The Auf'd Project Runway Designer Tells Movieline: 'Heidi's a Beautiful Hanger. In My House, Hangers Don't Talk'
Still grieving after the elimination on last night's Project Runway? At least we've got one last blast of the latest castoff's special mix of candor, sage advice, and refreshing personality here in our day-after Movieline interview. Still, though the eliminated designer is a fan favorite, some not-so-sweet things are said about two Runway judges, including one who is "a big contradiction."
It's Anthony Williams! For the 28-year-old Birmingham native, honesty is never a problem. The ebullient wit sounded off with us about the judges, his competitors, and hanging out with Nina Garcia.
You've already done a ton of interviews. Is it a relief to be off the show so you can finally talk about the full experience?
No, it's the same. [Laughs.] It's the same. I don't see it as, "Oh, Anthony is eliminated now, he can say how he really feels." I started saying how I felt from the start. I think that's what's been attractive to so many people who want to interview me. I don't know! I don't know! I don't feel relieved. I tell you one thing: OK, I watched last night's episode, right? So, I was trying to figure out at 11:01 -- and I'd already taken two Tylenol because I had a headache from that fighting -- when you give all of yourself to people, it will drain you. I needed medicine just to replenish my body again from society. From that fighting, oh my God: I woke up at 11:01 because the phone was ringing off the hook, and people were going crazy. People were telling me they were in tears. I was like, "You've got to be kidding me," and I went back to sleep. I already done the work to be at peace with the decision of the judges. Matter of fact, earlier that day I was hanging with Nina Garcia in her office.
Oh, what were you there for?
Just saying hi. I'd just done the Marie Claire [cover] signing, so I definitely wasn't going to leave before going to the Hearst building and visiting with the people who give me the opportunity to be on the front cover.
You couldn't have thought you were going home during that challenge, particularly with Mila turning out that Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour dress.
Yes I did. Because you know what? They buy Mila. They buy Seth Aaron. And they buy Emilio. I knew when they were going in hard on Jonathan that I was going home. That's why I was able to smile right through it -- just like, "Hehe. Going home." [Laughs.]
Did you gain a lot from the judges?
Nina was by far my favorite judge. I think she understood my struggle on the show from being a conservative designer to being in this world where kind of like anything goes on the show. We all know that won't fill in any retail and keep you paying your bills consistently, let's be honest. I think that Michael Kors was a big contradiction. I think a lot of things he told people not to do on the show, like lines pointing toward the crotch, you can see prevalent in his last season of swimsuits, [where there are] several lines going through the crotch. Um! I thought Heidi... was Heidi. I've gone to school, I've gone through the discipline of my degree. The only time I thought that her thoughts were of great merit in my mind was when she was talking to the models of the runway. Because that's her profession. In my mind, she's a beautiful hanger. In my house, hangers don't talk.
You and Seth Aaron made an interesting pair during the first team challenge, particularly when you told him, "Don't act up in front of company," when Tim started interrogating you both. How do you feel about Seth Aaron?
I think he's an awesome designer. He's a good man. I thank God that he has a family, because he knows how to treat people to a certain degree. I think the thing about Seth Aaron is, when you are an independent designer, you really don't know how to work with other people in that capacity. Think about it: You're the head designer, you're the manufacturer, and you're the distributor. Matter of fact, you're the salesperson. So, that's what you know. I think it was a bigger challenge for him to work with someone else. For me, I've worked in retail for a very long time. Even before going on Project Runway, I worked in retail. It wasn't a challenge for me to work with him, but he is a great man and an awesome designer. He wasn't difficult; he was very respectful and he was fun. We looked very different. We're attracted to some things -- I'm over the top when it comes to evening wear, but his idea of ready-to-wear is over the top as well.
You mentioned last episode that people often laughed in the workroom when you were trying to be serious. Can you elaborate on those moments and how you were perceived by the other contestants?
I knew going into the show that people... for example, Jesus: Jesus thought that because we started in the bottom three together, that that's where I was going to stay, with him. But as the world has seen, just because you start somewhere doesn't mean you have to finish in that place. I think people initially think that I'm just funny and that I say funny things all the time, but I said a lot of serious things on the show. But I wasn't edited to look like a person who has serious moments. I was edited to be someone who is funny all the time. I can't necessarily think of specific moments I've had on the show that were serious, because it happened awhile ago at this point. But people, all the time, laugh. I guess because I have this witty way of bringing serious points across. Many times, I don't make it a purpose to be funny. I am just really talking and being myself and people just start laughing. And then when I give the facial expression, like, "Why are you laughing?" they laugh even more! And I'm like, "Well, hell, this is the endless cycle of laughter, so I'm just going to walk away."
Can you talk about your Bryant Park experience? Were you surprised to be showing since you got seventh place?
I've said it once and I'll say it again: Most people go to Project Runway knowing who they are as designers, and I found myself as a designer. That was my opportunity to celebrate my Project Runway experience, showing at Bryant Park. I remember going to dinner the night of [the show]...I want to say the night of. I think it was somewhere in the Village. We were leaving the restaurant, I open a magazine, I open the paper, and I see my dress in the middle of the magazine. They were saying, "These are our three picks for Bryant Park from Project Runway." My friends were forwarding me all these websites that were featuring my dresses and saying my collection was the most cohesive. And I was like, you know what, I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I came, showed up, and showed out. I knew that even though I lost a lot of faith and didn't have money -- what they didn't know I was struggling with my lights being turned off, and all this stuff. I didn't give a damn about that. I knew that I wanted to be proud of myself at Bryant Park, and I was very proud.
Other eliminated Runway designers sound off to Movieline:
· Ping Wu