Jerell won the challenge that was supposed to send him to Bryant Park … but then the judges couldn’t make a decision about who to send home. When the cast reconvened … after creating collections (plus a wedding dress) at home … they faced a second challenge. This time, the designer, 28, stood in the bottom … and was auf’d, leaving the remaining ladies to compete at Bryant Park. Calling from New York, the characteristically good-humored designer opened up about the curveball wedding dress challenge, whether he felt robbed from showing his collection at Fashion Week and yes, what he thinks of Kenley. –Brian Orloff
Talk about the surprise challenge of creating a wedding dress. Were you happy with what you came up with?The show itself was full of surprises, so I think the whole thing was to expect the unexpected. It’s a TV show; it’s gotta be entertaining. For me, I’m the kind of designer, I like to have my materials and I like to work off that. I don’t even sketch. So the wedding dress was the third thing that I made. I loved my wedding dress. I think it’s gorgeous. I’m really proud of it.
Was Tim’s visit helpful? Was it fun to have him meet your family and friends?I cannot say enough wonderful things about that man. I have so much respect for him. His visit really was the second wind I needed. Honestly I was dragging my feet at that point. Just burnt out. He came and charged my little battery, and after that I was all giddy to make the rest of it.
How did you feel about coming back to NY to compete?Coming back to the show, I have to say, it was at first a little hard because leaving the show to go and create the collection, it was hard to get back into regular life. And honestly the show is such a pressure cooker. You’re not even an adult anymore. You get ushered around. Cameras in your face constantly. By the time we were going to work on the collections, you’re used to it. But then you get home and you don’t have it anymore.
What about that eventual meet-up with Kenley back in New York?Leading up to when we all left to go work on our collections, we were all under a tremendous amount of stress. Nobody works like that in real life, so different handle stress differently. When you see the show on TV, I think it’s easy to pass judgment, like, “Kenley’s a b—-.” I don’t think really understand how difficult the process is. I thought she really took the high road when she came back. She was very much an adult about apologizing. We were all very receptive to that. Kenley is fine in my book.
You won the challenge that was supposed to determine who went to Bryant Park… but the judges didn’t send anybody home that week. Did you deserve to go to Fashion Week based on that?I did win the challenge that was to determine who went to Bryant Park. So part of me was like, ‘Is this not the challenge that determines who goes to Bryant Park?” But at the end of the day, it is a TV show and I understand, you have to keep it interesting for the viewers. At least it’s great to be able to say that I won three challenges this season. For me, I feel like a winner because I got to show all the way through the season. I still got to show at Bryant Park. The world can see my work. I’m good!