SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! FOR THE LOVE OF CUCKOO CHANEL, SPOILER ALERT! If you have not seen last night’s episode of Project Runway and do not want to find out who was eliminated, then do not read any further.
Despite producing an edgy collection full of his signature figure-hugging embellishments, Jay Nicolas Sario could not beat Mila Hermanovski for the third slot in the season 7 finals. We chatted with the San Francisco-based designer about showing at Bryant Park as a decoy, judges’ hypocrisy, and his fear of breasts.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling the morning after your elimination episode?
Jay Nicolas Sario: [Laughs] I feel very supported. I have a lot of friends who watch the show, and my family — they’ve always given me this unconditional love. So it’s a little sad that I went home, but I’m not grieving over it. It happened two months ago and I got over it.
It must help that you did get to show at Bryant Park, even if you weren’t competing. When did you learn that you would be showing, regardless of what happened between you and Mila?
Yes, regardless of what happens between me and her, I knew that I still was gonna show. It’s so funny because the producers kind of tricked me during my home visit. They mentioned something like, “If you lose, you know that you might not be able to show even as a decoy.” And I was like, Ok-ay. I think they just said that to make me want this even more. Seriously.
So they were trying to manipulate your emotions?
How nice of them!
[Laughs] See what happens behind the show?
Okay, so when did you know there would be 10 designers showing?
When they picked up my collection in January, two weeks before fashion week. Amy [Sarabi, a fellow season seven contestant] lives in Oakland and the guy who picked up her collection was the same guy who picked up my collection. I signed the same papers as her — her name was on the list. I was like, Why is Amy’s name here? [Laughs] And then I called Janeane, and Janeane was like, “Yeah, I’m showing.” I knew Anthony was showing. So I was like, Holy s—! There’s 10 designers at Fashion Week!
How did you feel about that? To me, it diminished the achievement of the finalists.
I definitely agree with you. I kind of lost my appetite to win the competition or to even beat Mila. It sucked because they gave us the same amount of money, the same amount of time. They had the same restrictions as us. So it was kind of weird. I was like, Really? Why am I doing this? When Amy or Jonathan or other designers are doing the same thing, it’s like, what’s the point of this whole entire competition?
Did you have a sense of how the judges would vote, either you or Mila, by the time they were deliberating, after your runway Q&A?
Mila has a really strong point of view and I know that I do too. At that point, I was like, How the hell are these judges gonna pick between the two of us when Mila loves black and white and I love color? I went back to New York thinking, I bet they’re going to ask both of us to show and have the four of us in the finals. Mila felt the same way. Seth Aaron, Emilio — everyone was feeling the same thing.
In last night’s episode, you seemed very confident in your video interviews. You weren’t even entertaining the possibility that Mila would beat you. Was that confidence genuine or was it for the sake of TV?
That’s a true, genuine feeling of mine. Even if Mila and I both made it, I would have beat her, to be honest with you. I felt that confidence to beat her because I showed a collection that is innovative, not boring. It’s exciting, it’s feminine, it’s sellable, it’s mass but at the same time, it’s not so mass.
Why did you dislike Mila so much throughout the season? You said it on camera a lot.
It started from the very beginning. I think Mila and I rubbed each other the wrong way. She’s kind of like this prissy — not prissy but, like, pissy girl. She thinks she’s better than everyone else. And she exuded that the whole entire time. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Everybody else feels the same way. Yeah, I dislike her merely because I thought she was fake, not genuine, and too confident for the fact that she only does the things that she’s been doing.
So when you guys had your detente in the hotel room, that was just temporary? You still maintain that you dislike her?
I don’t know what is Mila’s and [my] future. I’m not looking for a friendship. What I said when I went back to New York was genuine. I’m not gonna talk s— about her and I’m hoping she’s gonna do the same thing because it’s water under the bridge. That’s what she said to me before we parted. So I just I hope that we can be grown-ups and move on. At the end of the day, we did a television show and it was entertaining and we did it for TV.
I’m pretty sure that you are the first contestant in the history of Project Runway ever to be flashed by Heidi. Is that an honor?
[Laughs hard] To be honest with you, I’ve always been scared of breasts. I’m scared of boobs. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m gay — boobs scare the shit out of me. But when Heidi flashed me her boobs, it was an honor. When that episode aired, all my straight friends were like, “Dude, we’re so jealous of you right now.”
And it was lost on you. Maybe you’re an ass man. You said during the Heidi red-carpet challenge that you like to give women big butts.
Yeah, yeah, exactly! [Laughs]
Speaking of which, during that challenge, the judges accused you of giving your model a big butt, which I thought was ridiculous.
I didn’t really care at that point about what they had to say because it sounded like they were being hypocrites. I should have not won that second challenge, then, because it’s the same exact silhouette. I was thinking in the back of my head, Okay, these bitches are being hypocrites.
Right. They’re just gonna do what they want anyway. Who are you rooting for now?
I’m rooting for all three of them. They’re all amazing designers and they all deserve to be up there. I wish I was up there with them. But I’m mostly rooting for Seth Aaron. I’ve always respected his point of view, and he’s the bread-winner of the family. For him to able to do this and support his family — I have a lot of respect for him.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on my spring 2011 line. I actually just went back to the Gap. I’m in the visual merchandising department, in charge of the flagship stores and the 1969 stores. But I don’t want this job to take time away from my goal, which is to design a collection each season. I’m not finding time to work on my pieces, so I’m gonna think about it. Maybe next week or two months ahead of me I’m gonna think about it to see what this job is really doing for me.