An Interview with the Winner of Project Runway, Season 9 (spoiler)

On Friday I had total pinch-me-am-I-dreaming moment when I had the opportunity to sit down for a mini phone interview with the winner of Project Runway, Season 9:

Anya Ayoung Chee (interview arranged by the lovely people at HP)! I was scheduled to chat with her for 15 minutes, but my excitement and nerves took over and I squeezed in all my questions (at least the ones I could remember) into a quick 8 minute call (oops). I hope you’ll join me in getting to know this talented designer a bit more:

———-

Hi Anya! Congratulations on your win and thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today! My readers and I have a few questions we would love to ask you. Firstly, You are so poised and relaxed on camera, where does your apparent inner peace come from and how do you stay upbeat and positive amidst all the craziness?

ANYA: I just began meditation recently and it has really helped me to feel centered. I also lost my brother about 4 years ago. When you go through a tragedy like that and come out on the other side, it has a way of bringing you closer to what is important. It gives you so much perspective.

I heard that you have 5 brothers! As someone with a lot of siblings (I have 6 sisters and 1 brother) I’m curious to know, if you feel that your upbringing has shaped or had a lot to do with who you are today as a designer and person?

ANYA: Having a large family has definitely effected me, especially in the way I collaborate. You learn to be flexible and find your own voice. Also being the oldest, and the only female I have always wanted to be a person that my brothers can look up to. That’s why I have pursued my passions so strongly. I want to be a roll model to them.

When we met in New York at the Project Runway / HP party, you mentioned that you are also a graphic designer. Do you feel that that background influences or helps your design process today?

ANYA: Absolutely. I love prints and definitely feel that that comes from my background in graphic design. When we had the HP challenge to design our own fabric, that was the best. I forgot that we were even taping a show. I didn’t want it to end! The possibilities with that technology are endless!

Yes, and you just won an amazing tech suite from HP! How do you see it effecting the further establishment of your brand?

ANYA: I can’t wait to start using it! I know that it will definitely be used to help me manage my business. As for the design side, there are so many new things to learn and use towards my business and I’m so excited to get started.

It’s all so exciting! Now that Project Runway is behind you, what is next for Anya?

ANYA: From day one I’ve been passionate and committed to developing my brand. When Michael Kors told me (in the final episode of the show) that he could really picture Anya shoes, Anya bags, and Anya clothing that meant so much, because that is what I have always wanted to work towards!

Thank you so much Anya! Congratulations again on your win and we can’t wait to see all the wonderful places you’re sure to go in the future.

———-

See more from Anya Ayoung-  on her website. See recaps and images from the show on Lifetime, or check out my snapshots from her runway show in my post here. And finally a massive thank you to HP who invited me to be a part of this awesome experience!

Photo credits: Top image from HP | Runway image by me, Ez Pudewa

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15 Comments

  1. puppyloveprincess / / Reply

    i LOVE anya's work, and i'm so glad she won. she has a great spirit about her, and the fact that she only recently began sewing is incredibly inspiring! i can't wait to buy one of her dresses!

  2. Claudia / / Reply

    How fantastic that you got to interview her! I love that you asked her how she stays so clam, because she really was one of the few who didn't come off as catty. She knew there would be tough challenges, but she never gave up or became negative about it. Can't wait to see what the future holds for her!

  3. Ez / / Reply

    I agree! At first I was a tad miffed by the fact that she only just learned to sew…but then I realized that her determination is incredibly inspiring. To put yourself out there so publicly when your every action will be critiqued cannot be easy. I give her major props for following her passion!

  4. Ez / / Reply

    Truly! When HP asked me if I was interested in interviewing her I was floored. What a wonderful opportunity!
    And I agree…Anya's ability to remain calm under so much pressure was incredibly inspiring. I've lost my cool under far less stressful circumstances for sure. :-)

  5. gia at betsywhite / / Reply

    I'm also a huge fan of Anya's and as a fellow Caribbean girl, I'm so proud of her accomplishment! Can't wait 'til her clothes are available to the masses!

  6. sparrowgrey / / Reply

    Great interview! Such an exciting opportunity. I'm glad I caught up on episodes so I could read it today.

  7. blue china studio / / Reply

    I really wanted Anya to win! Yay Anya! And I too admire her poise and warmth under stress. How fun that you got to interview her. I'm off to look at her website.

  8. Andrea Victoria / / Reply

    I can totally hear her accent while I was reading through the interview. Love that she won this season! Just goes to show that sometimes it takes more than technical skill, you've got to have a vision.

  9. Cathie U. / / Reply

    I haven't been able to follow this season's Project Runway, but last night I caught the finale. I LOVED Anya's collection. She really knows how to work with prints and made everything look fabulous without trying so hard. And best of all she seems like she has a great spirit/attitude.

  10. mosey / / Reply

    Wow, I love Anya – this is so awesome! And you asked the perfect questions too. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  11. cindy k / / Reply

    i really enjoyed the show and anya's interview. i can imagine her designing the prints she uses for her dresses and more. it also enjoyed following along with you during the episodes on twitter.

  12. juliette crane / / Reply

    love reading this! i've been so inspired by anya and just finished watching the final episode! thank you so much for sharing your interview…totally giddy for you :)

    xo, juliette

  13. Natalie Brooke / / Reply

    Wow- love the interview, you did a great job!! I also interview on my blog (specifically fashion illustrators/designers) and I would have loved to interview Anya. I totally loved her work, but would have liked to see more of a variety and tailored look from her, but I'm sure that as she grows in the business she'll learn more – after all, she's able to get a whole lot done in a short time (magic!) Thanks for sharing your lovely interview! (:

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