Ohioan makes cut on ‘Runway’
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
With the third season of Project Runway into its third week, Angela Keslar of Amesville is still in the running for America’s next great designer.
Keslar — a native of Johnstown, Pa., but an Ohio resident for the past seven years — graduated from Penn State University with a degree in integrative arts, concentrating on costume design.
She lives on a solar-powered organic farm in Athens County with her husband and a menagerie of animals.
Yet she’s no bumpkin: The New York Daily News has pegged her as both a "naughty farm girl" and an "egotistical" person.
Keslar was chosen to fill one of the 15 spots on Project Runway, a Bravo reality show through which aspiring fashion designers compete at the Parsons School of Design in New York for a 2007 Saturn Sky Roadster, a mentorship from Macy’s with the I.N.C. brand, $100,000 from TRESemme (for the launch of a clothing line) and a photo spread in Elle.
After initially trying out for the second run, she has emerged as one of 13 remaining in the third.
The season finale will be taped in September during New York Fashion Week, when the final three designers will showcase their collections. (The earlier segments were shot in May and June, with contestants required to keep mum about the results.)
The Dispatch caught up with the 33-year-old while she awaited a flight to Los Angeles for a Jane magazine party, in honor of the August cover with Runway host Heidi Klum.
Q: After the first challenge, what did you think about your chances of winning?
A: I was thrilled. For the first challenge I just wanted to be safe, and I was just so relieved. It was one of the best days of my life.
Kayne (Gillaspie, another contestant) and I were pretty much just on cloud nine that day, watching our stuff go down the runway. It was very memorable.
Q: Did any designers stand out as especially talented from the start?
A: Keith (Michael), Kayne, Michael (Knight), Alison (Kelly).
Alison’s body of work in general, and her personal style, definitely has its market.
Michael and Kayne, they were so innovative and so original. I thought, "Wow, you guys are really on the mark."
Keith just has that really sophisticated urban aesthetic; he really knows how to style his models.
Q: And did any make you wonder why they were there?
A: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I’m not going to say who. You’ll figure it out by the end of the show.
Q: On his Bravo blog, Runway mentor Tim Gunn referred to your first outfit as "clown clothes." Were you pleased with what you created for the first challenge?
A: During the second challenge, Tim Gunn made a point to come up to me and say, "Angela, your design for the first challenge was excellent." When I was creating it, he came up and said that he loved the back. What he said on the blog was completely 100 percent opposite.
Katherine said he did the exact same thing to her. He told her that he loved it and loved the coat, and that it was very mature and forward-thinking.
We didn’t know what to make of it. I adored him, so I was pretty crestfallen. I was going to post a response to it but then didn’t see the point, because not that many people actually read the blog.
Q: Living in an apartment with strangers, did you think your creativity was compromised because of cramped quarters or lack of sleep?
A: It did fuel my creative engine, but, on the other hand, the lack of sleep definitely was a challenge. I produced two things that I wish I could redo, but, other than that, I loved everything. I had to remind myself that these were not usual circumstances to be working under.
It’s almost like a game; it definitely takes personality and talent to get on that show. It definitely affects your outfit as a designer because it’s so highstress and you’re under the gun — literally with Tim Gunn.
Q: According to a newspaper report, you almost didn’t enter the competition again — but your brother changed your mind. What did he say?
A: My mom worked really hard to help us, to really help attain our dreams. She was a single mom, and she’s still struggling financially.
He said, "Ange, great things are going to come out of this, and we’re not going to have to worry about money again." He told me to think of it as not doing this for myself but doing it for Mom.
Q: What advice would you give to someone else seeking success on the show?
A: It absolutely has to do with your ability to embrace change and make sure that you are somebody who can embrace change at any given moment — and that you can be creative in your unparalleled stressful experience.
Also, bring all the tools that you possibly can because they don’t have anything there for you. Bring needles, scissors; bring multiple pairs of scissors because they’re going to get lost. http://www.dispatch.com/features-sto...726-F1-02.html