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''Runway'' exit interview: Chris

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Project Runway
Barbara Nitke

If you’re a fan of Project Runway (or any reality show), then you know that leaders of losing teams usually get the ax. Such was the case on last night’s Runway, when Chris, the costume/wig designer, stuck his neck out. But forced to work with a fashion faux pas like shoulder pads, who wouldn’t have wanted to cut his own head off?

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did you think when you saw Nina come in to announce the challenge? In past seasons, contestants have said she’s one of the meaner judges.
CHRIS MARCH: We all had a whole bunch of different ideas about what the challenge could be because they said it was someone we were familiar with and she was going to have old friends with her. So we were all trying to figure out what was going on. Then when we all saw Nina and we saw the trends, I think we had this idea that doom was coming our way.

It was a team challenge, and team leaders have usually been doomed in the past. Do you regret being leader? Do you wish you had stayed in the background?
Well, no — it’s just kind of the way that I am to take that kind of position. I’m good at it, and I think in those circumstances, with Sweet P and Steven, I was the obvious choice for team leader. And, yes, I do realize that on Project Runway being the team leader is basically putting your head on the chopping block. But I did what I did at the time, and I don’t regret it.

At what point did you say to yourself, ”I’m in trouble”?
I think when they brought all the teams out on the runway and chose Jillian’s team and then excused Christian’s team — you kind of get this dreaded feeling that something bad is about to happen. At least you’re going to get criticized, and at worst you’ll be up for elimination. That’s when it hits you.

There was some team infighting going on last night. Did you know Victorya and Ricky were having such strong disagreements?
I did know that Victorya and Ricky were having a lot of difficulty. I didn’t know the extent of the problems until watching the show last night. I was kind of surprised myself.

Who did you think would win? Christian seemed pretty cocky that he had it in the bag.
I thought that Jillian’s team was going to win. They had very polished and cohesive pieces in their collection. And they all fit very well and they used their trends well. So I think Jillian’s team was an obvious choice.

You got stuck with some tough trends to work with. Did you really feel like your shoulder pads were ”mother of the bride,” as Michael Kors said?
Maybe a little bit, but I agree more with his ”pageant” comment. Our team had the last three trends chosen, so that was difficult — we had some real stinkers to deal with.

Can shoulder pads ever look modern?
Boy, I don’t know. Maybe if you use them as pockets or something.

So what’s next for you?
I just got an offer to do costumes for a movie, which is great, and I also got an offer to design a wig store here in New York. If you’ve been to my Web site, you know I that make giant wigs, so it’s funny for me to design a wig store. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Do you feel like you’re already seeing results in your professional life from being on the show?
Yes, and also from the sheer amount of people who come up to me and say how much they liked me on the show and how much they liked my designs. It’s definitely a life-changing experience.

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