Season 2 fourth-place winner and current All-Star, Kara Janx, has had a successful career designing her namesake line following her first appearance on the show. Her designs have been featured in high-profile publications such as Elle, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle, Lucky, Vogue and WWD and worn by numerous style icons, including Rihanna, Emma Watson, and Olivia Palermo. Needless to say, she's kind of a big deal, so I was very excited to chat with her last week about the latest season of Project Runway and just how good all of the All-Stars are.
A Haute Mess: Why did you decide to return to Project Runway?
Kara Janx: You know, I swore it off forever. I swore that I would never get involved again because it’s so out of control, but when I got the phone call, I thought about how it’s just such an incredible opportunity and experience, that it was sort of hard to say "no" to, even though my initial reaction was like “hell no!” you know? “I’m not getting back into this”. I must be crazy.
How has your second experience on Project Runway differed from your first? Does knowing what to expect make the process any easier?
You sort of know what to expect but the whole pace of it is so grueling, that you kind of forget how lost in the shuffle you get, and how consuming it becomes. I mean, you’re kind of better prepared and more aware that the cameras are there, but when you really get into it, it’s still grueling and so hardcore.
Is it the timing that’s the most difficult, having only a day or two to complete a challenge?
It’s less than that between challenges, it’s so rigorous. It’s non-stop. This particular season -- and I can’t tell you too much -- but they turn the pressure cooker on in terms of time. Our times are hard. Because they know our capabilities, and probably figured “these kids have been through this, let’s turn up the heat!” you know?
As demanding as it is, what are the enjoyable aspects of being on Project Runway?
There are so many things I enjoy about being on Project Runway. I love the interactions with these really fun, amazing people that have the same mindset and mentality, and you make such good friends. I love that. I really love those friendships. I know that sounds so contrived, but it really is incredible how you gravitate to one another. I [also] love the design process, I love just being in that luxurious space of just designing, all the time. That’s your only worry, to design, and so I love that. It’s a luxury to have that when you work. And yeah, I love the craziness! I sort of thrive on the craziness.
It sounds like there’s a lot of camaraderie among the competitors, but is there anyone that you can say is your biggest competition to win this season?
Wow, it’s hard to tell. Austin, Mondo, Michael… you know, everyone is so incredibly talented, it’s anyone’s to win. One mess up, or one slip up... even amongst the most talented, could be their demise. But it’s anybody’s game to win because everyone is really good.
You're a ready-to-wear designer, and you also do special occasion and bridal dresses, and swimwear. Do you think having this multifaceted experience gives you an advantage over your competitors?
I understand the business of fashion, I really do, and I think that’s an advantage in the show and after the show. I don’t know if everyone can translate the success of the show into being a commercial success after the show, but it’s also hard for me because sometimes I am so commercially driven that I forget the artistic form, so we all sort of have our advantages and disadvantages.
What can fans look forward to this season? What about the drama?
[Laughs] Yes, drama! Good clothes, bad clothes… it’s such an elevated season. The level of talent is so high, it’s Project Runway on steroids. You won’t want to miss anything. It’s just incredible. We’re all just so blown away by how capable everybody is, there’s a lot of respect.
So there’s a good competition ahead!
Exactly, it’s just such a good competition. Everyone has their own agenda and insecurities and all that stuff, but everybody is just really good. There’s no one that you can look at and just think “oh my god, whatever” and not worry about them, but it’s like “Oh my god!!” [laughs].
Any last words for A Haute Mess?
Come buy clothes at Kara Janx, they’re so cheap right now! [laughs]. They’re a bargain! No, but, you know, I love the support and I just think that people really need to watch the show and the cast is really great. This season is out of control. You’re going to love it! It’s really a treat.
Project Runway All-Stars premieres in Canada on Monday, January 9th (tonight!) at 10 pm ET/PT on Slice (and it airs on Thursday nights on Lifetime in the US).
photos: courtesy of SliceTM