Kenley Collins, Ivy Higa and the 8 Other Finest Villains in Project Runway History

The first part of Project Runway's eighth season finale is tonight, and with it Movieline brings you a bolt of nefarious nostalgia. Though we all love the clothes, the judging, and even the nice-guy designers on Runway, the show has always depended upon its villains' incredible bitchiness. They deserve respect too! We've ranked our 10 favorite Project Runway villains of all-time after the jump. And no, Gretchen, you can't explain yourself.


10. Emilio Sosa

Usually the phrase "I've chosen not to listen to Tim Gunn" is an informal way of saying, "I'm going to be eliminated this evening," but with Emilio Sosa, his petulance seemed to pave his way towards the finals. Though his final collection suffered because he failed to heed Tim's advice and ditch some of its dowdy colors (Karma, yo), he managed to cruise into a runner-up spot next to the season's winner, Seth Aaron Henderson.

santino_rice.jpg9. Zulema Griffin

Zulema didn't survive long enough to achieve maximum deviousness, but she helped make season two the show's most magnetic to date with two big evil feats: Taking Nick Verreos's model, Tara, after winning a challenge, and telling tearful teammate Kara Janx to get her emotions together and cut her fabric faster. "I don't care if you cry and cut," she said. "But you better cry and cut." Sublime.


8. Vincent Libretti

We could always tell when Vincent Libretti, season three's schmoozing connoisseur of horn-rimmed glasses, liked his own work. "It turns me on," he'd coo. "I get off on it," he'd announce. But sleaze wasn't all that qualified him for "villain" status: His abysmal, unfinished paper dress was voted "in" over frontrunner Alison Kelly's unfortunate gown made of baby-yellow recyclables.


7. Irina Shabayeva

"Villain" is an inappropriate term for Irina, who established herself as season six's premiere designer almost instantly. She was a sorceress -- a smug fan of her own aesthetic and a non-fan of all her fellow designers. When she won the season handily, we could only applaud her self-satisfaction. That's a real villain.


6. Ivy Higa

You can attribute season eight's rebound in quality to one thing: Outright cattiness. Though (potential winner!) Gretchen Jones is the year's spinelessly self-important cast member, Ivy is a bratty rabble-rouser of the highest reality order. She accused Michael Costello of cheating -- apropos of nothing -- and even claimed he spread rumors about her. Word to the wise, Ivy: It's strange to call people out on their professionalism when you can't even act like a grownup.

Pages: 1 2


  • Quirky- says:

    Wendy Pepper looks like an 80's era Boy George there...except manlier.
    Oh, and Gretchen wins hands-down; most other people on the show seem to go out of their way to be catty (makes for good TV?), but she seems oblivious to the fact that she really is just a gigantic bitch. And her name's Gretchen, so there's that, too.

  • milessilverberg says:

    Actually, Jeffrey didn't coin the name "Bad Mommy" for Laura. It was fellow villain and ousted cheater Keith, who deserves a place on this list somewhere as well.

  • G says:

    Let the Grisdom reign.

  • goingnuts says:

    when wendy pepper had those white streaks in her hair she looked like cruella de ville, and i was totally scared of her. but she redeemed herself and showed her humanity when she broke down after someone defaced the picture of her little daughter. kenley collins and ivy higa were true witches, though. also interestingly, laura bennett accused jeffery sebelia of "how can he possibly make all those clothes in the short time allowed?" when she herself sewed every sequin and feather on her clothes. it was ok for laura bennett to accomplish all that work but not jeffery? i don't agree that jeffery belongs on the list; he overcame drug addiction and became a loving father to his son, as well as being a talented and successful designer. i like laura now too for her blogs on the project runway website.

  • milessilverberg says:

    The problem I have with Jeffrey was his complete lack of compassion or humanity, considering the obstacles he overcame. I shudder to think how much of a bigger douche he was on drugs.

  • MoHub says:

    To me, Kara Saun was the stealth villain of season 1. Wendy was out there and obvious, but Kara played the holier-than-thou card throughout and then tried that stunt with the custom-designed shoes at $5 a pair.
    Jeffrey's villainy in season 3 stemmed mostly from his run-ins with Angela and her mother. He was rude, crude, and verbally abusive, and he pretty much did the happy dance when Angela was finally eliminated.
    Also, where was Terri from season 5? She may nnot have been up to Kenley's level, but she was a nasty piece of work, especially in her inteactions with others.
    In all, PR villainy needs a Top 20; 10 just isn't enough.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    Truth be told, I never disliked Wendy and even felt a little bad for her. Kara Saun, however, I abhorred. I'm right there with you.

  • Phil says:

    Vincent wasn't a villain, he was just hilarious. Emilio had a huge ego, but I don't think of him as a villain either. I think Ivy should be higer on this list. Her behavior has been the worst to me, but then again, I haven't seen season 1 or season 6.

  • blackrabbit says:

    As someone else pointed out, you misquoted Jeffrey. He never called Laura "Bad Mommy", another bonafide villain, Keith did. And how is his villainy cemented when the other designers were the ones crying foul, even though there was no evidence? How did he react? He was quietly hurt and then chose to move on rather than take it out on the accusers when he was proven innocent. I do consider Jeffrey to be a villain, but not as bad as some people make him out to be.
    I also think Santino should be lower. He said some pretty bad things, but come on, the guy had charm and can be extremely likable, which you pretty much say. And if you watch his new show, On The Road With Austin & Santino, you'll find that he's VERY low-key and easy to love. It's like all the good parts of Santino without the bad mouth.
    Gretchen is extremely grating and annoying, but I never once considered her to be a terrible person, just extremely un-self-aware. It's like she doesn't even understand the things coming out of her mouth. When we saw her home visit, she seemed to be reflecting on her actions once she saw them on the screen and people's reactions to them. I would switch her and Ivy around.

  • W says:

    Ivy easily ranks number one. For me, she brought a "darkness" and uncomfortably ugly quality to one of my favorite reality shows. I wouldn't endure another season with as meanspirited a group of contestants as this one. I hope that the producers screen better for character traits when deciding on contestants. Because there is an entertainment component to the show, cast decisions shouldn't be only about one's perceived talent. There is no shortage of upcoming designers as equally good as Ivy, yet multitudes that are more bearable to watch. I disagree that villains add anything worthwhile to Project Runway and wish that the judges had better addressed the negative behaviors of Ivy and others. To me, this was the worse season ever. I don't watch these type shows to see drama conjured up through villians, but to witness talented, hardworking, and good hearted people who I am thrilled to see receive the career break of a lifetime. On principal, I wouldn't purchase anything created by Ivy simply because of her bullying, condescending, and jealous spirit. I am annoyed by people who assume that talent alone is all that is needed to be successful. From what I've read around the internet, most of the viewing public share my sentiments. Take heed Bravo.

  • b.kennedy says:

    I liked them all, if it wasn't for them the show would of been boring.

  • Sarah says:

    I completely agree with this. I absolutely hated Ivy and I rejoiced when she was voted off (and quite sad to see her return for an episode...). I think part of what made her worse is that no one told her off and everyone seemed to agree with her. This season was probably one of the least enjoyable to watch for me and the only real redeemable part of it was Mondo.

  • Bayne D Angelo says:

    Along with great talents come huge egos trouble with Ivy is the only thing she has a lot of is her inflated ego as far as talent is concerned she is definitely light weight just a notch above the middle aged peach

Post a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s