By the time Simone Leblanc — the first of 15 contestants auf'd from the fourth season of Bravo's sew-business reality hit — had spoken to TVGuide.com, she seemed even-keeled about her brief stint on Project Runway (Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET). (Having now launched her own collection probably helped put such sudden rejection behind her.) The Los Angeles-based designer, with an affinity for organic and surplus fabrics, shared her well-adjusted perspective.
TVGuide.com: It's disappointing that you were the first one to go, but was it a positive experience overall?
Simone Leblanc: It was positive in the sense that it was very unique and challenging. It was a growth opportunity.
TVGuide.com: So you're glad that you did it?
Simone: I am. But I would not do it again [Laughs].
TVGuide.com: Did you feel overwhelmed?
Simone: There was a combination of excitement, a little bit of confusion and just trying to get my bearings.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of the judges' critique of your dress? They said that they didn't see a vision or point of view. But compared to some of the more dramatic pieces, maybe you had a vision that was more subtle.
Simone: Thank you for that. I am on that same track. I don't think my piece screamed as loudly as some of the other people's did, and perhaps it's just that I’m not clamoring for attention the way some other dresses needed to.... [Laughs] I definitely have a point of view, so I don't agree with them on that at all.
TVGuide.com: Do you think if you'd been able to stay longer, your vision would have come across?
Simone: Absolutely, absolutely.
TVGuide.com: They also mentioned the construction of the dress. If you'd had more time, would that have been easier?
Simone: Yeah, definitely. It was the first challenge and so in that sense there was a little bit of a disadvantage. We'd just gotten there and everyone was confused and trying to figure out what was going on. I also chose to do two separate pieces and a lot of people just stuck to one. And it's funny in the sense that construction can be picked on in one garment and not in another garment, so I'm kind of curious about the playing field on that one.
TVGuide.com: You said on the Bravo website that you were surprised by what you witnessed on the runway versus what the viewer would see. What were you referring to?
Simone: You know when you see the dresses walk down the runway and you're sitting right there, it's a whole different perspective than when you're watching it on TV. Some of the stuff that looks phenomenal on the runway doesn't show as well on television and vice versa.
TVGuide.com: I've been noticing in online discussion boards that there's been a love/hate for Elisa's dress. What did you think of it?
Simone: That dress is not my taste at all, and as far as construction goes, a jersey [fabric] is much, much easier to work than a woven.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any regrets about what you chose to do?
Simone: No, but I do wish that I'd stayed on longer and had more of an opportunity to play and express myself and face the challenges.
TVGuide.com: So you wouldn’t have gone back and done something more dramatic, thinking that that's kind of what they wanted?
Simone: Honestly, no. I don't feel the need to make a long gown just to prove myself to them. I'm solid in my vision and I stand behind what I did.
TVGuide.com: Have your aspirations changed from having been on the show?
Simone: They've just been magnified and compounded. This has been a great opportunity to work at lightning speed to push things forward, so I'm continuing on my journey.
TVGuide.com: You're working on your own collection, right?
Simone: Actually I have launched it; it's called TS Bloom and the website is tsbloom.com.
TVGuide.com: Were you there long enough to bond with some of the other contestants?
Simone: Yeah, I bonded with... pretty much all of them, to tell you the truth! [Laughs] My closest friend there is Marion — he and I really connected. He comes from a very well-developed artistic point of view. We kind of created a secret language between us, it was funny.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you'll ever work with any of the other contestants who are based in L.A.?
Simone: I think that we absolutely will trade tricks and secrets and things like that, but as far as doing a collection together, I don’t really see that on the horizon. But you never know what's out there. I'm open!
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