Anthony L. Williams is best known for being a fan favorite on Project Runway‘s seventh season. He was so beloved for his personality and (occasionally over-the-top) fashion creations that he was brought back from Project Runway All-Stars this year, all the while styling and designing looks for the second season of Single Ladies. Williams will have an even bigger role on the Atlanta-based show this season, because he’ll also appear in tonight’s episode. We spoke to Williams on the set about his role as an actor, his methods as a designer for the show, and his elimination from Project Runway, which he doesn’t regret for a minute.
Is being in front of the camera new and exciting for you?
It is new because I work in the background. Clearly I’ve been in the front of the camera dealing with Project Runway All-Stars, Project Runway, and other media stuff that I’ve done. It’s very fun. It seems to come for very natural for me. I’m really enjoying it. I think it gives me a greater appreciation for what these women do.
On Project Runway you’re known for coming up with these great, funny quips, do they let you improvise at all on the show?
Yes! The show writer, Stacy A. Littlejohn, has been so accommodating. She really wanted me to — she really just laid a foundation and wanted me to run with it myself. I’m very concerned with making sure that the vision that she has,I want to make sure it’s realized. So, I think that when you are a designer or a stylist, your job is always to accommodate someone else’s vision or, you know, understand where that person is trying to go. Even though she’s given me freedom, I most definitely want to respect her vision and where she was trying to go even with my part.
So are you playing yourself?
Yes, I am.
Let’s talk about the outfits in this particular episode. Did you take the women’s personality into account or just their bodies?
Most definitely personality, most definitely. I think that as a designer working directly with clients, your job is most definitely to cater to the personality, body types, what color makes them glow. These three women clearly all have distinct and specific points of view. I think if you look at their exclusively-designed gown by Anthony Williams (in the photo above), I think they all look like their point of view. You know, Charity’s a little rocker. She’s a little fun. The lace of Denise’s dress is very vintage but you see she’s still stepping out of her box that she’s been in, you know, being under her parents’ care. Then you have Keisha who is just like, “Bam! I’m here! This is it!” She’s most definitely more flashy, but you know, she’s very body conscious so she’s still fully covered. It’s a great balance.
Of the three dresses, do you have a favorite or one you think you’d actually want to market and sell?
I think they’re all great representations of me. I think that if I had to say which one’s the core of who I am: the green, the dress that Charity is wearing is probably, like, Anthony through and through.
Yeah that’s beautiful, it fits her amazingly well. It deceives you because you see that it’s puffy in front, and then it’s tighter and all her from the back.
Right. That’s what I try to do. I try to create a balance to celebrate women and their bodies. You know, I can design anything I want, but the reality of it is, I have to respect my muse and that is women. So you know, I think she looked absolutely stunning in it. The great thing about working with Charity is that she is so appreciative. She really appreciates and respects your authority to design and design something specifically for her. As a matter of fact, I’d say for all of the women one thing that I’ve heard this season that I love hearing is, “I’ve already seen your work and I trust you.” You know? ‘Cause I always tell people, people’s expectation is the number one killer of creativity. And to know that these women expect greatness and respect what I do, that just makes — I’m sure you experience that as well — it makes it such a better environment.
So how is this season different from last season as far as your role and investment in the show?
Well, I designed and styled Stacey Dash last season. As a matter of fact, some of the signature looks that she really got a lot of attention from, I designed them.
What’s the difference between working predominantly for one person last season to working for everyone this season?
It’s a different capacity. When I come in, I feel like I’m Santa Claus. When I come in, I deliver sparkly, pretty things for them to enjoy and then I leave. Working with Stacey Dash, I was really in a full-time capacity in charge of everything: the earrings, the shoes, the bags. Now when I come in, it’s more that I’m doing something special for them, whereas we’re not working every day together and getting on each other’s nerves.
I was sorry to see when you were eliminated from this season of Project Runway All-Stars. I’ve always been a fan of yours.
Don’t be sorry. Trust me, I had the time of my life after I got eliminated. [Laughs] As soon as I got eliminated, [my fellow contestant] Rami got eliminated and we were sneaking out, going to the restaurant Cafeteria, and we were going to clubs. It was just so much fun. Honestly, it was never in the stars for us to win, so we just had a great time and enjoyed ourselves.
[Photo: VH1/Blake Tyers]