Runway's April: The Girly Gossip Drove Me Crazy
TheInsider.com caught up with recently cut Project Runway All-Stars designer and gothic crusader April Johnston. The now-23-year-old southern gal gave the skinny on how she is anything but a girly girl, why she prefers to design in black above all else, and which other All-Star drove her crazy. And on the personal front, the edgy designer also revealed that she is getting married to her longtime boyfriend on March 9 in Savannah, Georgia. Keep reading for all that and more ...
TheInsider.com: You did not seem very happy to be going home last night, how did it feel?
April: At the time it was really hard, you know you’re there, and you have this grand prize dangling in front of you, and you work so hard to try to get that, and so it just hurts whenever you’re rejected.
Insider: My co-workers and I all thought you were a rock. Did you think that you were the one that should have gone home?
April: Well I said earlier, it’s just kind of hard to answer that, because I knew that Kara [Janx] and I both made mistakes, and at that point I really felt that I was going to be the one to go. At that point you really can’t do anything except accept that. As much as I wanted to stay, I didn’t make something that was very true to me. I mean the dress was but the styling and everything – I just tried a little hard to get outside of my normal, dark aesthetic, and try to reach out to them, and they definitely didn’t respond well, so I felt like my fate was pretty much decided. I wouldn’t say that I felt like it was the wrong decision, just because I knew that it wasn’t good.
Insider: The back of the dress was too short. What happened there?
April: Well, she was too big for the dress, so what I had to do was insert new panels, so I had to take all the fabric that was in the center back and stretch it another two inches, and the back went up because of her butt. That’s where the back went up, and I lost fabric there, and I pretty much just lost hope, you know what I mean?
Insider: I actually thought the dress was really cute.
April: The front wasn’t bad, but when she turned around -- I was watching this morning -- and when she turned around, I was like, "Oh my god! No! Please, please turn it off, stop the DVR!" [laughs].
Insider: Do you think that everyone that was brought back was an "All Star"?
April: I felt like there was a lot of talent, I was a little confused when Elisa [Jimenez] was brought back, just because from what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen, but other than that I thought that everyone was pretty talented.
Insider: You have this really dark design aesthetic – Who is the woman you are designing for?
April: Oh my god, Helena Bonham Carter, Florence Welch, Lady Gaga, and any woman that wants to be a vampire or something in the next life [laughs]. Someone that has a little fantasy, but also wants to look sophisticated and sexy would go for any of my stuff.
Insider: I didn't realize you were 22 until I watched the show.
April: Yeah. I was 22 on the show, I turned 23 in September.
Insider: That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment to be on Project Runway All-Stars as a 22 year old, and you were competing against designers almost twice your age -- what was that like?
April: At first, when I was on season eight it was intimidating, but then I almost kind of lost track of how old I really was, because at times I felt like I was more mature than most of the cast. I have a bit of an old soul, so I kind of just felt like one of the group, I didn’t even think about age anymore, I just felt like I was just there as a designer, and that didn’t come into play. A lot of people ask about how my age factored in, and it’s funny for me, because I have to go back and really think about it, because at the time I didn’t really even realize it.
Insider: Is there a trend right now that you hate?
April: Not really. I love the chiffon skirt trend that's going on right now, and then doing something like a pearl embellished crop-top over like a sheer black chiffon skirt, and kind of having a little vintage throwback. I love vintage clothing, and I feel like that will never go out of style, but I haven’t seen anything that’s really atrocious.
[However,] I saw Heidi Klum in bell-bottoms the other day, on E! Fashion Police or something -- she was wearing these huge bell-bottoms, and I don’t agree with that coming back into style anytime soon, so that would be the one thing.
Insider: What do you think are your woman’s must-haves?
April: A tailored jacket, obviously I prefer black suit jackets, I think that they’re amazing. Also, just some great pumps, because you’re always going to need those for a cocktail event, or just to wear with skinny jeans and a great jacket. I also have a lot of black skinny jeans that I wear often.
Insider: Is there a specific company that you like a lot?
April: I love Levi’s. I’m totally a Levi’s girl. I just think that they’re great, and they’re really durable. I love Joe’s jeans too, I love a pair of jeans that don’t feel like they’re thin and are going to rip. You buy these jeans, and they’re 200 dollars, and then the knee rips, so I love a good pair of Levi’s jeans.
Insider: It’s always brought up that you don’t usually like to use color, and you gravitate more towards black. What is it about black, and why don’t you go towards color?
April: I’m very colorful in my personality and I’m a very friendly person, and I just love gothic romanticism, and I love dark, musky colors, blacks and greys. I feel like I’m a European renaissance woman, trapped in a 22-year-old’s body. I just can’t get out of that, and it’s just something that is me. I’m just not a color-crazy person, I’ve been though that time in my life, and I feel like I went through that to grow up and be who I am now. That’s just who I am and what I like to wear, and a lot of people are like, "She just designs in black!." But there’s a lot of people that just like black, so hey, that’s my clientele.
Insider: Now that you’re off the show, who are you rooting for?
April: I would say Mila [Hermanovski], just because she’s the most fashion forward out of the group. I love her very modern, very clean, contemporary aesthetic. I think that she’s very good at constructing garments impeccably. She has a great eye for fashion, and I think that she is, by far, one of the most talented people there. I also thought Rami [Kashou] was really talented until last night, and then the challenge before that [laughs]. He’s kind of gone down on my scale, but I definitely think that Mila is talented.
Insider: There’s a lot of interesting personalities on the show, was there anyone that just drove you crazy, and got on your nerves?
April: Kenley [Collins] definitely got on my nerves at times, because she likes to talk way too much, and way too loud. I’m the type of person that just sort of goes with the flow; I’m really like a southern gal. I seriously watch Swamp People, and I go hunting and fishing … on the weekend. I’m not like one of those really "flowery" people, and I feel like it got a little "valley girl" at the house at times and in the workroom and all that hype and talking, like girly-girl gossip just drove me crazy. It got a little bit overwhelming, but you really can’t help it because you’re kind of like stuck with these people, so you kind of just have to learn how to have a little bit of selective hearing.
Insider: So where are you based out of now?
April: Savannah, Georgia.
Insider: What is next for you then?
April: I am getting married March 9th in Bonaventure Cemetery which is here in Savannah. My designs will be featured in Jane by Design on episode seven on ABC Family. I’ve just been working with Spring’s Creative Industries; I have a fabric collection that’s in Jo-Ann’s stores nationwide. I’ve just been busy doing all kinds of stuff.
Insider: I didn’t know you had a fiancé, can you tell us a little bit about him?
April: Yeah, he was in the army as a ranger for nine years, and he just got out last September. We met three years ago, and we have two dogs and we live downtown. He’s a great guy, and we’re just happy in love.