, "We're pretty sure, but we'll let you know for sure in a couple weeks." And I got another phone call, and they told me they were overnighting me a check. Obviously from my point of view, when I got eliminated, I thought I'd just lost out on Bryant Park, and that was my main goal. So I was like, "I'm done. It's pretty much done." When I got the phone call, I was like, "You just seriously made my year.This is probably the coolest thing that happened from the show." I wanted to put my point of view out there again. I brought the jockstrap pant back. I wanted to show that I could do pants and not have the serious fit issues that were portrayed on the show. I wanted to do a collection that embodied the idea of retro sci-fi mixed with a modern-day woman. I was really proud of my collection. I had a couple of fit issues as well because of the tight fit. One of the dresses started riding up, but overall, I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world.
Did you have favorites from the other collections?
I think there were some really strong points of view. I've been saying that since the season started, but I think this group of designers has been a strong collective. I think Jay's was incredible, the way he worked with heavier fabrics and made them look like armor, but still wearable. I really liked Mila's. It was really cool, graphic, and really her. And I love Emilio's use of color -- the colors that used were very complimentary. Overall everyone did a great job, and it just comes down to personal aesthetics.
Janeane told us she wasn't proud of her own collection. Did you have least favorites among your competitors' lines?
I have to say, the only one I was a little weirded out with was Jesse's. Some of the looks got a little costumey for me. I actually went back and looked at his collection again. Having the plain pins attached to the clothing -- some of it got a little gimmicky for me. I think he had some really interesting ideas. He just tried to pile too much on in one collection. With Janeane's, I liked Jeanine's -- it's simple, it's classic, it's modern, all in one. She got a lot of flak for her collection. But I thought her coats were really well thought-out. And I thought the jewelry she made was a nice compliment.
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