The reality television show Project Runway has been working it for years and now starts its ninth season. Viktor Luna is the new designer in town hopefully proving that he has what it takes to be the next big thing. He tells us how he got from Sesame Street to Cornelia Street and now to Project Runway.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Viktor. You are from New York?
Viktor Luna: Yes, I reside in New York.
JN: There were many designers from New York this time. Did you know any of the other contestants before the show?
VL: No absolutely not.
JN: How did you become a part of this season?
VL: I was saving myself for a long time because I was a fan of the show. I wanted to be on it before but I wasn’t ready. I got to a point that I was good at sewing and designing so I gave it a try very last minute.
JN: Did you send in a tape?
VL: No, I wasn’t going to audition but saw the casting on Facebook. The day before I ran to my studio and grabbed my stuff. I wanted to just give it a try.
JN: Did you go to school for fashion?
VL: I was self-taught in the beginning. I had a little bit of a background with my mom doing samples. She taught me the basics but I did go to school at FIT or Fashion Institute of Technology and took courses. I knew how to sew a little bit so it was just finishing the techniques of pattern making and draping.
JN: What was your journey to New York City like?
VL: My family is from Mexico. My dad moved here when he was 28. He left all of our family behind just to get us into a better track in life. He moved us to LA when I was seven years old. I am 30 now. We were an immigrant family and my dad was the only one that had proper papers to live here. He filed for us to get our papers. I was able to work and go to school after that. It was a little bit of a struggle at the beginning for my family. I decided to move here to New York City about nine years ago. I wanted to go to school here. I was studying photography at first because that was what I was doing in LA. After fashion photography I became more interested in clothing because of my background my mom. I realized I could design better than other people so I started my own thing.
JN: What part of Mexico are you from?
VL: Guadalajara, Jalisco.
JN: LA is so different than New York. How do you like it?
VL: I am a city boy ever since I was a little kid watching Sesame Street. I remember loving the brownstones and the city life. Inside I knew I was going to be in the big city.
JN: I heard you would like to design for the musician Bjork.
VL: Yes, I love love love Bjork! I love artists that are risk takers and take things to another level.
JN: Have you heard her new song yet?
VL: I still have to update myself with everything that is going on right now. I will definitely check it out.
JN: Anyone else you would like to design for besides her?
VL: Beside Bjork, I would like to design for Robyn the singer. I think she is really stylish. I like Sarah Jessica Parker. She has an amazing style. I have so many…
JN: Have you been to Chicago yet?
VL: I have actually been to Chicago and I stayed in Boystown. I went to Sidetrack and a couple of areas there. My friend used to live on Cornelia Street. I love Chicago. I went there twice to visit him and we had a blast!
JN: What did you do for the premiere of Project Runway?
VL: They had an opening screening at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. We had some cocktails.
JN: How do you feel now that it’s out there? You have to wait for a while for the debut.
VL: Just like everyone else we have to wait until it is out there. We don’t know anything either. It is all a surprise for us too. At first I was scared watching it but it was amazing to see myself on television. It’s weird.
JN: They usually have so many contestants on the show at the beginning that it is hard to get screen time.
VL: Oh yeah, definitely.
JN: What do you think of the judges and Tim Gunn?
VL: Today is Tim Gunn’s birthday. I wish I could be in front of him to tell him happy birthday. He is the most amazing guy that I know. He’s so down to earth. You can feel his energy.
I love Nina Garcia. She has great style. She is another person I would love to dress. Michael Kors is a really funny guy. He has so much personality that it’s unbelievable. Heidi Klum is so gorgeous. Every time I looked at her it was a shocking moment. Wow, I couldn’t believe she was there in front of me.
JN: They also have great guest judges every season.
VL: It was nice to see Christina Ricci on the first episode. She looked stunning. She is style icon. She dresses so cool. Every time I see her on a red carpet I love her dresses.
JN: She has come a long way, hasn’t she?
VL: Yes, I love her whole goth moment. I grew up on punk rock and goth so to me she was always the cool girl.
JN: Every year there are many gay designers on Project Runway. Are there any straight guys on this season?
VL: There is one and it is going to be shocking when it’s revealed.
JN: So people can look forward to that. Many people on the show also have partners. Are you single?
VL: No, I have a partner. He’s an actor and his name is David Beck. He’s a lovely person and we have been together for five years.
JN: It must be great to live in New York and have the option of gay marriage one day.
VL: I know! I am so happy, proud and excited to be here in New York City where they legalized gay marriage. I have to take advantage of it soon I’m sure.
JN: Where do you want to take your fashion designs for the future?
VL: I am very happy for Christian Siriano and how he worked it out. He is a household name. I would like to do the same. I want to grab this platform and really go out there. I want to really turn it out!
See if Viktor turns it out and is “in or out” this week by watching him on Project Runway. Listings and details can be found at http://www.mylifetime.com.