Project Runway Castoff Ivy Higa Dishes on Michael C., Disses Gretchen, and Picks Her Favorite Designer

ivyhiganew225.jpgIvy Higa was one of Project Runway's most confident season-eight contestants. The 30-year-old Hawaiian native and current New Yorker also had her share of controversial moments: harsh barbs towards her fellow designers, erratic runway behavior, and even a fainting spell. Higa opened up to Movieline this morning about being seen as a "bitch," patching wounds with Michael C., and the problem with Gretchen.

Very early in the season, you fainted on your way back to the apartments. What happened there? Was it just stress-related?

I think it was just that -- you know, it's so funny, Val is so funny -- Valerie thought I didn't eat the entire day, Valerie and Gretchen did. But actually, I didn't drink enough water that day, and it was 103 degrees in New York. They actually have to shut down the air conditioning when they do filming because the microphones are so sensitive. I just didn't drink enough water that day, yeah. It was crazy. So when I went back after we got done working that day, coming off the elevator I remember feeling nauseous and completely dizzy, and then I completely blacked out. I don't remember too much of what happened until I was in the ER room.

In the challenge where you showcased your designs in an exhibition, you accused Michael C. of telling the patrons you were "the bitch" on the show. The editing didn't show any evidence that he'd said that -- like you'd made it up. Can you explain why you guessed that he was talking behind your back?

I know! Like I was making that up! It was so funny that they didn't get that on camera because people actually came up to me -- they had 100 people who came to the showing -- and I can't understand who would make it up to tell me that. You know what I mean? I'd went to Valerie, and Valerie said she'd heard the same thing and they heard that on camera. I didn't understand why people would think I made it up, though it did look like it just came out of nowhere. A few people attending the event came up to me and said, "I hear you're the bitch of the show and I hear we're not supposed to vote for you -- or we were told not to vote for you." It completely caught me off-guard. I thought we were there to showcase our work. Yeah, it kind of got me emotional and heated.

Once when Michael C. won a challenge, he came backstage, announced that he'd won, and you muttered, "Of course you did" to him. Can you explain how you came to be that hostile with him?

It's just funny too because the cameras aren't always going to be on, and they're not going to catch everything. It's funny because Michael and I actually are friends now. But you're put into a really messed-up situation and you're under a lot of stress. We all thought that Mondo should've won that challenge. It's nothing against Michael on a personal level, but what you don't see is that Michael antagonized a lot of us while the cameras were off. So it led us to having a bad taste in our mouths. But I told him also it wasn't fair for all of us to gang up on him and dislike him. It's all the past now, we're moving forward. He's a very good guy and very talented.

You were eliminated last night, but you ranked in the Top 2 for the previous challenge. Did it disappoint you to go home after that triumph?

Oh, no! I was ready. In retrospect I really believe it was my time to go. I think I needed to just show Nina that I am a true designer because she'd heard I was a great seamstress, but she didn't know if I was a great designer. So on the last challenge, I presented myself as a great designer. That in itself -- I did what I needed to do for this show.

Who do you want to win?

I always thought Mondo should've won everything. Between Mondo and Andy, they're both so talented and such visionaries. Great people and very, very talented. The way they put fabric together, they're just amazing.

You know, the eliminated designers always tell me they want Mondo or Andy to win. Why never Gretchen? I hear she comes off nicer in person.

Who said she's a nice person? [Laughs.] I'm kidding. I'm also an honest and direct person, and it gets misconstrued as being a bitch. I'll own that. But I'm very genuine and I can only speak for myself. What I would say to someone's face is what I'd say to someone not in front of me -- and I know there are people who've said that Gretchen is... otherwise. I don't know; I think Gretchen is talented, but I think that Andy and Mondo are far better designers than she is.


