Daniel Franco Daniel Franco

As Heidi Klum says on Project Runway, "Either you're in or you're out." But in the case of Daniel Franco, it's not that simple. The aspiring fashion designer with the Flock of Seagulls haircut was the first contestant kicked off the Bravo reality show last year. But when the Emmy-nominated sleeper returns for a second season on Dec. 7, Franco will be back in style, competing again for the chance to create his own clothing line.

"The judges had no idea I was going to be there," Franco says of his second audition. "I walked in the room like everybody else. I came in with my shades and my samples and stood in line."

After Project Runway guru Tim Gunn invited Franco back on the show, "it felt like a bit of a redemption," he says. "I thought, 'Yeah!' Then I said, 'Aw, s---, not again!'"

Season 2, though, could provide Franco the opportunity to right some wrongs, and improve on his own previous appearance. "I wasn't really proud of my performance or my portrayal [during the first season]," he admits. "It bummed me out. I was like, "I'm through with TV." Then I licked my wounds and started working on my fashion collection, which was very well received. It was actually the best work of my life."

All of which, he believes, will make him a much different contender from last go-round. While Franco says, "I still feel like I have a lot to prove," he reveals a new approach. "Last year, I expected everything; now, I have no expectations. I thought of it as a competition [before]; I don't see it as such anymore. I'm hoping it's a showcase for everybody." — Additional reporting by Matt Webb Mitovich