Project Runway Winner Anya Ayoung-Chee Talks Fashion, Learning To Sew, And Sex Tape Scandal: After dethroning Gretchen Jones as the most controversial winner in Project Runway history, season nine winner Anya Ayoung-Chee is talking about what’s next for the budding designer as well as sharing her experiences on the show. She also gives a little detail on those “intimate tapes” you may have heard about!
Speaking to The Insider about how life has changed since winning Project Runway, the former beauty queen credits her success on the show to judge Heidi Klum! “I know without a doubt I could not have won Project Runway without Heidi.” And following her win she has left Trinidad to pursue a career in fashion. Additionally, she has been hard at working actually learning how to sew, cause you know, it’s sort of important when your career is fashion designer!
“I am going to build my online presence; I think that’s very important now. So that people can see my clothes. I am living in New York and going to try to learn a lot of the sewing techniques that I didn’t have time to learn yet, since now I am off the show and there is no pressure. I am looking forward to making a name for myself, and having people see my designs.”
“I want to go back now and learn the more important pattern making skills, because it really does help with my designing capabilities.” Um… good, because I’d like to see an evenly cut neckline in any future Anya collections!
As for her sewing experience prior to appearing on Project Runway, Anya clears all that up! “I had an instructor, she is from Tobago. She kind of taught me the basics but also taught me how to get through [the show] – we really focused on what I would have to do on the show,” she explains. “I didn’t learn a lot of pattern making, I learned a lot of draping skills.”
Hmmm… something about this sounds suspicious – she really thought those skills were going to get her through the competition after watching previous seasons of the show and seeing some of the skill-set? I mean, every past winner had impeccable construction skills!
The former Miss Trinidad and Tobago, who actually competed in the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant, reveals that she attended Parsons but studied graphic design because the fashion program was so “competitive.” She realized she had an eye for fashion while competing in Miss Universe. “I got the chance to design some of the clothes for my competition (and because the clothes were being made for me I didn’t have to make them myself) and that kind of showed me that I could maybe start a line on my own. I think I have a natural desire and flair for it.”
As for the drama and backstabbing associated with being a Project Runway contestant, Ayoung-Chee tried to stay out of it! “I was a little surprised watching the show after and seeing what was going on behind the scenes,” she expresses. “I really hate all that drama! I was very surprised to hear a lot of things happen that I didn’t know had gone on.”
She also reveals that despite all the condescending comments he made behind her back, she is good friends with first runner-up, Joshua McKinley (aka Eyebrows McSequins) and she feels his (and other contestants) snarking and complaining about her lack of construction skills were “completely valid,” admitting: “If I was them I think I’d feel exactly the same way. I really get it.”
Now for the juicy details! In case you haven’t heard, Anya was a participant in quite a racy three-some sex tape (screen shot, below) that leaked after her ex-boyfriend’s laptop was stolen! Wait – haven’t we heard this story before…? Is Kris Jenner managing her?
Talking about the scandal that plagued her prior to the appearing on the show and resurfaced once she nabbed the spotlight, Anya insists she was completely prepared for the backlash!. “I am a very honest person and I just wanted to put everything out on the table, since people were talking about,” she asserts. “When I applied for Project Runway, I had told [producers} about the tape. I didn’t want them to find out in some other way.” And then the producers got dollar $ign$ in their eyes when they heard the phrase: ‘ex-beauty queen with sex tape who can’t sew’ and cast her immediately!
“The tape caused a lot of hurt and a lot of shame, Trinidad is such a small and religious country. It was very hard for me and especially my family,” she admits. Despite the embarrassment, Anya moved on and is focusing on the positives that came from appearing on the show! “It’s been wonderful to do something I really have a passion for.” Best of luck to Anya, we’ll be checking in to see if she learned to sew a sleeve!