Exclusive: 'Project Runway' Season 13 winner Sean Kelly talks (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/27/2014
Project Runway crowned Sean Kelly its thirteenth-season winner during Thursday night's finale broadcast of the Lifetime fashion design competition.
Sean, a 25-year-old designer from Brooklyn, NY, was chosen as the winner of the competition by judges Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen, and guest judge Emmy Rossum in addition to the input provided by the contestants' mentor Tim Gunn. Sean beat out runner-up Amanda Valentine, third-place finisher Kini Zamora and fourth-place finisher Charketa Glover for the win.
Sean won with his 10-piece collection entitled "Betrayal of Caesar," which he created with a $9,000 budget and unveiled during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at New York City's Lincoln Center this fall.
In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World on Friday, Sean talked about his Project Runway victory and experience. Below is the concluding portion. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: Were you impressed with Kini's ability to turn his whole collection around in just over a day? It seemed nearly impossible.
Sean Kelly: Yeah, I mean, Kini is an amazing, amazing person as well as a designer. He has immense skill. He can sew so fast. I mean, I worked with him in a challenge and it's beyond, like, the speed that he can work at.
So, it didn't surprise me that he could turn it around. I don't think that they would've told me to do that, (laughs) because it never would've happened. So, yeah, Kini is a very talented young man.
Reality TV World: We didn't see you struggling with much of anything prior to the runway show. Amanda, for example, couldn't find shoes for her model and she was frantic. Was it fairly smooth sailing for you right up until your show or was more going on than viewers were let in on?
Sean Kelly: No, I was pretty calm. It was actually surprisingly calm how. It all just kind of, like, happened in motions, like everything kind of just felt into place. I didn't have any drama, no one lost their shoes, so yeah. I had everything very organized and I had everything planned out. I tried to eliminated as much drama as possible, especially since it was a special time.
Reality TV World: Based upon your overall performance, it seemed like you experienced some major highs and lows this season, and you hit a peak halfway through. Could you talk about that a little? Why do you think each week produced inconsistent results from you? What was your struggle there, were you just trying to hit your stride?
Sean Kelly: Yes. At the start, it's a very difficult situation to come into, to understand what you're doing and the way that you're designing under a time pressure. There are certain things you can and can't do, and yeah, it was about finding my ground and also, like, experimenting -- just trying to figure out what's going on, because it's like nothing I've ever done before.
Reality TV World: Entering the competition was intimidating enough like you just said, so what was your take on Amanda competing as a returning designer from Season 11? Were you threatened at all by that? Because she obviously had experience on the show that everyone else lacked.
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Sean Kelly: Yeah, I mean, that's how -- I saw when she came in, she was so calm and confident, and that's because she had done it all before. Yeah, it was an advantage [for her], but it only lasted so long because we all started to get comfortable in front of the cameras and working under tight time frames and pressures.
But yeah, no, Amanda was very helpful as well. She explained a lot of stuff to us and it was quite reassuring to have a veteran there who knew what was going on.
Reality TV World: Zac Posen made a joke during judges' deliberations that he feared your future collections might evolve in the direction of a "fringe muppet." Since winning the competition, what have you been doing and what direction do you see yourself going creatively? Did you plan to still focus on fringe detail or change it up?
Sean Kelly: That "muppet fringe," I'm not using that at the moment. I'm not doing anything with that. Yeah, I've just been kind of taking a break. I filmed for my entire summer, so I went on a holiday (laughs) and was actually filming the reunion special. So, the show keeps you busy and press of course.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Project Runway? Had you been a big fan of the show and was this your first time applying?
Sean Kelly: Yeah, I watched the show since Season 1. I was sort of watching as a kid growing up. It was really a big part of my life and kind of my inspiration to design. But yeah, I kind of just stumbled across it when I moved to America. I never planned -- this was my first time ever applying and it seemed to work out!
Reality TV World: Is there anything else you'd like to say about your experience on Project Runway or to your fans?
Sean Kelly: Yeah, it's been an amazing experience and it's kind of proven to myself that anything is -- I know it's cliche, but anything is possible. The turnaround time from me being fresh off the boat in New York to a few months later, winning Project Runway, it just proves that if you apply yourself and work hard, you can really achieve things.
Click here to read the first half of Sean Kelly's exclusive interview with Reality TV World.