  • Morgaine says:

    Stupid people should not lie because it is difficult for them to keep their stories straight.
    In this interview, Ivy insists she was ready to go home when she was drop-kicked from the show like last-week's tuna-fish sandwich.
    Yet in the Heidi-the-Client episode, Ivy bitterly complained that MichaelC still being on the show meant he was taking the place another designer, who rightfully should have his place on the show. AND she specifically mentioned herself.
    "I didn't care, I was ready to go home" and bitterly saying "MichaelC shouldn't still be on the show because I should rightfully still be on the show" are mutually exclusive statements: if one is true, the other must be false.
    Either she is profoundly disingenuous, she does not have enough insight to know her own true feelings about the issue, or she is in complete denial of her true feelings.
    Whatever. I hope we are done with her.

  • debrarae says:

    Well I have a problem with you saying what you did. As much as the producers this time 'wanted the drama', I'm shocked that if this was true ... that there wasn't one bit of evidence.
    As for your other actions. I give you credit for having the decency to apologize to Michael C (and making it public through twitter).
    I'm glad he accepted your apology.
    I just want you to know that if you have learned from your mistakes, my prayers are with you.

  • goingnuts says: has this definition: "narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one's self." ivy is the incarnation of the narcissist and is a hateful person. she comes off as so unpleasant i don't even care to watch the latest episode again. ivy has a psychological problem, and she has done herself in to the point that no one would want to work with her. she needs to find a new career because her reputation will precede her. she need to see a psychologist because she is really damaged.

  • Subconscious says:

    Michael C is no angel. He's a man of many masks, the one he has on now is his opportunistic one. The ones prior were the manipulator and then the wounded bird.

  • jeremy says:

    ivy, your family must be so proud of you for making such a fool of yourself on national TV. when you returned for heidi's "new balance active wear" challenge and "confronted" michael about his "cheaeting," you didn't even have the courage to look him straight in the face and accuse him of your lies. it's pretty apparent how insane you made yourself appear on the show and i doubt anybody would want to work for you, with you, and let alone, HIRE you. congratulations on turning "project runway" into "the ivy show!"

  • Jane says:

    Pretty immature behavior for a 30-year old woman. I can't help but feel bad for her. She did herself more harm than good and her negative comments said more about her own personality and behavior than it did about Michael's or anyone else's. She made a fool of herself on national television and that is worse than anything she said about Michael C.

  • heaveneys21 says:

    First off this asian biach need to go back from where she came! She talked
    So much shit bout evrybody else that nobody did as much as her two faced ass!
    Her designs sucks even trash such ass herself woudnt even wear it if it was free!! She is such a disgrace an waste of life its pathetic!! Who even gave this bitch the idea that she can sew she couldn't sew a jack ass costume which would be a replica of herself! Karma a bitch u pus ass biachhh! He didn't cheat he a good uck that great person even gretchen better then u n she a bitch to wit a capital B! Why dnt u do us a favor n end ur life cuz u is a waste of life n air the air we breath is to good for u u trash! Come to brklyn I show u what's up!!

  • BLUELOVE says:

    Glad to see this horror of a human being off the show. Ms Thing needs to take a serious look at her dark soul. Sorry to see Michael C off. Gretchen should have been booted. Another person with serious issues.

  • makan says:

    Seriously, Ivy is 30? B**ch looks rough! Maybe all that hate and vinegar oozing out of her veins is aging her prematurely!

  • Anonymous says:

    Poor girl. Needs meds. Don't have kids. You'll be way to abusive. One moment, she'll be telling them to try for a school activity, and the next second, she'll be like, "You're fake and FAT, lazy AND ignorant! You must have cheated to get on the team! Call 911, please! You're making me faint!"

  • Dior says:

    Ivy has the worst attitude that I've seen in Project Runway. It's embarrassing to watch her she's just a very sore loser, rude, and cocky. Yes Ivy there's a line between being frank and honest to being rude. I completely agree with what was said to her that she's just a seamstress not a designer. Please Ivy, step out of your high chair. You've only been in the top 3 once and you think you're sooo good, you've never even won a challenge. Get over yourself.

