At first, Keith Bryce seemed like the sweet, quiet, Mormon gay from Salt Lake City who got excited by fashion design. Then it became clear that he was crashing and burning after a few ill-advised choices in recent Project Runway challenges, which led to his departure Wednesday for an uninspired automobile-parts ensemble. And next it became clear that he wasn’t so sweet and quiet but just plain mouthy, first lamenting in confessionals about how much he deserved to win over the other contestants, and then taking it to the runway and nastily refuting the judges. Bad move. Here, Keith talks to EW.com about all that sassy lip, why Blayne is still in the competition, and his future plans.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The cameras portrayed you as kind of bitter, and you talked back to the judges quite a bit last night. Was that really how it happened? Were you portrayed correctly?
KEITH BRYCE: I wouldn’t say that I was necessarily bitter. I was working so hard to please the judges. When I was creating by inspiration and putting out fashion, I was happy for their critiques because they are where they are in their careers because they are good at what they do. So I always took their critiques very seriously. I just felt by that point, they had been so harsh the week before when it came to my drag-queen challenge, when I had a client that had actually loved what I had created. She had told everyone on the runway that if she had paid me, this is exactly what she would have wanted. She wanted rock and roll and sexy.
So what was going on with this challenge?
When it came to the next challenge, I was like, I don’t know what to do. Am I supposed to be pleasing the client? Am I supposed to be pleasing the judges? Am I supposed to be putting out original, conceptual fashion? Being a young, fresh designer, it was like, How do I please the judges? They’re like, Put out a strong point of view and stick to it. It’s so hard because you’re saying that you want me to do that, but in the end, you want me to create something that is marketable. Sometimes high fashion isn’t always so marketable. Sometimes it’s a piece of art. That’s what I’m trying to represent to the fashion world and get back to on the runway: Fashion is an art. I could send out a naked girl with a flower on her boob and call it fashion and art, and that’s what it is. I felt like maybe they did portray that a little. I think they did an accurate job. I was a little bit bitter and I was kinda broken at that point. I really wanted them to know because I knew none of the other contestants were gonna stand up and say, ”Tread lightly on our hearts.” We’re working night and day on these designs, and we’re doing the best we can to put out inspiration and passion continually. Give us positive criticism that is going to help us grow as designers. Don’t just tear us down because we don’t learn and grow from that. I think they did a good job. [The show] is only an hour long. They have to put as much as they can in there.
NEXT PAGE: ”I felt like I did want to push the boundaries, but they weren’t receptive to that. They were just like, ‘Whoa, way out there, Keith.’ Exactly! It stands out more than anybody else’s. Isn’t that what you want to see?”