Third to be cut from the competition was 25-year-old Chris S. from Nashville, TN. After competing in quiet mode for the first two tasks, Chris made the risky move of showing leadership in a task that required disco balls. Ultimately, he took responsibility for said balls when Tommy Hilfiger found his efforts to recreate Studio 54 were sub-par. But you won’t find any complaints from this plucky Viggo-lookalike restaurant owner.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Chris. First off, what was your strategy was coming into the game?
In the beginning, to work hard and not partake in unnecessary drama. Then reassess it midway, but obviously I didn't get to that point.
What did you hope to gain from being in this competition?
A career opportunity in a creative and challenging global industry.
Your bio says that you opened your own restaurant at the age of 23. How does that translate into fashion design?
If you follow the career of Tommy Hilfiger, you will see that he didn't achieve his success by using his technical fashion design expertise. He is creative, ambitious, and has a strong work ethic. He made great decisions that opened up the right doors for his career vision; and that's what I was trying to achieve through the show. I possess all of those attributes in addition to a great sense of style, and have proven myself as an entrepreneur in the retail industry. I was accepted into Parsons Fashion Design School because of my sketches and drawings, so I also had that note of credibility coming into the competition.
Billboards, luxury SUVs, and now recreating historical night clubs...did you “get” where Tommy Hilfiger was going with this eclectic mix of challenges?
Yes, he was proving that a fashion label is a multi-faceted business just like any other in the entertainment world.
You stepped up and showed leadership in the nightclub challenge, and you seemed to have a solid knowledge of Studio 54. Were you suprised that Mr. Hilfiger labeled your re-creation as “not authentic”?
I completely agree that our re-creation wasn't 'authentic' and was very disappointed in it myself. I felt like I was backstage with some terrible band from the 80's, but I did have to try and sell it!
If you could go back, what would you have added or done differently in the Studio 54 re-creation?
Anything 'R' rated, the club was so PG-boring!
What kind of challenge would have showcased your talents best?
A more individually demanding challenge where I could focus intensely on executing my own ideas.
Did you expect to be working in a team, or competing as individuals?
I figured it would be a lot like ”The Apprentice” in that aspect. I figured the individual tests would come as the competition narrowed.
Were you as quiet in the first two challenges as you were portrayed on the show?
Compared to some people? Yes. But I always 'walked the walk'. I am not at all a quiet person, I just don't like to hear myself talk as much as others.
What is your ultimate goal - what would you like to be doing?
My overall career goal is to use my creativity to achieve wealth.
Was there anything else you wanted our readers to know about you and your experience on the show?
It was a great time and I have already gotten some interesting offers in acting, modeling, and fashion as result of my experience. I definitely don't regret it!
Thanks to Chris S. for answering my questions, and many thanks to CBS for granting the interview.