Project Runway's Nathan: Ven was Disrespectful
TheInsider.com caught up with Project Runway's recent runway cast off, Nathan Paul. The even-keeled and soft spoken designer talks about being underrepresented on the show, Ven Budha's disrespectful attitude to curvaceous women and keeping his integrity while on the Lifetime show.
TheInsider.com: How do you feel about going home?
Nathaniel Paul: I was okay with it because the thing is for me and my personality I hold very true to my values and my integrity. …And I feel like I stayed true to my values and my integrity and I felt like I did not compromise my values or my integrity and if the result was me getting eliminated from the show, I’m okay with that.
TheInsider.com: Do you wish you did anything different with your popstar makeover design?
Nathan Paul: …In terms of the design and how she felt in the garment that I made for her, no. How she walked in it and just the way her face lit up, I wouldn’t change that because that’s where I get joy out of this whole process: making people happy, making people feel beautiful about themselves in giving them that confidence that they need. I am satisfied with that.
TheInsider.com: Several people have quit the show, why do you think so many people have left this season of their own free will?
Nathan Paul: I think it’s the pressure being too much. You start off on a pathway and you think you can handle something but you don’t know you can handle something until you encounter that situation. You don’t know how you are going to respond until you are faced with situation you have to respond to. There are different kinds of people, different kinds of mentality and some people aren’t cut out for this type of public display of your talent, your personality, your feelings and being so exposed and naked in front of the world. And others aren’t able to handle that.
TheInsider.com: You were not heavily featured on the show, what do you think of your edit and your lack of being on the show?
Nathan Paul: The show is supposed to be about clothing and for me I wanted it to be about clothing so I wanted my clothing to speak for itself, although I can’t ignore the fact that it’s a television series and it’s for entertainment. But for me and the way that I view things … I’d rather be known the good work that I do and my integrity and being dependable, being non confrontational because at the end of the day this is one series and I want to have a lasting career in fashion. And in order for me to have that, I need people to be able to take me seriously. I need to be respected for my work. I don’t want to be a caricature of myself. I don’t have issues with the way that I was portrayed. .. I think it was very respectful of the producers. …I think they portrayed me in a good light. I don’t have any regrets about the way I played "the game."
TheInsider.com: Ven Budha seemed to be unhappy with his more curvaceous model, basically calling her fat. What was it like in the work room during that time?
Nathaniel Paul: It was quite intense and it was uncomfortable especially for me because I cater to a larger women in a lot of my collections. My last show, I did a mixed size show with sizes 0 to 24 in there because I believe in beauty and internal beauty. It was difficult for me knowing that Ven had a problem with his client being a larger size. We come in all shapes and sizes. Coming from an African American background, I have all of those women in my life. I found it to be a bit disrespectful. … I think we all should be challenged as designers to be able to find beauty in every shape and size.
TheInsider.com: Did you enjoy the "real woman" challenge?
Nathan Paul: Those kids of challenges -- I absolutely love them. Because for me the reward is in the way that garment makes that woman feel when she puts it on, how she boosts her confidence, how she walks differently that’s what is important to me as a designer. Those kinds of challenges -- I absolutely love. Different size ranges, short, tall, thin, or fluffy, I like to say fluffy because I think it’s fun, bring it on! We have to promote beauty.
TheInsider.com: Last week Raul Osorio blew up at the other designers after he got kicked off, this week was a much different scene. How did it feel when Tim said you had “profound qualities of character’?
Nathan Paul: Even on that day to hear him say those things about me with such warm regard I had no idea. I knew we had connected and that he understood me as a designer. I rarely got any negative critiques from him. But to hear him talk about my character, which is something that was very important to me, it made it all worthwhile. He understood what I was trying to bring to the competition and it wasn’t just my talent, but it was be a person of character and still be in the competition and hold your standards true.