'Project Runway' : Victorya's Got the Exit Blues

Photo: Mitch Haaseth/NBC; Barbara Nitke/NBC

Judge Nina Garcia summed it up best when she said Victorya Hong seemed particularly uninspired by this week’s challenge. Unimpressed by the task at hand — designers were told to create an iconic look out of Levi’s denim — she was sent packing after creating an underwhelming trench coat. Worse, her partner last week, Jillian, crafted a similar look, creating some rare tension in the sewing room. Calling from New York where she’s busy preparing her own show as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Hong talked about the tension, how she came across on the show and why she faded during the denim challenge. –Brian Orloff

It seemed like there was a lot of tension in the workroom during this challenge. Did you feel it?For me there was always tension because everybody was working so hard. Maybe it was the parameters of this particular challenge. I don’t know if anyone in particular was all that into it. I know I wasn’t. I don’t think Christian was either, and it was probably due to the fact that we were so late in the game… We’d just come off what was a great challenge — the avant-garde challenge… So when you’re told to rip up a couple of jeans and sew a garment out of it… for me, I wasn’t inspired.

And there’s really no way to fake that enthusiasm. No, and I’m not someone to jump up and down in general, so to do that when I’m not feeling it — it’s not going to happen.

Did you have any concern that you and Jillian were creating similar looks? I actually wasn’t aware of it until it was too late for me. I was in the back of the room — and I had my head down, and I was always working. By that point, it was just too late for me to change my concept. And I wasn’t bothered because it’s a huge category of design and I always think it’s the merits of your design that either keep you on or make you go.

You talked about how competitive you are. Do you think you came across that way on the show?Seeing myself on television was a really harsh. I was in a meeting the other day, and a guy said to me, “I’m sitting next to you, talking to you, and you are not the person I saw on television last night.” All of my friends and my husband have been like, “Who’s that on television? Is that you?” It’s not like I never said those things or did those things. But I think when you show a certain side of someone — and you tell a certain story — it’s not the whole story.

Tell us: Will you miss Victorya on the runway? Who are your picks for the finalists as the finale draws closer?Mitch Haaseth/NBC; Barbara Nitke/NBC

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