It was the scream heard all the way from Fifth Avenue to our nation’s capital.
“Out of everyone left in the competition, I was the person who never made it that far,” Williams tells TVLine. “To hear them call my name was, like, ‘Wait, is this really happening?’ Winning is something you hope will happen, but the three of us up there were conditioned to not winning. I think any of us would have been shocked.”
Williams was so stunned by the sound of his own name, in fact, that he can barely remember the big moment even happening.
“I remember Alyssa [Milano] in the green dress, and I remember her saying my name, but that’s about it,” he admits. “I have no idea how I got from the runway to the backstage area. I may never know how the hell I made it there. Not ever.”
Despite his admitted shock, Williams knew that his final collection (“If Audrey Hepburn lived long enough to become Rihanna”) was strong.
“People are always telling me that I’m not young enough, not modern enough,” he says. “Rihanna was my muse in the competition, and I wanted to find a way to connect her to the vintage appeal that I like to put in my clothing. She and Audrey Hepburn are two relevant icons that I knew people would recognize. I knew that people would connect with one or the other, or both.”
Truth be told, Williams had a master plan throughout the entire competition, one he gleaned from his previous life as a drag queen.
“Many people don’t know that I’m a former drag queen,” he explains. “So while everyone else was looking at Project Runway as a fashion competition, I saw it as a game show where you make dresses for prizes. In no way in the world are you really trying to reduce my aesthetic to me sewing it all together to make my idea come to life. Are y’all crazy? … One of my good friends, another former drag queen, told me: ‘The only way you’re going to win is if you compete like you competed in pageants.'”
“There was only one thing that happened in the competition that I’ve debated whether or not to share — I guess I will right now,” he says. “Fabio came to me and said, ‘If I don’t win, I want you to win, sis.’ And then Stanley came to me and said, ‘If I don’t win, I want you to win.’ If you’re a girl on the surface and you’re not smart, you’d think that two men have just complimented you. No, no, no. I’m a real people person and I’m a real pageant girl, so I knew that what they were really saying to me was, ‘We see each other as competition.’ Stanley saw Fabio as his ultimate competition, and Fabio basically said the same thing about Stanley in his interviews. So I thought that was very interesting. From one pageant girl to all the pageant girls of the world, they were competing against each other and I was competing to win that prize. That was the difference.”
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