Fashion designer Korto Momolu
wanted to wait until the right time to try out for Project Runway
. As a wife and mother, she felt that waiting until her daughter was as little older before applying would be best. It turns out - her timing was great. Korto tried out for season 5, got onto the show, and made it all the way to final two. Along the way, she earned herself a solid fan base and the exposure she was hoping for in order to launch her line of clothing and accessories. Korto spoke to BuddyTV in an exclusive interview about her time on the show, opening up about her favorite design, what she would have done differently, and what lies ahead for her in the future.
Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.
Can you tell me what made you decide to try out for Project Runway this season and get on reality tv to showcase your work?
I’ve always wanted to be on the show. I just waited until I was ready, just mentally, for it ‘cause it’s so … it’s crazy. You expose to yourself to so much, positive or negative. I waited for my daughter to be a little before I had to leave her. I said I was gonna try out this one time and if I got on, great, and if I didn’t, I’d move on.
Was it difficult for you to leave your family to come do this for a while?
It was, especially more my child because my husband and I, we’ve had long distance relationships but leaving your 4-year-old and she’s a little girl… it was very hard for me. It was definitely a sacrifice. I wanted it to be worth it.
What was the toughest part of being on Project Runway, for you?
Being so open emotionally, watching myself just kind of let it all hang out on that and everybody involved watching me and criticism, not just from the judges but stranger who don’t know you who have a comment to say about you. That’s probably the hardest.
Well, I know that my favorite thing that you designed this season was in the Fashion That Drives You challenge. I’m just wondering what is your favorite thing that you designed?
Oh that was it, the seatbelt coat. It weighed like 50 pounds but I loved it. I just really felt like that was my defining moment in the competition.
Your model rocked that coat like it did not weigh 50 pounds at all. She made it look like it was very lightweight!
Oh my God, she did. It was so heavy and then with all the seams under the arms. Oh my God. After that, I told her, “Girl, I’m taking you to Bryant Park and I’m never gonna trade you out.” She was a trooper. I love Katarina.
Is there a challenge that you look back at this season wish you could’ve done better?
Oh yeah, definitely! The second challenge where the models have to go get the green fabric. I wish I could do it all over again. I took a chance on something, it didn’t work, but luckily, I had that first challenge that kind of showed who I was as a designer and that saved me. Definitely, I’d go do that one over again. That was my first time in the bottom and the only time for me I was in a bad, bad place on the show.
When you went home to work on your collection, how much time and effort did you have to put into it to complete it?
I had to put in a lot of time because you know, I have a family. Working during the day was really hard. I usually had to work once everybody went to sleep at night and during the day when my daughter was at school. There was a lot of juggling and finding time to still be a mom and a wife. It was really hard for me. I had a lot to juggle but I had to do it and I did it.
What does it mean to you, as a designer, to be able to present your work at Fashion Week, at Bryant Park, in New York City?
That was the awesomest part. Honestly, that day, it just felt like we were all winners because we all got to show. To be able to show in that arena… none of us would’ve been able to afford it on our own but we had everything kind of laid out. All we had to do was show up with the clothes. It was amazing and it was definitely a gift. I felt really blessed to be there, it was definitely a dream of mine and I definitely feel like I fulfilled it. In that moment, if I could stop it and play it over and over, I would. It just went by so quickly.
Have you started looking into the future and planning on what you’re going to do next?
Definitely, I do want to keep showing at Fashion Week and not have that be my one and only time there. I’m working on my Fall ’09 collection and just really trying to get it all together and move on to the next step. What am I gonna focus on? Is it gonna be the accessories first and then the clothing? I do have a clothing line but I can probably start with my accessories and see where that takes me. The sky’s the limit. My phone’s open so I’m hoping some phone calls are gonna come through from someone who saw something in me and believed in me and wants to back me financially so we can get it going.
Is there anything you want to say to your fans and to the people who supported you this season?
Definitely to my fans with the emails they sent me and the good wishes, thank you. Some days, you just feel like crap and you read this email and it lifts your spirit. To know that I encouraged so many other people, whether it’s women, full figured women, or women that work and have families and still have passions that they put aside or my fellow immigrants that come to this country with nothing and think that they can’t do what they intended to do in their own countries. Just let them know to keep going and keep praying about it and keep focusing on what your dream is. Be a good person and it’ll all come true because it happened to me. I never would have thought that I’d be here on Project Runway in the top two and it was amazing. I appreciate the votes for fan favorite, I love ‘em. Check out my website, www.kortomomolu.com, for what’s coming up next for me. I respect everybody. Thank you.
- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of Bravo)