Season 7 of Project Runway is is in full swing and though slight changes have been made big personalities and homegrown talent are a staple. Atlantan Anthony Williams is a designer from the South with an appeal all his own. Born in Alabama and now living in Atlanta Georgia, Williams considers himself a Southern belle with global style. The contestant talks about life during and after Project Runway and what he’s learned.
1. How are you?
I am doing wonderfully well. How are you? It’s great to hear your voice.
2. So tell me what happened when you found out you made the final cut. What did you do when you were notified?
I remember being on the sales floor of Neiman Marcus jumping up and screaming. All these people were on the sales floor and I was screaming. It was an amazing, amazing experience.
3. What was your favorite challenge?
I can say the first challenge was the best challenge for me. Honestly, I told myself if you can get past the first challenge you’re okay .
4. So you have been described as sassy and you have described yourself as Southern belle. What characteristics make you a male Southern belle?
I’m a very feminine. I am a feminine man. But I am also quick to open doors for ladies, and I’m all about the thank you note. Even if a person gets my order right at McDonalds I want to write a thank you note. I’m polite all the time. Being from the South you know there is a certain way of doing things.
5. So tell me now that the show is over what are you doing? I know you must not want to go back to doing what you did before.
Actually, you’re wrong. I applied to be a host in the café at Neiman Marcus. It’s been a bit of a struggle since Project Runway. It’s a transition. I ‘m concerned with paying my bills right now. I don’t let reality shows interrupt what I know is my current reality; I don’t have those pride issues. If I have to stand in front of Chick-Fila-A with a sign I will do it. Short-term goals Anthony wants to survive. Long-term goals I would love to have my gowns in a place like Neiman Marucs.
6. How did you handle the criticism of the judges and did you learn from what they said?
I did most definitely learned from Project Runway. I’ve always been in the spotlight. When you’re a designer you have to get used to criticism because there is always someone out there who does not like you’re work. I’m not star struck and I treat everyone the same. So, if I was designing something for a nurse and she did not like what I designed I would look at it the same way as I did the judges from Project Runway. It’s just another person. I’m a smiler. I smile through everything. I could care less if someone doesn’t like what the stitches or the seaming looks like.
7. Being from the South do you think you’re designs have a dominate Southern influence?
I think that everything I have experienced in life influences my designs. I’ve been to New York before Project Runway and working at Neiman Marcus on the sales floor also influences me.. I read international magazines , so no it’s not just the South it’s a little bit of everything.
8. You design for women, but you are a very well dressed man. Now that you’re name is out there if a man asked would you design something for him?
If a man asked me to style him for him I would say yes, but I would not design for a man. I wouldn’t design for a man because that is not my niche. Right now I think it’s easier for me to know my role and stay in my lane.
9. You talk a lot about growing up black and gay in the ghetto. Do you think those experiences helped you take the heat during Project Runway?
Oh girl, I have been through it in this life. Project Runway was easy. I will admit they took one conversation an got one sound bite and have been using it, but yes it was tough. It’s hard being in a place and you look different. Imagine anything you could do to a little boy, it was done to me.
10. What have you taken away from the show?
The one thing about being on Project Runway is you never stop learning and growing. I made strong bonds. I know that I have at least 15 allies and individuals who support me.
11. You want to work Miss USA have they called?
I have studied that pageant for so long. The reason why I like it isbecause they wear Gucci evening gowns. It’s not your typical highly beaded, too much make-up pageant. I have my favorite Miss USA and everything. I haven’t heard from Miss USA, but you know you have these moments where you think you’re really close to doing something and then you realize ‘Oh I wasn’t that close.’
12. Describe your design style.
I celebrate women. I wish we could get to a place where women are celebrated. I design for the fuller figured woman , but also for the woman who has to sit down and figure her bills to buy a dress. I want to continue to work with women who celebrate themselves and me as a designer. You know, I like a woman they can say “My ass is on my back, oh well it’s who I am.”
13. Tell me what an ideal dress should look like on a woman.
You’re dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady. A well dressed woman is concerned with detail and dresses for the man she is with. I am really loving purple on women. I started loving the color when I realized most women can do a berry or purple.
Check out the second episode of Season 7 tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern time.