Sophomore seasons are hard for any show, but Project Runway Junior season 2 had especially big shoes to fill after a widely beloved initial run. Luckily for fans, this group of young designers lived up to the hype.
The final four designers — Chelsea, Chris, Hawwaa, and Izzy — battled it out with six-look collections. (Stop reading now if you don’t want to read who won.)
Always one with a great design inspiration, Chelsea will definitely have great stories to tell now. Her collection, which she described as a “transition from an android who slowly goes into nature and becomes human,” wowed the judges and landed her the winner title of Project Runway Junior season 2.
Here, the 15-year-old designer talks with EW about the pressures of the final runway, her favorite looks from the season, and what’s next. Watch the exclusive clip of the final moments of the show and then go on to read Chelsea’s thoughts on season 2.
So how does it feel to be the winner of Project Runway Junior?
In the beginning, I would’ve never believed you if you told me I would be the winner. … It wouldn’t have been until the seventh episode that I would’ve said, “Yes, now let’s go win this.”
In Thursday’s episode, your last critique from Tim Gunn was pretty harsh. Were you worried?
I realized that I had to alter every single outfit on top of making my finale piece. I was stressed. It’s like I was MIA because I spent all of my time in the sewing room. I missed out on a lot of jokes that were made while I was busy saving my life. Eventually, I made it work… to my disbelief, and finished everything.
Who did you think was your biggest competition during the final runway show?
Seeing the collections for the first time, I thought Chris was the person to beat. But going into the final runway, I thought Izzy would be my biggest competition [because] she went into the runway with the best critique from Tim.
What’s your favorite look from the whole season?
My favorite look this entire season is my episode 8 look [the street-art mural dress for Seventeen magazine]. Not because I think it’s the prettiest, but because it shows the largest growth. I believe it really defines a turning point in my design aesthetic.
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What’s your favorite look from a fellow designer this season?
It would have to be Tieler’s and Molly’s avant-garde challenge look. The moment I saw it, I knew it was a winner. I also loved Izzy’s first look for being whimsically genius.
So what’s next for you… besides finishing high school?
I’m actually not going to finish high school… I think. I’m going to take the California High School Proficiency Exam so I can leave high school early and start my degree. I want to first go to FIDM, and then transfer to Parsons, so I can experience school on the East Coast. I’m also planning on doing an exchange program to either London or Japan, so I can be exposed to every option available. [But] to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do. It’s all in the making and I’m a go-with-the-flow type of person. I definitely want to continue with my brand Chelsea Ma, but I also want to be open-minded with the future.