On Wednesday’s episode of Project Runway, Heidi Klum eliminated designer Carmen Webber after she put up an incomplete menswear outfit for their challenge. Former NFL running back and Today Show correspondent Tiki Barber was the guest celebrity that they had to design the outfit for. At the age of 39, Carmen is an accomplished designer and author. She owns her own store in New York City and felt right at home among the high caliber contestants on Project Runway. Today, she talked to BuddyTV about her time on the show and her busy life off screen.
Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.
Hey everybody. This is Gina from BuddyTV, and I’m talking to Carmen from Project Runway.
Hi Gina, how are you? Good morning.
Hi Carmen, how you doing?
Great, thank you.
I’m wondering if when you were growing up if designing clothes was always something that you wanted to do?
Yes it is, along with being a dancer, singer, and architect. You know how kids are, where you’re interested in so many different things. But I actually like dancing and acting at the top of the list, and then I went into fashion design. I actually started architecture when I went into college, and then just went into fashion.
You’re just creative all over the place.
I am, actually.
Now have you watched past seasons of Project Runway?
Not so many. I’ve seen one, I think it was season two.
And is the audition process pretty intense? With those shows on Bravo, like Top Chef and Project Runway, it’s such a high caliber of contestants participating.
Yes. I’m not a shy person at all, and I’m usually very good in front of the camera because I’ve done a lot in front of the camera. I was quite shocked at how intimidating it was, because I don’t intimidate very well. You walk in, and all of a sudden it’s bright light, cameras are on you, and there’s a panel of people with Tim Gunn being one of them. A lot of us contestants are Tim Gunn fans, so it was quite interesting, my first couple of words were just kind of choked up and I was like “give me one moment, please.” And Tim was like “it’s okay, take your time.” Once I kind of got over that I was fine.
How did you feel about your one on one time with Tim? Did he give you a lot of advice that you were able to use?
He didn’t really spend as much time with me as he did with the other contestants, and I wasn’t sure if that was because he felt okay with some of the things I was doing, or if there were just other people he felt like needed more of his time on certain things. I think, to be honest with you, I appreciated a lot of what Michael Kors had to say whenever we were on the stand.
It’s gotta be crazy with the time restraints and then the budget restraints. How do you deal with all that?
You just have to deal with it. I try to stay focused and I consider myself a spiritual person, so I always try my best to do as much chanting and meditation in the morning and throughout the day as I needed to really stay focused. You have 15 designers in a small sewing room, and of all the machines they only gave us one serger. If you’re not familiar with a serger or overlap machine, these are the machines that you need when you have any type of stretch material that you’re using. To just have one of those, we were just all floored. There’s 15 designers, and you’re asking us to share one serger or overlap machine? Stuff like that, stuff like having three professional irons and then two of them are out, and then we only have one. So all those things kind of played into our stress levels of course, and then the hours were crazy because we’re staying up late, running around, and stuff like that.
Now in the last challenge, Jack used his own clothes as a pattern for the design. Did you think that was fair? Were you okay with it?
He asked permission and Tim Gunn told him it was okay. It would be different if he did not ask permission and he kept going, but he asked permission, Tim gave him permission, and said it was okay. You can’t fault him. He did what he had to do to get the project done, and he was gracious enough to share his pant pattern with whoever wanted to use it. I don’t fault Jack for that. He did what he had to do, it’s a competition, he got approved on it, so how can anybody be mad? I understand where other people might be disgruntled about it, but I wasn’t.
So from what you’ve seen being on the show and then watching it back, which designers are really impressing you so far?
Well, everyone impressed me so far. Even with as crazy as Elisa is, I really feel she’s more of a gallery artist than she is a fashion designer, and I respect what she does as a gallery artist. But every other contestant I feel came to the plate with such talent, and I really was and really am honored to be a part of season four. There were people that had really high caliber standards of fashion design and backgrounds, and that made me feel great. I think that every single designer had something great to bring to the plate.
What’s in the future for you? What’s next for you?
I am a full time fashion designer, I own my own company, I write fashion books and illustrate fashion books, and have a lot of great things going on. This is my career, this is not something I got into as just a contest. Like I said, in season four we’re all professionals, all of us either have owned our own businesses or are in the business. I will continue to be in fashion, and I’m doing a lot of great, fun things with the fashion writing. I have a great literary agent and we’re continuing to publish books. Yeah, I’m in fashion for life, until my last breath.
You’re just so busy. Do you have a website where fans can keep up on what you’re doing?
Absolutely. It’s sistahsofharlem.com. And for those people that live in New York, you can always check out my latest fashions, including collections, at a boutique called The Edge. That’s at 65 Bleeker Street between Broadway and Lafayette in New York.
Well, thank you so much Carmen. I really appreciate your time, and I can’t wait for the readers to hear what you have to say.
Thank you so much.
– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of Bravo)