Movieline Interviews Project Runway's Bickering Runners-Up Mila and Emilio -- at the Same Time


They may have lost Project Runway last night to Seth Aaron Henderson, but second- and third-place finishers Emilio Sosa and Mila Hermanovski seem to have gained some respect for one another since shooting their contentious season. In a Movieline interview with the opinionated duo, Mila and Emilio discussed disagreeing with Tim Gunn and Michael Kors, snipes from less "mature" contestants, and the state of their tensions (which I may have aggravated after Emilio noted that he hadn't watched the finale because he doesn't have cable, and I informed him that Mila called his final line "Harlem in 1994").

I'll start with Mila. You had strong opinions about both collections. How do you feel about the judges and their comments?

MILA HERMANOVSKI: I actually thought the judges were really fair when it came to judging for the three of us. When we get to a certain point -- or by the time we've gotten to the end, is what I'm trying to say -- I think it's the best of the group. I think they were really impressed and they mostly highlighted the positives and just a few negatives to say. I thought everything was really fair in terms of the critiques.

Did you worry beforehand that your collection exhibited only a polished version of what we'd seen on the show from you -- your black-and-white motif -- instead of an evolution? That seemed like the crux of the judges' arguments.

MILA: I honestly don't agree with that very much. I think I evolved appropriately, and I think that collection is very representative of me as a designer, and I was really proud of it. So I don't necessarily agree with Michael Kors in that it was expected. However, if I could change one thing, I would probably have made it a little more of a runway show, styled it, and turned up the volume a little bit.

Seth Aaron called you a "big sister" in a blog post I just read. Can you talk about how your relationship strengthened to that point? We didn't see much of it.

MILA: Yeah, I mean Seth Aaron and I relate to one another's work pretty well. And I think that frankly, most of the bonding that happened between us was in the finale and during the shooting of the finale, and just staying in the same hotel room, the Presidential Suite. I think we found out through some late-night chats, a lot more about each other. I think that's when it happened. I think there's always been a mutual respect for what the other one does.


When we spoke with Anthony a couple weeks ago, he claimed you had "big balls" to be dismissive of the other competitors. Did you feel dismissive toward them?

MILA: I've always had a lot of respect for everyone else on the show, so I'm not really sure where all of his comments are coming from. I think that he continues to -- I don't know if "misinterpret" is the right word, but misinterpret me for being confident. I think confidence also comes with maturity. I think that when you're that age too -- because I think that Anthony and Jay both have this problem -- they misconstrue confidence for arrogance. That's not to say I wasn't scared as hell. That whole competition was terrifying, you know? I just don't let that show through. Everyone handles competition differently. But I've always had the utmost respect for everyone on the show.

Now, Emilio: Your collection exhibited a new side of you. Did you worry it was too much of a departure from your previous work and therefore less effective in the eyes of the judges?

EMILIO: Well, what I think I showed on the runway was something I hadn't shown on the show. I think on the runway I wanted to show pieces that I hadn't designed. I did a lot of tailored pieces, I did jackets, pants, blouses. I wanted to change it up. I wanted to show my range, not so much how I ended, because I ended very strong, and I ended with gowns. I'm very proficient at designing beautiful red carpet evening wear, some point it wasn't just about the judges and the fellow competitors. We were on a world stage, [and] I was looking at the show on that level, you know what I mean? It wasn't just about winning the competition. You have this platform to show the world who you are as a designer, not just as a contestant on Project Runway. So I wanted to show the world that I could do more than making an evening gown in one day.

The designers distrusted Tim Gunn more this season than on any other. Anthony and Jesus both claimed to ignore him. You had the most memorable spats with Tim this year -- did you feel you led the brigade against him?

EMILIO: Not at all! You know, I have the utmost respect for Tim. He brings a lot into the workroom. For me, the way I process criticism and advice may be different from someone else. I was just expressing myself. A lot of stuff that Tim Gunn said to me I took to heed. I just went along my path. I don't think I led the brigade; I think everyone needs to think about what they want to do themselves.


You've claimed that you want to bring your "E. Sosa" brand name into your future designs. When you created the "E. Sosa" print for the printmaking challenge, was that a pivotal point for you?

EMILIO: I think so. I think so. I thought as a brand -- what was the quickest way to build a brand? And I said, "A print with my name on it," and that's why I used that challenge for that. I said, "You know what? This is an opportunity we have to make any time of print we want." I felt that would be my way to make "E. Sosa" a brand. I think it's worked. A lot of people loved it, a lot of people did not like it, but that's what's most important to me: whether or not you liked it, it made an impression on you. It was just a great challenge, and I love prints and color. So that was one of my favorites -- for me, that's when the show changed. After that challenge, I just said, "I'm going to do what I want, how I want to do it, and I'm just going to go for it."

You won the most challenges. Typically, the competitor who wins the most challenges doesn't end up winning. Did you feel a little cursed?

EMILIO: I didn't feel cursed, but I just knew that a lot was expected of me. I knew that. I knew that. I just said that I have to do my best, and I tried my best. I made sure with each challenge I got better and created something that was signature "E. Sosa" and represented me as a designer. That's all you can do, what you feel, and hope for the best.

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  • OldTowneTavern says:

    Who are all these designers who take pride in not listening to Tim Gunn? Jesus hung around the bottom three and Anthony was inconsistent. When Tim told Emilio to put color in his circus inspiration gown, he waved him off. Then, he saw his model in the gown and somehow, the idea for color just came to him, and lo, he produced his best outfit ever.