Kenley was in an interesting position going into the finale- the judges had lauded her workmanship and talent in the previous challenge, but questioned the originality of her work given its uncanny similarity to that of more established designers. True to herself, Kenley presented a collection at Bryant Park that was unapologetically her own, yet once again the judges were torn- the concept and the painting were beautiful, but one garment's resemblance to a Balenciaga look was too much to ignore. How much this played into her elimination is hard to say, but in the end she was the first to be sent home. I spoke to Kenley about her thoughts on the judges' critiques and her relationship with the other designers. Read on to see what she had to say!Stylehive: What was your initial reaction to the results?
Kenley: I was shocked. I didn€™t expect to be 3rd, I thought at least 2nd.
Stylehive: How did you react to Tim being named as the guest judge?
Kenley: Obviously on the show, I was like, oops, maybe I should have improved my attitude. I wasn't excited about it. He wasn't really a big fan of my work, and he sees the back end of it, which is like crappy, unfinished, hanging on a rack in the back of my house, not like an outsider who was looking in.
Stylehive: Do you think it was fair?
Kenley: Sure, it€™s fair. Anything in this competition is fair. They can do whatever they want.
Stylehive: The judges mentioned your dresses looked very Balenciaga...did you think they would say something like that?
Kenley: I have no idea what Balenciaga they were talking about. I looked it up, and mine was nothing like that. It's shorts and a shirt and structured shoulders, and mine was a soft, very feminine silhouette with these couture roses... it doesn€™t make sense that they think that I get my work from other people because they could say that easily about every single designer.
Stylehive: What was it like showing at Bryant Park?
Kenley: It was amazing, it was like a dream come true. Besides being stressful it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, once every girl walked down the runway...it's my dream collection, I€™m so proud of it, and I wouldn't have done anything differently.
Stylehive: What did you think of Leanne's collection?
Kenley: I thought it was pretty, I thought it was soft, but as it came down the runway it was very hard to distinguish one from another, and I thought that it€™s not my personal taste, but all in all it was soft and pretty.
Stylehive: If you could go back would you change anything?
Kenley: No I wouldn€™t change anything except for, just you know, putting people down in my interviews. I know that it hurts, and I wouldn€™t say anything bad about the other designers. You want to get out of that room as fast as possible and you're cooperating with the producers and you say whatever needs to be said, and then you leave, as fast as possible.
Stylehive: So sometimes there was a lot of tension with the other designers. How did you deal with that and balance that with focusing on your work?
Kenley: I didn€™t really deal well with it. It hurt my feelings. They were laughing and snickering on the other side of the room. It was hard. No one likes that. It's childish. Obviously in the competition I started off strong, I had my friends and I had my sleep, and then it just became really draining and tiring in the end.
Stylehive: What was your favorite challenge?
Kenley: My favorite challenge was the one that I won, it was New York City nightlife, and I got a really inspiring picture out of it, and we got to go out, and I had a lot of fun doing it. And I did a really cool dress and I won. I enjoyed it the entire time.
Stylehive: What about your least favorite challenge?
Kenley: The last challenge where you are totally drained and it€™s a gown and I don€™t do gowns, so I kind of wanted to stray away from a typical gown. I think I strayed away a little bit too much, and that was probably the worst, it was hard to get inspired when people just wanted to pound you out of the competition.
Stylehive: What are you going to miss most about being on the show, and what are you going to take away from your experience?
Kenley: I€™m going to miss hanging out, I got the two best friends ever out of this, Stella and Daniel, I had so much fun with them, we laughed all the time, and I almost got work done faster that way when I had friends, and that's what I'll miss the most, and being in the lounge and just being silly in the apartment.
Stylehive: What's next for you?
Kenley: I have my website, KenleyCollins.com, and I'm selling my dresses, doing really well. I went back to teaching sewing.