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'Project Runway' exit Q&A: Terri Stevens

It wasn’t in the stars for the promising pants-loving designer, who tells us what she found more shocking — Keith’s attitude or being the second bootee of the week. Then, see what Blayne Walsh, also eliminated on yesterday’s show, had to say

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Project Runway, Project Runway
Barbara Nitke

The second Project Runway cast-off last night was Terri Stevens, the Foxy Cleopatra look-alike whose designs usually involved pants. Doing a look inspired by the Leo astrological sign, the judges said her outfit, which was partially covered in fur, was too costumey. But what does she think? Terri dialed us up to talk about Keith’s attitude last night, her now classic sound bite, and what she would have done had she made it to Bryant Park.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m so excited to talk to you, Terri. I was sad to see you go last night.

TERRI STEVENS: If you were sad, you know I was sad, right?

I know, I was sure we were going to get to see a Bryant Park collection from you.

Oh, you don’t even know the dreams I have of it. In my head, it was going to be the sickest fashion show people have ever seen in their life.

What did you envision for it? Shake it up? Or do your Terri sportswear stuff?

I am rock and roll — if you’d throw Mick Jagger, Aerosmith, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, and Madonna all up in there, funking and break-dancing. It was going to pretty much be street art on the runway. It was going to be rough — just really rough. In my mind, I’m smiling right now because I see it. I see the hair. I see the models that weigh like zero pounds.

Ah, I can see it too! But moving on…

America mourns! America mourns today.

Were you shocked to go?

I was definitely surprised because I thought I did Leo, and I think I brought it. Like, I know I did. I don’t know what they were thinking. I looked at it on the runway and thought, ”Okay, what’s the issue?” While the judges were making their decisions, I told Korto that I was going home. She was like, ”Don’t say that! We just prayed together.” And I said, ”I believe that God is telling me that they’ve already made their decision.” There was something about it. The judges just could not look at me at all. Like, no one was looking at me.

So, do you think you leaving was a decision of the producers? Suede’s look was way worse than yours. Do you think they said, ‘Let’s go for the character instead of the person who can actually design?’

I’m sorry, but you know I provided some good sound bites! I’m just being me, and I make people laugh and pee their pants. Sorry, I mean, ”I don’t have no babies, I don’t need nobody sucking on my titties,” c’mon now!

I loved it when you said that! Do people quote that back to you all the time?

Oh, my gosh, yes! I get them yelling. They’ll be like, ”Do you have balls or va-jay-jay?!?” [Laughs hysterically] And I was serious! I’m like, I’m going to go up there and cup him and see what I got. I may have a drag queen myself — a hybrid. I don’t know, whatever it is, he needs to man up to this challenge.

NEXT PAGE: ”You could see previously that there was going to be a Terri backlash, and Jerell headed it all up. I still, to this day, don’t understand what I did to Jerell besides be a good competitor.”

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: On the look you did last night, would you have changed anything?

TERRI STEVENS: My look was never supposed to be that! I had to use the fur because some of my fabrics were missing. You could see previously that there was going to be a Terri backlash, and Jerell headed it all up. I still, to this day, don’t understand what I did to Jerell besides be a good competitor. There was never an infraction, and I stepped up to him — and now maybe I’m packing balls — because I stepped up to him and was like, ”I’m noticing some attitude. We used to be cool. What’s going on?” If someone comes to me with that approach, you’re supposed to say something. He was like, ”Uhhh, uhhh.” I was like, ”OK, so basically you have nothing?”

Maybe he was just threatened?

They all kept saying I had a sweatshop under the table. That’s what I do — I sew fast and quickly. I don’t drape. I don’t cut-out. I just go. While people are already doing things — draping or whatever — I already have the pieces done. So, I mean, I made pants, but they’re probably the sickest pair of pants you’ve ever seen in your life. But they forget about the skirts and dresses and the corsets and the jackets. Like, I gave you many layers versus one, every challenge.

So what about the pants. They were just your point of view, right?

Well, if I didn’t do it, no one brought it. I get so tired of people thinking that designing is all about a girl in a dress. It’s not. Like, I did do a dress. I did dresses with pants. I’m a tomboy — I sit with my legs spread wide open. That’s what I do. If I do it in a skirt, I make sure it’s long. But yes, I do pants, and that’s what I do. But I can work with anything: I’ve done leather jackets, I’ve done fur, and I’ve worked with all types of fabrics.

I loved when you did the New York nightlife challenge, using the photo of graffiti as your inspiration.

Oh, my God. Ohhh, I loved it. I think Sandra Bernhard still has her mouth open from what I did on the runway. She couldn’t believe it! She got my girl. When I came out and saw that the special guest judge was Sandra Bernhard, I was so excited. Tim was like, ”You’re taking a risk,” and I was like, ”I’m willing to take a risk.” When I saw Sandra, I went to Korto and said, ”I’m OK.”

Was Korto a good friend?

Yeah. I hate that they portrayed her as the angry black woman. She was so funny! She is funny. Hilarious. Like, she was the first one to crack the joke on the scarecrow jacket. They made it look like I was dissing her, but she said it in the first place!

So with Keith last night — was he just harboring a grudge?

I had helped Keith on several challenges. I totally helped him on the Olympic challenge. First of all, I think most of it was for the camera. He was like, ”Terri, you’re really hard to work with.” I hate to put something back in someone’s face, but I was like, ”Was I difficult to work with when I stitched in your zipper for the Olympic challenge? When I sewed your belt for you in the Olympic challenge? When I hemmed your skirt for that challenge?” You know, I wasn’t difficult at all then. Many of the cast could tell you I helped them. I sewed in everyone’s zipper on the second challenge because they didn’t know how to sew in a zipper. So, I’m like, all of a sudden, there’s a backlash. I can’t take it back. They asked me, ”Looking back, would you not have helped everyone?” That’s me. That’s just what I do.

Where are we going to find Terri going forward?

Terri has her line going on. My website just launched, www.terristevens.net. You can see me in several boutiques in Chicago, and I’m hoping to see my clothes in beautiful boutiques in Brazil and Paris. And you’ll see me at Fashion Week.

More Project Runway:

Project Runway exit Q&A: Blayne Walsh

Project Runway recap: Bad signs