  • Staple says:

    Having the nerve to say something nasty to someones face isnt what courage or honor means. It is still disrespectful and only means the person has no self control that they absolutely must let out their rage so that they feel better inside. No matter what kind of training or education bullies cant express themselves properly so they lash out. Mike C had honor. He wasnt perfect. He did snap back and he was cocky in the beginning but he changed and humbled himself overall. He even was reminding himself to be humble at one point. Commendable.

  • Psi says:

    All i'm going to say is that everyone is a person of different masks; in one episode, Michael C (whom i LOVE) said he'd complimented Gretchen on her look inspired by Jackie Kennedy, but to the camera behind-the-scenes he said it was total bs. Were it me, i wouldn't have said it; i would have avoided being complimentary unless i was observing actual points to offer commendation on. BUT i also get you have to play the game in situations like this; if you're not one to make waves, you have to be polite...and one can imagine being drawn into a fairly falsely-complimentary discussion w/ certain people, knowing that they don't mean what they say but their impression of you is that you're too demure and flighty to do anything but think their every design is beyond compare, and therefore they expect you to compliment right back.
    Ivy...okay. She wasn't particularly multi-masked, not least in the way she perceives herself to be - as is visible here, she's not fooling anyone w/ her "i'm strong and i can admit mistakes" act. Any mask she wears is a visible mask - her disguise fools nobody, and we can see the person she presented herself as through any new face she claims to have adopted. In other words, she's fallen into the trap of trying to present remedy to past errors w/out admitting absolute fault; she's trying to re-present herself w/out going back on things she actually can't change. That doesn't mean she's a horrible person, or that we can judge her on what we've seen.
    In other words...we don't know everything that went on. And that's not to say her claims of being called the bitch, as if a victim, and of Michael C telling people not to vote for her are accurate...but we also don't know what led her to apparently believe it, if she believed it. We also don't know the kind of person she was to live w/ - at times she was seen braiding other contestants' hair, which makes me think that while we were presented the image of the unrelenting icequeen out for her own glory, in fact she was more pleasant as a person. We're not shown fully human people on shows like this; we're shown what we're shown by design; there is no way we can assess anyone's character completely objectively, particularly since a show like this requires a certain amount of drama to be present. If that weren't the case we'd not get the bitchy comments from the judges. We expect it. And we prefer to believe that in a closed system, while elements leave, it's not because balance is being achieved; the smaller the pool of elements competing to outlast all the others, the higher the energy they use and the more they bounce off each other while trying to throw others out. Ivy's character on the show - because surely we can't say we saw Ivy as her real self - was focused upon how she upset any chance of equilibrium. Simple as that.
    i saw a comment above that referenced the bullying that led to the many suicides of young gay men in early 2011...and i think that while it's important to speak of how bullying can lead to hugely bad outcomes, one can't declaim someone's actions as those of a bully while assaulting their character and trying to demonstrate how irredeemably darkhearted and self-serving they are. That in itself is bullying. All of the comments on this thread are those that show bullying; there is no escape from that. No matter how you feel about someone, character assassination - particularly when there are huge spaces in the whole picture we have of that person - is indefensible...and any of the above comments that pass judgement on the character of Ivy or any of the other people on the show only demonstrate a lack of ability to consider the full picture and the ramifications of that judgement.

    • Ivy is a vile pestilence. You can't justify it. Yes everyone has their peccadilloes. No one is perfect. Not everyone is bitter, mendacious, aggressively sadistic, and lacking in self-awareness like Poison Ivy. Don't proselytize us from your Ivy fan club.

  • Ivy was dripping with bitterness and immaturity. If I didn't know better I would have thought she was a child in an adult body. Before she can interact with the people (that is if she becomes a designer at all - I doubt it) she needs to take a long long look at herself and make some major changes and ask the good Lord for forgiveness!!

