Project Runway Junior designer, Jesse, answers our questions exclusively about his experience on the show, his favorite judge and who he thinks should win the entire competition.
SheKnows: How did you find out about the show?
Jesse: I had heard about Project Runway Junior from a friend who I had designed with before. She owns a store and I had made a garment to sell in her store one summer during an event. She is very familiar with how I work and there were times when she’d say that I could be on Project Runway. So, one day, she sent my dad (sic) about the auditions for Project Runway Junior and my immediate response was, “Yes! Of course!”
SK: What was your best experience on the show?
Jesse: The best experience by far was the people I met, and when I mean people, I don’t just mean the other 11 designers. I also mean Hannah Davis, Kelly Osbourne, Christian Siriano, Aya Kanai and, of course, Tim Gunn. Even though this was a competition, I have never laughed, cried or smiled so much while working alongside my 11 other friends. The best part about Project Runway Junior was the energy we all had, and how pumped we would get when introduced a new challenge. No matter what happened, we all loved each other and that’s what I think makes Project Runway Junior so successful.
SK: What was it like to meet Tim, Hannah, Kelly, Christian and Aya?
Jesse: Meeting the panel of judges and Tim was so incredible. Standing on the runway in front of people who are big influence in the media and in fashion was breathtaking. I always had to make sure whether I was dreaming or not. Being a part of this experience at my age was something I never thought would happen. Showcasing my talent to the judges and to Tim Gunn was absolutely fantastic, a dream come true. I still get chills every time I look back at each of the runway shows and seeing all of their reactions when my look would walk down the runway.
SK: What was your favorite part about being on the show?
Jesse: My favorite part by far was talking to Tim Gunn. Having Tim as our mentor on the show was the opportunity of a lifetime. I never would think that Tim Gunn would be critiquing my work, giving me his honest opinions, and helping me move forward. Tim is a true gentleman, and his presence make you feel safe and comfortable. What would Project Runway Junior be without Tim Gunn?
SK: What was the biggest lesson you learned on the show?
Jesse: The biggest lesson I’ve learned from Project Runway Junior is that there are no rules of how you should portray yourself. I’ve learned that no matter what people say about your work, as long as YOU are confident and believe in yourself, that’s all you need. Leaving this week was a huge kick to reality for me. I am proud of what I had achieved this far and I am never going to stop designing. I look back at this whole experience and remind myself that, I’m never going to be designing garments that a panel of judges want from me. I’m going to be who I am and it’s alright if people don’t agree with what I do.
SK: Which contestant do you think will (or want to!) win and why?
Jesse: I love all of the designers, but I think that out of them all, Maya is the one to definitely create a phenomenal collection. She is young, but people shouldn’t have the mindset that the older ones are who make it farthest. She’s fresh and she is filled with positivity and love. Team Maya all the way for me. I can’t wait to see what she does, even after Project Runway Junior.
SK: Who is your favorite of the five judges and why?
Jesse: My favorite judge by far was Kelly Osbourne. I hadn’t really known a lot about her as an individual before the show, but meeting her in person was amazing. She has such a warm heart and gave the best advice. She understood each of us as individual designers, whenever we had the judges’ critiques she could almost read our minds and would always see where our inspirations came from.