'Project Runway' Exit Q&A: Korto Momolu
The laid-back Liberian-born designer is still pretty irked she didn't win, but she's happy to talk about her big plans, disagreeable Kenley, and the misunderstandings caused by editing
Korto Momolu may have gotten the boot from Project Runway last night, but life is looking up: The president of Liberia, where Korto was born, just asked if she’d come visit and design a dress for her. Who needs $100,000 when you’ve got that? The designer revealed her presidential commission when EW.com rang her up to chat about how she’s feeling about losing (still mad!), her thoughts on Kenley (couldn’t care less!), and lots more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You seemed pretty upset in last night’s episode. Are you still mad? Feeling better now?
KORTO MOMOLU: No, I’m still mad. I wanted to win. I had to watch the episode last night in L.A. with everybody. You open that wound all over again. It’s emotional. That’s how I felt at that moment. You get that far, and you want to win. You feel like you’re gonna win. With all the judging, what they said, I feel like I got the best critique. It’s almost like they played me. They teased me. ”Nope, you’re not gonna get this piece of cheese.” But it’s okay. Being second isn’t the worst thing. There are a lot of people that came in second, third, fourth, and fifth. Look at Jennifer Hudson. She won an Oscar, for God’s sake, and she didn’t even make it to the top six [on American Idol]. I’m just gonna follow their paths and just know that God has bigger things for me. The sky is the limit for me. I really do feel like I have a future in fashion.
Do you feel like you accomplished something on the show? Made a statement?
I’m glad that women got that I was fighting for the real women, women with curves, women that don’t look like Heidi Klum. We need to go buy high-fashion stuff, and we want to look hot and sexy. Those are the people I design for. I represented for them, and I’m glad they got it.
What do you do now? Do you go right into a clothing line?
I do a lot of different things besides clothes. I have a great handbag line and jewelry. I might start out with that first and build up some finances to get my clothing line going. Or somebody might call me today and say, Hey, I’ll finance the whole thing! I really don’t know. It just happened so quickly yesterday. I didn’t have time to think about it.
NEXT PAGE: ”When Jerell left, and no offense to Kenley, I just felt like it was gonna be between Leanne and me. There was a theme there. And maybe because I liked Leanne more.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said the judges’ critique of your line was the best among you, Leanne, and Kenley. That’s what made you feel like you were going to win?
KORTO MOMOLU: With each challenge, I always knew who was gonna win. There was a certain order, a certain way they would do it. No one else picked up on it, but I was totally the Miss Cleo of the group. I felt like, just from what they said, the way it played out, that I was gonna win. I was really shocked when Heidi said Leanne. It was really shocking. Whatever; it happens. When Jerell left, and no offense to Kenley, I just felt like it was gonna be between Leanne and me. There was a theme there. And maybe because I liked Leanne more.
Will you and Leanne be b-fries going forward?
We will. We’re not, like, best friends. I think I’m closer with Jerell than anybody else. We definitely do call each other. Even in the second to last episode — ”Finale, Part 1” — she said something about my wedding dress, and the way they cut off from her statement, it sounded bad. She called and apologized. She said, ”Oh, my God, they made it sound like something else.” That meant a lot to me that she would apologize for something that obviously was not within her control, what with editing. That showed that she had respect for me to let me know that. She’s a classy lady. Kenley doesn’t apologize for her statements.
What’s your verdict on Kenley these days?
She actually thought we hated her. I embraced her, and I said, ”I don’t hate you, sweetie. You’d have to murder my entire family for me to hate you.” Hate’s a strong word. I don’t care for you. Sometimes me and Kenley got along great. That last week, we were cracking up joking. We had a great time. She came back with a great attitude. And I embraced her at the end. I’m always the one embracing her. It seems like she enjoys attacking me when she has nothing else to do. My daughter loves her too.
So nothing bad to say about her? You should let it out!
I have no bad words for Kenley; I wish her all the best. Hopefully, she’ll watch the show and learn something from it — that you don’t have to come out blazing. You can come out and blaze when someone attacks you first, but it seems like that’s her defense mechanism. And it works for her? I don’t think so. Hopefully, it’s a growing process, and she’ll grow from it.
NEXT PAGE: ”Hey, George Bush isn’t calling me. Hell no, maybe I’ll make Michelle Obama’s inaugural dress.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The judges dinged you and said your line was ”overworked.” Do you simplify going forward?
KORTO MOMOLU: That comment right there has already been annoying me all day today. She didn’t say that my collection was overworked, she just said that she prefers when certain things aren’t overworked. She was referring to my wedding dress, not so much my collection. When you look at my collection, there wasn’t that much stuff going on. If I had taken away the pleats, I would have had slip dresses going down the runway. So for that to be implied through editing is kind of annoying because how can my stuff be overworked and Leanne’s not? I mean, we see the petals. That’s gonna have me in knots by the end of the day.
So you’ve got $10,000 for winning ”fan favorite.” Where do you go tomorrow?
The next big thing I’m doing, I was invited by the president of Liberia, where I’m from, to go back to Liberia next year, and I’m gonna design a gown for her and be featured in this women’s conference. So from the show, I’m able to go home after 17 years, to be invited by my president, that’s an amazing honor. I’m so excited about that. Hey, George Bush isn’t calling me. Hell no, maybe I’ll make Michelle Obama’s inaugural dress. Yes, I’d love to take my family. Have my daughter and my husband see where I’m from. That’s important to me.
Do you design for your daughter?
I do. My daughter has her own sense of style. We argue in the store all the time about what she needs and what she doesn’t need. But she wants to be just like Mama. She wants my hair, she wants my purses and my jewelry. She’s like a little fashionista, which is cool. She loves design and modeling. I’m glad she enjoys that part of my life. I can share that with her.
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