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Zayden Skipper served up stunning and powerful looks on his models (and himself!) this season of Bravo's Project Runway. Unfortunately, Zayden found himself in the bottom in the December 9 episode after his comfy chic look failed to wow the judges. In a shocking double elimination twist, Zayden and Octavio Aguilar were both sent home.
Opening up to Project Runway mentor Christian Siriano in the Project Runway After Show, Zayden said that he actually took pride in standing next to Octavio during the show's latest elimination. "I've seen Octavio's work, and it was an honor. He's an amazing designer," Zayden said in the above clip. "Mentally, I'm in a place [where] I own up to what I do, and I own up to who I am. And I'm proud of it."
What fans didn't see during the episode is that when Christian sent the eliminated designers back to the workroom to clean up their spaces, Zayden actually left the building to get some fresh air outside, according to unaired footage shared during the Project Runway After Show. "Honestly, I was just so relieved," Zayden said of his exit in that moment, adding that he exceeded his expectations of how far he would make it in the competition. "That was a relief for me to just breathe it out and be like, 'OK, now I've completed a task that I was questioning about.'"
Even though his comfy chic design ended his time on Project Runway, Zayden still stands by his look today. "For me, I'm always proud of the work that I do. I looked at it as far as the client that I dress and the type of girl that I dress," he told Christian. "Anything that I do, I love it because I did it, because if I didn't, I wouldn't have put it down the runway."
Zayden added that he didn't feel like the judges' feedback on his outfit was "horrible." "I took it and I fed it and I embraced it," he said. "You know, in the fashion industry, people are going to critique everything. If you don't have that tough skin, then this is not the business for you."
That's something that Zayden learned long before his time on Project Runway as he earned his MFA from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design. "I've been through worse critiques than that to get me to here," Zayden said of his education at SCAD. "So I think that's why I've built this tough skin to take it."
Zayden reflects more on Season 19 in his interview with Christian, above, including who he thinks will be the next winner of Project Runway — and trust us, his answer will surprise you. You can also see Octavio open up about his elimination and how he really feels about the judges' picks for the top designs of the comfy chic challenge at the top of this post.
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9/8c. And you can catch up on Project Runway the next day on Peacock.
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