Project Runway’s Rodney Epperson was not expecting an elimination. In fact, as he sees it, his reconstructed wedding dress from last night’s episode was the “least criticized” of the bunch. Silver cinched garbage bag, anyone?
In an interview Friday, the 49-year-old New Yorker chatted about his experience on the show, what he’s been up to since leaving the work room, and his emotional family reunion.
How was it watching last night knowing the inevitable outcome?
It was very interesting. I think it was edited pretty well. It was just hard watching how it all happened.
In what way was it edited well?
In the sense that there was so much more drama and so many more emotions involved which wasn’t shown, which was great. If you’re going to leave, you don’t want that to be the last they saw of you. There was so much bottled up at that point. They didn’t show it, which was great.
What didn’t we see?
Just the fact that you’re looking around at the judges on the panel and listening to their comments and then ‘Epperson, you’re out.’ I was surprised. I really didn’t think I’d be leaving.
Were there tears, was there an outburst?
Maybe I said it wrong. There was nothing like that, there was just so much confusion. When I got to the judging it was like a whole different competition.
Why didn’t you think the wedding dress was meant to be an integral part of the final result?
My whole thing was why would someone want to take a whole dress, not even the fact that it was a bad memory, but why would someone want to take that into the future? I had this black skirt, and the bride was really happy with it, but once Tim spoke to me I was like Oh boy, maybe I missed it. But if I missed it, then several of us missed it. There was a wool suit there. Nicolas’ model had pants and a vest. They broke us down and mine wasn’t the worst.
Did you think Logan deserved to go?
Logan and I, we’re very different. They also said Christopher’s dress looked like a garbage bag. All they could really say about mine was that it looked out of Oktoberfest. Any of us could have gone. I had the least complaints and criticisms and I was the one to leave. At the time I was like You know what? Great, I’m glad to leave. But that was a year ago. Now seeing it, it was really bizarre. Now I’m back in New York and every episode people would come up to me on the street, wow.
Would you say the team challenge with Qristyl was the toughest for you?
The toughest challenge was being away from my family, as far as challenge, challenge. As for toughest challenge in the competition, I really didn’t consider them difficult, even til the last one, it was just a misunderstanding.
How was the family reunion after the show? Emotional?
It was dynamic. I got back and we stayed in the house for a week holding on to each other. It was really intense.
Who do you see as the strongest remaining designers?
When I first got there I thought Carol Hannah, I saw her and said Wow. As far as our aesthetic goes, she was really my main competition. However, watching the show and seeing how it’s decided, I would definitely say it could be her or Irina. She’s consistent, she designs for women, and it’s on Lifetime. It’s a women’s show. It’s totally different than it was. I only watched it on Bravo maybe five times, but people have said it’s changed. It’s safe. I’m not a safe designer. You know my age, I’ve been doing this stuff since before these kids were born. If I were safe I would not exist at this point. It’s [the show] almost boring now, if you’re looking at it for fashion.
It seems like the challenges haven’t been particularly imaginative this season.
No, it was almost so simple that if you missed a word you missed the challenge. Then you’re reminded that it’s reality TV.
Think you’d be on another reality show again?
Never say never, however, I think I would. I know how to play the game. You don’t have to be catty to last, and you don’t have to be talented to last. You just have to be. People who know me said I didn’t show my sarcastic side, but I didn’t want to show the world that side of me. I just gave them the best part of me.