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Sounding Auf: A Quick Chat With Project Runway’s All-Star Anthony Williams

Anthony Williams.
Anthony Williams. Photo: Lifetime

Project Runway’s all-star cast lost the first of its menfolk last night. Sadly, it was the wonderful Anthony Williams who took the fall. We spoke with the delightfully upbeat designer this afternoon about his experiences on the show, sneaking out of the contestants’ house for mussels at Cafeteria, and which of the new judges looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

You seemed very prepared for bad news on the runway last night. Were you expecting to be auf’ed?
Yes. Not necessarily [before the runway show], but as soon as I saw all the girls leave the runway, I was like, “Mmm, that’s a little too television for me.” It was quite obvious. After that many girls went home in a row, we knew the next person was gonna be a guy.

Did that increase the pressure?
No, the reality is, whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. I thought in the end, the judges’ decision was fair according to what they said. You just get over it.

Did you feel their assessment of your look’s found fabric–new fabric percentage breakdown was fair?
One thing I’ve said is that the whole challenge was inconsistent. At the beginning of the challenge, we were told to create a look, 50 percent of which had to be from things you got from someone on the street. Then, on the runway, it turned into “fifty percent of your fabric.” When [the producers] delivered the rules, it wasn’t all on camera. I’m not saying that the producers did anything wrong, but there was a lot of room for miscommunication. That’s when I started becoming a little flustered, because I was like, “Wait a minute, my design was going in one direction, now it’s going in this direction.” It’s just, like, “ugh.” Where’s a cocktail when you need it?

While clothes hunting in Union Square, it seemed like a lot of the designers found one person for their muse and stopped there, but you collected garments from lots of people — mainly cute guys. Did that become a problem, having too much fabric to work with?
The fact is, the producers encouraged us to get [clothes] from a lot of people. It was to see if you could get someone to get naked. But you can’t rationalize irrational decisions — and, more importantly, this isn’t my game. It was never in my cards to win Project Runway All-Stars. I’m not saying that to sound like a loser. I’m saying that what I went on the show for, I was able to do. I wanted to make sure I could handle my own on television, I wanted to see growth in my work, I wanted to make sure I didn’t sacrifice my character. And I will admit,  once I’d been eliminated, I had the summer of my life in New York City. I was sneaking out and going every-damn-where. I was going to Cafeteria every night. The guy who worked the door used to work at Mood. We didn’t have to wait on a table, he just got us in. I was eating mussels and macaroni and cheese and getting drunk every night.

So you’re not currently based in New York?
No, I live in Atlanta. But I’m planning a move, and this move will probably be the equivalent of Madonna dropping an album: I’m moving to L.A. It’s gonna be a huge deal.

Why Los Angeles?
Because you can’t get struck by lightning if you don’t stand in the rain. I love fashion design, but I’m designed for television. I was made for it. I think I bring something very refreshing, something very unique and natural and organic to the experience, and I want to continue to pursue that. I get so many offers and so many producers pitching shows and things of that nature, but they all think that I live in L.A. And guess what? They’re not gonna come to Atlanta to find the next great talent. I gotta go to L.A. and say, “Hello! I’m the next great talent.”

Let’s talk about showcasing that talent of yours. Did you have reservations about doing All-Stars?
Most definitely. But after careful consideration I thought it was an honest competition, and I just moved past it and started having fun.

Was there anyone you expected to see in the lineup who wasn’t there?
I thought Nick Verreos was coming back, but I think when you get to a place where he is in his career, it may not have been a good look for him. But I would have been glad to meet him, because I’m one of his fans. I didn’t know who was gonna be on the show, but they sent an inexperienced wrangler to get me from my friend’s house in New York City and [I could see] he had the list of everyone he was gonna pick up from the airport. And, you know, people think I’m just funny, but they don’t know that I’m very clever. Honey, I knew everybody on the damn show by the time we made it to the second stop light in the cab ride to the studio. [laughs] I wasn’t expecting Mila. And I can honestly say I don’t know who I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting her to be on the show. At all. In any capacity.

Why Mila in particular?
I’m not gonna attack her design aesthetic, but watching her last night and the way she and Michael Costello kind of partnered together to talk behind someone’s back … that’s a world I don’t live in. I don’t discuss anything that isn’t my business, but I can tell that’s a part of who she is naturally. I think it comes across on television that she’s very smug, she’s a backbiter. She’s probably a wonderful woman, but I think given this opportunity she could have worked harder to project a sweeter part of who she is. But I guess if there’s no sweet part, then that’s that.

But did you get along with all the designers, for the most part?
I did. Rami, Kara, and myself, we were like the Kardashians. Let me give you the thought process behind that: not because we wanted to be the Kardashians, but we felt that if we just added the last name Kardashian, we could be any damn thing we wanted to be. Otherwise, I’ll tell you this, if you wanted to figure out, not necessarily the hierarchy, but who was friends with who, look at the gelato challenge. When it was time to pick who went next to pick their gelato, I’m telling you, the writing was on the wall, and it was ugly.

So you’ll be rooting for Rami and Kara then?
I’ll be rooting for Rami, Kara, and Austin. I think that they are individuals who came with absolutely no agenda but to win. I think they are healthy competitors; you don’t seem them ripping people apart. I most definitely think that all of them deserve to win.

If Project Runway offered you a third chance for the win, would you go back?
Sure, I would go back. It’s too easy to get caught up in your ego over being booted off the show – how dare I be upset because I got eliminated? No one is immune from the process. It was me this week, but it was somebody else last week and it’ll be somebody else this upcoming Thursday. So how dare I feel that someone owes me something, or that I was done wrong because it didn’t work out in my favor? I plan on going shopping in about an hour, and I guarantee you there will not be a size 36 in the pants I’m looking for. The difficulty of last night will have nothing to do with the difficulty of today.

Would you want a whole new set of judges again, or to keep the panel as is now — or as it was?
Well, I didn’t know who Angela Lindvall was when we started, and I still have no idea about her character to be perfectly honest; I just know they need to get her some shoes she can walk in. I was a little disappointed in … what’s his name? Isaac Mizrahi. I was really upset with a comment he made last evening —  he described me as lazy, when clearly for the last 24 hours we’d worked like dogs on the challenge, only for [him] to sit [his] ass in the chair and critique what we’ve done? No, sweetie. Look in the mirror. You’re the example of lazy, not me. All you have to do is let somebody throw some Casper the White Ghost makeup on your face and sit in that stool and be entertained by what we present and what we say. You can say what I made was awful, but to say that I was lazy, that means you’re saying something about my character. And I didn’t like that.

For the first time this season, the judges did seem to get a little snarky last night.
Well, they’re never gonna edit the judges to look other than wonderful and amazing. They don’t send makeup artists to do our makeup, but they get a whole damn beauty team. I’m like, “No! We worked like dogs! Send someone over to put some powder on me!” I’m personally very grateful for the L’Oreal Paris Makeup Room. I went in there and did my own makeup. Make sure you put that in!

Sounding Auf: A Chat With Runway All-Star Anthony