  • Kimberly says:

    It is quite apparent she was the antagonist of season 8. She lacked talent and created unoriginal and illfitting clothing. While her construction was reasonable, her designs were neither unique nor high fashion. She could likely design for stores like Rave or Forever 21, as they are cheaply made and not relevant in their style. She created tension amongst the designers because of her envious nature, and especially by her dishonesty. Interestingly enough, karma came back to slap her in the face with with not only her elimination, but literally with the sewing machine! She was so immature on the show it was shameful, especially as being one of the more senior and experienced constestants. I only hope that she realized how unprofessional she appeared by her actions; but, sadly, most people of her low moral character rarely do.

  • Pirouette says:

    This comment is way late, but I'm going to say it anyway because I just got caught up on PR. After the way they all treated Michael C, I am not at all surprised to hear that he "antagonized" them. They treated him horribly from the very beginning, and Ivy was the WORST.

  • joy says:

    Ivy was THE bitch of any project Runway season! She is not talented, is rude, snide and has an over inflated opinion of herself (like someone else). I could hardly watch this season because of her, what a spoiler!!

  • Dini says:

    I am just watching the season 8 right now and I think you are right about Ivy...I hope she already reconciled with whatever differences she had...she's like Victoria of season 4...

  • mario says:

    another asian bitch.

  • Annette Whitehurst says:

    I'm coming in late on this because I'm watching the rerun of season 8. I loved Michael C from the beginning and hated Ivy for her attitude. If Michael C was different when the cameras were off, that proves he's smarter than Ivy and he knows how to play the game. Ivy just could not do it. She had to show her narcissistic, rude and non-talented self to the world, can you say bipolar? Even the judges knew she was whacked. Telling them on the runway that Michael C couldn't sew was insulting to them as he had already won 1 challenge and made it through the qualifying rounds. Nothing makes a judge like you quicker than telling them they're wrong and they have no taste. The big consolation is that Michael C kicked her a** in both season 8 and all-star ... Ivy who? Off-topic, but on the subject of kicking a**, I was speechless when Gretchen won season 8, but since that made Mondo eligible for all-star where he got more exposure and a prize package that had to have made Gretchen cry. By the way has Ivy or Gretchen done anything with the opportunities made possible by being on PR & PR AS?

    'Nuff said.

    • I've been re-watching Season 8 as well and I still can't believe what a horrible person Ivy is. It really seems like she thought from the beginning that her obnoxious and mean-spirited comments would make good TV and that people would like her MORE for it. Seems like she was shocked that people don't, in fact, feel that way.

      There have been other "bitchy" PR contestants who seem like they're going for the sound bite (at least one or two per season) but at least some of them were funny, or they had the talent to back up their attitude, or they were eliminated from the show early on. Ivy was on for WAY too long, she NEVER showed any designs that were very good, she was NEVER funny, she was mean almost EVERY time she was on air, and she had no self-awareness on top of it all. She just didn't know when to stop.


      • Etiquette says:

        Agreed! She poisoned the entire season. Her focus was entirely on finding someone she thought she could manipulate, demean and ultimately control; however, she didn't account for Michael C's quiet, steel spine! Poor Ivy. No talent, as made apparent in EVERY episode (let's recall the pants made from pants), it's no wonder she is a complete and total failure at any venture she attempts to attempt.

        Sadly, she still hasn't learned how to recognize her failures. The definition of insanity is repeating the same action expecting a different result. Maybe she should look into that diagnosis. Ivy, please consider it. Nobody likes you or respects you or your "designs". It was so refreshing to hear Heidi tell Michael C that, "whoever said you can't sew? Oh wait, she's not here anymore!"

        Who names their poor oriental child "Ivy"? Doesn't matter what its name is. One of these things is not like the other ones.

        Bless their hearts.

  • Annalisa says:

    Poison itches for awhile then it goes away...hopefully forever.

  • Ivy is an evil person, who projects her wickedness on others…calling Michael “Satan,” when she acted more like the nefarious villain than herself. She’s awful. Talk about “karma,” and saying the stuff she said…she’s the only one “karma” or rather “reaping what you sow” will visit. And then she had the nerve to roll her eyes when Sir Tim Gunn was speaking. Vile.