Exclusive Interview: Stella Zotis of 'Project Runway'
Exclusive Interview: Stella Zotis of 'Project Runway'
Project Runway designer Stella Zotis is no dummy.  She knew full well, coming into this competition, that her style was very different than what the judges were looking for.  The great thing about Stella, though, is that she didn't care.  She was unwilling to compromise her style or her point of view to get ahead.  This lover of urban styles and working with leather survived this far until she was cut from the competition last night.  The designers were asked to create a piece for Dian von Furstenberg's fall collection but Stella's design fell short she she was sent packing.  Today, she talked to BuddyTV in an exclusive interview and, just like on the show, she didn't hold back.

Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.

Hey everybody, this is Gina from BuddyTV and today, I'm talking to Stella from Project Runway. Can you tell me a little bit about your background in fashion design and how you got started?

My background in fashion design is - I just come from a family who sews. I mean, my family, my parents, my grandparents ... they worked for a manufacturers that work for a part of Greece called Kastoria and that's where there's fur traders and manufacturers and that was our family trade. I didn't go to school for fashion design, however. I did business, international marketing, but I always sewed and I always was around it. I wasn't happy doing anything I really studied. After makeup, I got really bored of doing the makeup, and I didn't feel like doing it anymore, it was a hobby for me to sew so I just started sew more and more. My makeup clients wanted clothes from me because they would see the ones that I had. So that's how it started.

How would you describe your style, or your point of view, when it comes to your designs?

My style, my point of view, I mean... it's very urban. It's very Manhattan-like. It's concrete jungle. It's not billowy and beachy and whatever. It's got sharp edges, it's tailored, it's formal outlined yet it's rock. The fabrics - it's handsome. It's like a masculine kind of a style.

Did you worry, when you came on Project Runway, that your style wouldn't vibe with what the judges were looking for?

I really didn't care. I didn't care. That's what I'm there to do just like other people come and create some obnoxious stuff on that show, it's like I didn't come there and put my stuff on there too like I don't care. I'm there to show what I can do. However, I have learned and I can do more now and I incorporated it into my design and it's broadened my mind a little bit more. I am interested in a little bit more softer sillouettes for certain things but no, I didn't care what they thought, no.

Which challenge do you think you struggled with the most this season?

I think the first challenge was the most struggle for me and I'll tell you why. I wasn't prepared, number one, in what I was looking for. I never really watched the show before, maybe 4-5 times. I didn't study it, I didn't study the challenge. Other designers even auditioned 2, 3, 4 times before they got accepted. I got picked right away. Tim Gunn saw the construction of my stuff, the style and the attitude of what I made, and he was very hoping that I could bring that to the show. It was hard to bring that to the show because my stuff is a complete different animal from what the show represents. My stuff is leather, different machines, different ways of working it, different everything. Past the first one, I started feeling better, you know? Everything was just a regular challenge and I started taking it as it was and they were all difficult for me, to be honest with you, because challenges are that way. They're a little scary sometimes.

Well, which designers this season are impressing you? Is there anyone that you're really pulling for?

I really like Kenley Collins. She has a lot of fantasy, she's got a lot of zest for life, that one. She's got real personality and it's strong. It shows in her clothes. She really sticks by what she does. She, if anybody, stands by her design. It's her. I love the way she likes to mix and match all her prints. She doesn't play it safe. I think she's one to look out for.

And what's in the future for you now, Stella?

I'm probably going to be selling my clothes out of my sister's art gallery in the lower East side. I might even set up shop in there and do a little sewing myself. I really feel like this show was a true blessing to me, as tough as it was. It was very educational, it taught me to edit for mass production and I think that is the key.

Well, I just wanted to thank you so much, Stella. Good luck. I hope we get to meet up in the future.

I hope so too.

- Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

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