Runway's Sonjia: Elena Was the Most Difficult

Meg Swertlow
The Insider
Runway's Sonjia: Elena Was the Most Difficult caught up with Project Runway’s latest designer to get cut, Sonjia Williams. Sonjia talked about who the most difficult person in the work room was, how the men kept sending down basically the same garment each week, and what challenge was the most difficult for her. For all that and more keep reading! So how did being on the show feel?

Sonjia Williams: I always describe it as a rollercoaster of emotions, I think it’s you know, we feel good, we feel sad, or you feel mad, or you feel happy and excited or you know just a lot of things at one time.

Related: Project Runway's Elena: It Was a Nightmare

TheInsider: How did it feel to come so far and leave right before Bryant Park?

Sonjia: I always said that I think the worst thing would be to have been eliminated last, but I think that once I actually went through with it I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think that I was able to really [show] myself as a designer. …

TheInsider: Why do you think it was that the judges sent you home?

SW: You know I didn’t watch that episode. …. It’s just a little too hard for me to see myself. But … from what I could hear ... I think they didn’t know exactly who it is I was as a designer. I think some other of the designers on the show, there were pieces that as soon as they hit the runway they felt like, 'Oh my god that’s so, whoever, and that looks just like something so-and-so.' And I think maybe they didn’t necessarily feel like that about my pieces. But I just felt like I really wanted to be more well-rounded as a designer and make all types of pieces and not just be so closed off as to have one kind of look that represented me as a designer.

TheInsider: This season a lot of the male designers were sending really similar things down the runway each week. How did it feel when you were trying to change it up so often?

SW: I think that at first it was like, 'Are you serious? What?' …How do you not realize that it looks like something that you know that person had made before? But then …I really came to realize that it’s just a matter of opinions at the end of the day. …'

TheInsider: Do you wish you had matched the see-through gauze more to your model’s skin tone?

SW: You know my model was not with me when I bought the fabric and she’s a mixture of many different cultures so it’s not like I knew right off seeing her skin color. I knew I wanted netting, I didn’t want it to just be completely nude. I wanted it to have that illusion that she may not be wearing anything underneath but I wanted her to actually wear something underneath it. So I think for me that was a critique that I felt like okay, I understand, and was something that obviously if I could have, I would have made it slightly darker so that it looked more nude. But I felt like even with that being said it still in my opinion looked like a beautiful dress.

TheInsider: What was your favorite challenge?

SW: I think it’s probably the baby challenge or the candy challenge, I think the candy challenge is the most fun in my opinion. I think I made something that was just really fun; you never get to design like that. To think that a garment can be made out of candy was something that was just really fun, I had never done that before, so that was just something that I felt like, 'Wow like this is going to be fun to do.' And with the baby challenge I don’t ever make kids clothes ever. Especially make boys kids clothes, so that was completely out of my element, and so it felt really good too.

TheInsider: What was the hardest challenge did you find?

SW: I think the challenge that I felt like I did really probably the worst at was probably the Rockettes challenge. I just feel like it’s so hard to go day after day you know, challenge after challenge, you know you kind of get run down after a while, it’s so hard to stay really kind of, you know inspired as a designer challenge after challenge. …

TheInsider: What do you think is the thing that you really learned the most about yourself?

SW: I feel like I really learned to push myself as a designer to really … learn from other designers as well. After being in college where I’m around other aspiring designers who really don’t know any more than I know, so then I’m not learning anything from them. But I think when you’re around other designers you either pick up on like, 'Oh I’ve never used that technique before,' … or you just learn about other people and the way they design and see things that you would never think about making, and learn about different other people’s personalities and how they work and their techniques that they use and stuff. So I think I learned a lot from other designers, whether the good, the bad, the ugly, as well as how to really push myself.

TheInsider: Awesome. This season seemed to have a lot of blow-ups and then make-ups, who did you find was the hardest person to work with?

SW: I think for the most part every one will agree that Elena [Slivayk]'s the hardest person to work with. I personally don’t have any issues with her. I got along with everyone for the simple reason that I have no problem expressing how I feel to anyone for any reason. ….I think she’s a little strong-minded; I think she reminds me a lot of myself only that I don’t like fake people. I love the fact that she says how she feels, but I think her delivery sometimes is just wrong. I think it’s not what you say it’s how you say it. And I’ve had this conversation with her before that you know you really kind of, you know you’re going to have to work with people in life, but you have to understand that. You know, people aren’t going to respond to you that well if you’re like yelling at them or you know calling them other than their names. …

Catch the latest episode of Project Runway on Lifetime, Thursday nights at 9 p.m.

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