Andrae tells Andy about the Runway experience.
Every Wednesday, those in the know wake up with a grin on their face. Why? Don't be silly, It's "Runway" Day and doesn't it always feel kinda good knowing the day will end with a fresh installment of Heidi and her gang? I thought it would be fun to celebrate today by calling white-hot baldy Andrae Gonazalo and throwing some questions his way.
By the way, you heard it here first that a "Project Runway" designer will be designing a gown for the SAG Awards for a certain "Desperate Housewife"! Who is it? I know the answer, but you're gonna have to stay tuned to find out... Uh oh, the phone's ringing and it's Andrae G. on the line!
HEY ANDRE, EVERYBODY IS ASKING ABOUT ANDRAE, ANDRAE, ANDRAE! WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND ANDRAE GONZALO?
What are they asking!? Well my ethnicity is that I'm exactly half Filipino and various types of caucasian. I grew up in LA all my life except for a brief stint in NYC after high school to study theater - which is an explanation for my ridiculous accent. We need to talk about my accent because people aren't getting it, I think
WHAT IS THERE TO GET ABOUT YOUR RIDICULOUS ACCENT?
It goes in and out, which people will notice if they watch the show. It's how I was trained to speak at NYU. If you watch carefully, in moments where I feel like I have to have myself together, this good speech as if I were in a Chekov play, comes out.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WATCHING THE EPISODE FEATURING YOUR NOW INFAMOUS BREAKDOWN ON THE RUNWAY?
It was fine, not very disturbing, because I was with a warm group of supportive people. I saw it later and was disturbed because I look crazy and imbalanced, which is not how people see me. I read in TV GUIDE that Heidi called me a "crazy crybaby" and now the world thinks I am a basket case. Thank God I made it beyond that episode so people could see I was not that person. It was a lot of footage about a complicated period in my life. When you're creating a work of art that is emblematic of a time period in your life you want it to speak well of that. The tears came from frustration that the clothes were not saying what they were supposed to. Everything else does, though, in the show. Of all that came from the experience, I have been able to take my art form and get it to speak well under a lot of pressure. That's something that you don't often get a chance to do in the fashion industry.
HOW SCARY IS IT STANDING ON THE RUNWAY IN FRONT OF THE JUDGES AND WHO IS THE MOST INTIMIDATING?
It's only scary if you haven't done what you came for. If you have any doubt that what you came to do hasn't been accomplished, then it's scary. I think INFURIATING is a good word for the judges. They have specific points of view, as we all do. Nina Garcia has a particular point of view — her job is critiquing fashion. Michael Kors is infuriating because his point of view is from a very American, practical way. Fashion has to be so functional in America, which doesn't leave room for a point of view like Diana Eng comes from.
OF THE FIRST 5 EPISODES, WHAT DRESS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Definately Banana Republic! What an amazing experience. I am getting emails from people who have bought this dress and it's a dream come true. My philosophy is that clothes can change your life. One girl wrote and said she got the last dress in her size and she said it made her feel like a princess. That dress is intended to make you the best version of yourself, and so I wanna know all that happens with her in that dress! Did she get the job when she wore the dress, or whatever. It sold out in the first 24 hours online! It's insane and exciting!
WHAT IS IT LIKE LIVING WITH SANTINO, NICK, AND DANIEL V?
A blast actually! I've had such a great time. We have the largest amount of talent in that apartment. We laugh all the time. Everyone is so funny! Every single night we write something new that we learned on the chalkboard - and they are hilarious and sometimes unkind. I feel so lucky to have made friends with them all...
ANY ROMANCE IN 35D?! ANY SEXUAL TENSION?
That's a funny thing to bring up. I've read a few things about that. It's so professional. There's sexual tension, but everybody respects that we are here for a serious competition. We are here to do a job, and to spend a month in such close quarters without a sexual outlet makes everyone frustrated... I don't know if you'll ever see this but Santino did a funny mock-rape on me that was funny but never was there anything serious. Daniel V and I get along so well and finish each other's sentences, which might look more romantic than it really is. We work organically together.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE WAY SANTINO APPEARS ON THE SHOW?
The funny thing that nobody gets about Santino is he says everything that we're all thinking but don't have the courage to say. There's a lot of hate towards him, but you have to admire his courage. He does not suffer fools. He's not interested in playing games. He can be a little bit brutal, but he's not saying anything that people aren't already thinking. I have to respect it. Whenever he hits below the belt, I call him on it and he has the ability to be introspective and sensitive and spiritual. He's very spiritual, but all you might see of that on the show is his unicorn t-shirt, which doesn't do him justice.
ARE YOU SINGLE AND ARE YOU GETTING LOTS OF ATTENTION NOW THAT THE SHOW IS AIRING?
I'm not single now. I have a wonderful boyfriend who has been with me through the show. I do get a little attention but I think it's because I have a myspace account and Daniel V. doesn't. It's funny, I have been getting emails lately since we won that competition last week from people who want to meet Daniel V. Daniel needs a myspace account to take advantage of the attention I'm getting that's intended for him.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS YOU WANT TO LEAVE RUNWAY VIEWERS WITH?
"Project Runway" viewers are the most amazing group of people! Everyone I've met has been so polite and kind and empathetic. The people who have come up to me and emailed have been so charming. I'm so impressed with the manner of people who watch. This is a show that attracts great people! It's been so wonderful because I realize there are great people in the world and sometimes you might doubt that.. this is great because I get to meet those people.