Project Runway’s Kenley Collins: Where Is She Now

Name: Kenley Collins

Age: 26

How We Were First Introduced: We first met Kenley as the outspoken, saucy, young Season Five Project Runway competitor known for her signature 40s era designs, rambunctious laugh, and overall resistance towards constructive criticism. Kenley was not afraid to speak her mind to her fellow contestants – as well as the judges! She showed her sass on and off the runway to Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and advisor Tim Gunn, over any ill received remarks and gloated proudly over wins. But her brash confidence was somewhat justified; she did make it to the final three and showed at Fashion Week. “I will always give Project Runway the credit it deserves. It was a huge stepping stone for me, and it got my name out faster than I ever could have on my own, but I’m not going to live in the Project Runway sphere. With fashion, doors don’t open out of nowhere, you really need to keep working hard on getting your line shown and keep that persistence as though the show never happened.”

Cat-Astrophic Arrest: Following her season’s finale in fall 2008, Collins was arrested in March 2009 for allegedly assaulting her then boyfriend, Zak Penley, with her laptop, cat, and three, yes, three, apples. “It was ridiculous,” she says of the infamous “cat fight.” “I think the charges being dropped to a disorderly conduct says enough. There was really no need for an arrest and no one was hurt, especially not my cat. But that new series, Southland, did a good job trying to reenact what the media turned it into. A friend told me in one of the show’s segments, they come to arrest some crazy girl who threw a cat at her boyfriend. I don’t think my life will ever be normal again. I get in a fight with my boyfriend, and it becomes headline news.” As for the couple’s current romantic status, Collins remains mum, but offers that the cat and the laptop are both “totally fine.”

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“Tim Gunn thought of me as completely disrespectful.”

Behind the Seams: “I loved hanging out with Daniel and Stella in the lounge. They became my really close friends on the show and I’ve talked to them almost every day since. I was always laughing! There were so many diverse personalities in that work room, It was too funny! Jerell, although turning on me at the end, was so funny! But my favorite moment, was during the drag queen challenge, when Tim went to talk to Stella about her drag design, and Stella kept saying how “huge” her queen was and how he’ll really need to do a lot of tucking, yet the two of them were so serious. I lost it, roaring out loud, and from then on Tim Gunn thought of me as completely disrespectful.”

The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly: “

The most dreaded challenge was the last gown challenge, when I was tired and had no inspiration whatsoever and created a hideous design but I knew I had to sell it like it was the best thing I’ve ever made. I liked the third New York night life challenge because that was the first one where we had a lot of inspiration and could basically do whatever we wanted and really show who we were as designers. And I won!”

Looking Back: “When I hear [the words] Project Runway, I think; oh I was on that, and Michael Kors is hilarious! I talk to Stella and Daniel all the time, but once in a while I’ll get an email or message from Blain, Keith, or Korto.”

What’s Next: “Lots! I won’t be forever known as Kenley from Project Runway. My days are extremely busy. I’m just finishing up my custom bridal and party dress work that I got a lot of requests for since Project Runway aired. I am also working on a Spring ’10 line inspired by Amelia Earhart. I will be showing the line at Magic in Vegas August 31st and in New York in September, so it’s very stressful, yet exciting! I’ve also been approached by different networks on possible shows, so it will be interesting to see where that goes. In the meantime, I teach a sewing class once a week and make all of my website orders.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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