Burning Questions

Challenge winner Merle discusses denim, personal style, and why she thought she was heading home.

Jan 14, 2010

Bravotv.com: Where do you think Patrick went wrong?

Well, one of the biggest issues with this challenge was that we got a note at the beginning telling us to grab a bolt of fabric and go. We didn't know WHERE we were going and what the fabric would be used for. Louanna had pink silk with her. I had brocade. Patrick had a thin red chiffon. So Patrick was at a real disadvantage because if you burn and rip red chiffon, it can look like it went through a lawnmower - it's a thin, frail fabric. So that was a problem right off the bat. And of course, Roberto can't use a sewing machine and was really only capable of doing one silhouette. Roberto was a general disadvantage for Patrick. He napped, he schmoozed, he complained - but he never really wanted to get down to work. And of course, so much of his behavior might have been just to get camera time - which I guess worked out for him.

Bravotv.com: You've won two challenges so far! What do you think you're doing right?

Well, I've got Thai - that's a huge advantage! But I did come into the show with knowledge of fashion and years of being around fabric and design. I also have a very strong aesthetic that's consistent, and I think you can see that in the clothes. I only made clothes I would wear myself. And of course, I've always wanted to make a convertible line - I really believe in that. And from the feedback I've gotten so far from the show, it looks like it's something people would want to buy. I was trying to combine stage theatrics of the runway with a real retail reality.

Bravotv.com: You stated that you prepared a going home speech! Why did you think you would be on the chopping block?

By show 6, I knew anything could happen. Also, the judges to me did not seem to have consistent taste - they sometimes picked tiny mini dresses to win (Eric), sophisticated cocktail (Louanna), chic boho (Kathy), or our convertible gown. Thai and I had done SO well up to show 5 - we were never in the bottom, and had been only in the top 3 or 2 almost every show (show 3 we were safe). I started to feel insecure - and being a person who never wants to be without the right words, I thought I'd should prepare a speach - cause I knew if I was eliminated, I'd be so freaked out I wouldn't know what to say. I think show 5 made me feel very insecure - and I could not for the life of me see where the judges wanted us to go. Since winning the competition was ALL about pleasing these 4 people, that was unfortunately the only option. I was starting to feel like they weren't "getting" me - I guess I was wrong!