Eliminated Project Runway contestant Tyler Neasloney is clearing the air about the comment he made regarding Karlie Kloss‘ in-laws, the Kushner family, after the judges were less than impressed by the look he created for the supermodel.
Neasloney explained during an interview with Bravo’s The Daily Dish that he joked about Kloss wearing his design to “dinner with the Kushners” after already having had “awesome banter” with judges Kloss, 27, Brandon Maxwell, Elaine Welteroth and Nina Garcia.
“I felt like we had built a really cool rapport. I was laughing, they were laughing, we were going tit-for-tat. There was shade, there were jokes, and it was really fun,” Neasloney said.
“So, I came into the episode 4 runway after being in the bottom twice before that in a row, I came in there being like I’m friendly with the judges now. We’ve spoken, we’ve kikied, we’ve laughed. I can be my normal self,” he told The Daily Dish.
Neasloney then went on to reveal that since the episode aired, he’s felt “misunderstood.”
“That’s what is bothersome about some of the coverage, both press and Twitter, is a lot of people are treating it as this non sequitur,” he told The Daily Dish. “It was non sequitur; it was entirely related to the aesthetic of the look.”
“I’m not a nasty person. I thought we were on a friendly enough playing field. So Karlie, at the end of the day, she’s human, so I don’t want her to just hate me or feel awful about what I said,” Neasloney said
The incident unfolded on Thursday’s episode after contestants were challenged to dress Kloss for a CFDA event in Paris using only recycled, donated clothing from a Goodwill store.
After the runway reveal of his garment, Neasloney landed on the bottom and explained his design to the judges. “It’s made from four pairs of pants. I was going for a very traditional Montauk, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Americana vibe,” he said.
Maxwell replied, “What are we calling the thing down the middle?” Neasloney answered, “It was inspired by a tuxedo ruffle. I’m happy with the construction.”
When Kloss asked him if he “was happy” with his look, he said: “I’m happy with it. I don’t know if you love it or hate it, whatever it is, lay it on me. I’m ready.”
Then Maxwell shared his unfiltered feedback on Neasloney’s design saying: “Bring us back to the challenge – ‘A. super cool, B. wearable, C. chic.’ You got B. Wearable,” he said of the challenge’s criteria. “It’s definitely ‘wearable’ in some place that is neither Paris nor Montauk or Martha’s Vineyard. I cannot see Karlie wearing it anywhere, honestly.”
Neasloney quickly jumped in and said, “Not even to dinner with the Kushners?”
The comment left the judges and other contestants speechless, as Kloss dropped her jaw in shock and cocked her head to the side. He then added, “That’s your husband!”
After his comment, the model fired back saying, “I was going to Paris, that was your challenge here. Keep it to the challenge.”
She also shared her own feedback on his creation. “You may not know, but I know, this is not what I asked for. The fabrics are poor choices. I think they look cheap. The pockets are ill-placed. And if this is your aesthetic, then that’s that. But this is about my aesthetic and the influence of my stylist. You really missed the mark here on all accounts,” Kloss said as Neasloney got teary-eyed.
The designer went backstage to wait as the judges discussed everyone’s designs privately. A fellow contestant asked Neasloney, “How do you feel about the critiques you got?” He replied: “I don’t agree with them. I like what I made.”
When the deliberation ended, the judges ultimately decided that Neasloney’s skills weren’t strong enough to keep him in the competition, so he was eliminated. Once they announced he was being sent home, Neasloney did apologize to Kloss for his previous remark.
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“Karlie, I want you to know that I’m not a jerk, I’m professional,” he said. “What I said earlier had no hidden agenda, no meaning, no nothing like that.”
Kloss and Joshua got engaged in July 2018 and married three months later in a small, Jewish ceremony in upstate New York, with under 80 people in attendance. In June of this year, they held a larger celebration in Wyoming for family and friends. At the time, multiple sources told PEOPLE that Jared and Trump visited Josh and Kloss in Wyoming on Thursday night before the festivities began on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Kloss has been open about her political views, telling Vogue in September 2018: “Josh and I share a lot of the same liberal values that guide our lives and the things we stand for.”
She also opened up to British Vogue in July 2019 explaining that the media attention around their relationship has “been hard.”
“But I choose to focus on the values that I share with my husband, and those are the same liberal values that I was raised with and that have guided me throughout my life.”