Barbara Nitke/ Lifetime TV
Project Runway Mila: Egos Were the Hardest Part
TheInsider.com caught up with Project Runway All-Stars' color-blocking pro Mila Hermanovski after untimely departure from Lifetime's hit show. In the interview, Mila reveals what she thinks of all the big egos, who went home too early and whom she wants to win it all!
The Insider: How did it feel to be on the show again?
Mila: It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. It was one of those, ‘oh, why did I come here again?’ moments. It’s definitely a rollercoaster.
The Insider: So then what made you come on the show again?
Mila: I’m trying to develop my collection, my line and my business. I’m not out to be a celebrity; I’m out from the standpoint to promote my work more than anything, and be out there in the media again, which will hopefully help me to launch my line.
The Insider: What have you been up to since season seven?
Mila: I’m definitely working on collections, but I have to pay the bills. I’m self-funding now, so in my day to day job I work in costuming in television and film. I’ve been working on the Star Trek sequel since October, which is an amazing opportunity for me; it’s kind of a dream job. It’s amazing and then crazy at the same time for me because I’m building a collection, and I’m trying to show it, I’ve got about 25 looks so far that I’m trying to show in fashion week. That has been challenging for me, but I couldn’t say no to Star Trek!
The Insider: How did it feel to go home when you did?
Mila: I was utterly gutted, to be honest. I was very shocked, and I think it’s interesting in the editing too, I think I came across as pretty confident in my design last night, and I was! I felt so good about it, and you know, there are certain challenges that you don’t feel good about, and you know you’ll be in the bottom and you get it, but last night I honestly felt like I would have earned more props than that, and that I might even be in the top.
The Insider: Do you feel like you were the one who should have gone home?
Mila: No, I really don’t actually. I felt like my dress was actually wearable by some people. It was avant-garde, I don’t think the judges understood or related to my design, it was maybe a little bit too conceptual for them, and I was also bummed that they didn’t acknowledge or understand that this was my interpretation as an artist, and yes, it was a little bit out there, so for me, I think they thought that I was just doing what I wanted to do, which is true. That is what you’re supposed to do on Project Runway, you’re supposed to be true to your point of view and true to yourself as a designer, that’s what we were always taught and what was engrained into us when we went through my season. They want you to have a distinct point of view, because that’s what a successful fashion designer does.
The Insider: Who do you think should have gone home last night?
Mila: I feel like it could have been Jerell [Scott], because his design was way too costume like, and it was kind of sloppy. I also feel like it could have been Austin [Scarlett], because I don’t think he stretched himself creatively very much. A lot of the designers defaulted to their comfort zones, and I really pushed myself, and then I got criticized for it and sent home, so I don’t think that was very fair.
The Insider: The judging seems to be very odd this year. Other designers I have interviewed said they just don’t want some of the designers there any more? Do you agree?
Mila: I agree completely. I feel like I wasn’t wanted there anymore, I feel like they never understood me as a designer and that this is just my interpretation. I feel like the judges never really got me or understood me. I was doing my best work, and it wasn’t acknowledged very much, and I definitely missed the original judging panel. I missed having an editorial perspective from the judging panel, i.e. Nina Garcia. I loved having Joanna [Coles] as a mentor, but she wasn’t a judge, and that would have been nice to have her as a judge, even though she is kind of harsh sometimes. I feel like when you’re a fashion designer as a judge, you have your own point of view, and it’s hard to look at everyone objectively, whereas a fashion editor sees every collection, every season, so they understand lots of different points of view.
The Insider: Isaac Mizrahi said that women tend to design for themselves, whereas men design for everybody -- do you think that is true for the designers on the show?
Mila: I do actually believe that a lot of women do that; however you could criticize men for the opposite. There’s two sides to everything, and you could say for example, that men don’t think about women’s undergarments, and men sometimes dress women as dolls, and don’t think about the practicality. I think that Austin [Scarlett] maybe does that a little bit, he goes into this fantasy land with his work a lot, just as an example. There are a lot of female designers out there, like Phoebe Philo, who is one of my icons, she designs for Céline, and I think she’s even said that she thinks about what she likes to wear. Sometimes it’s super successful for women to have great taste in clothes, and who think about what they would like to wear -- I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes it doesn’t succeed.
The Insider: You criticized Kenley Collins for making the same thing over and over again but I feel like you have a really distinct style, and make similar things and have a very distinct look. Do you agree?
Mila: No, because what I’m really referring to is the silhouette, and I think that I change up my silhouettes. My color blocking is more of a technique, and I apply it in a lot of different ways. I don’t always have the same fit all the time, and the sort of princess foundation, so I don’t really think that you can compare the two.
The Insider: Do you think the right people are going home?
Mila: No, I really don’t. I was also shocked with Rami Kashou’s departure, I was certain he would make it to the final three. His style and my style are very different, but I always look at things objectively, and I think he’s an incredible designer with mad skills, and his construction is amazing. When you look at the final five right now, I think it’s kind of shocking. I think there are some people there who most people would not expect to be in the final five.
The Insider: Are there any trends right now that you just don’t like?
Mila: The antithesis of what I’m about is the whole "boho" movement, so I’m really sick of that. I think it’s probably on its way out, but I’m really sick of the earthy vibe that is happening in fashion. I saw some of the runway shows from New York Fashion Week, and I don’t know if it’s a trend, but the Marc Jacobs show was like "WTF"?!
The Insider: What do you think are every woman’s wardrobe must-haves?
Mila: I think a trench coat is the best piece you can have because you can dress it up or down, you can pack it, layer with it, it’s just a must-have.
The Insider: What was the hardest part about being on All-Stars?
Mila: Probably dealing with all of those egos in one room [laughs]. It’s not your usual cast. When you’re on the regular season of Project Runway, you’ve got a little bit more of the soft-spoken and the loud-spoken, and this was all big egos in the room. That was hard, and then there were definitely also some cliques that formed, and so from a personality standpoint, that was kind of hard. It’s already a stressful process, and you don’t want to have to deal with personality drama. We should have all just gotten along, but there was a lot of snarkiness going on too.
The Insider: Who would you say the cliques were?
Mila: Kenley, Kara [Janx], Austin, and then Jerell liked to play both sides a little bit. And then it was like Mondo [Guerra], Michael [Costello], April [Johnston] and myself. Rami just tries to stay neutral, although he got into that Kara, Anthony [Williams] and Michael BFF action, and then Gordana [Gehlhausen] is just awesome, and she’s like an adult, she’s neutral.
The Insider: What is next for you?
Mila: I’m trying to make this fashion show happen in LA next month, during fashion week, and then a week after that is El Paseo Fashion Week in Palm Springs, and there’s one day out of that, the 21st of March, that about five other Project Runway designers and myself will be showing our collections. Beyond that, I’m booked on Star Trek until early May, so after that, who knows? I’ll probably be on to the next collection.
The Insider: Who are you rooting for?
Mila: Out of the five that are left, I think that Mondo is the one with the strongest point of view and the most talent, and that’s who I’m rooting for.