Project Runway’s Jeffrey Sebelia: Where is He Now?

by | August 20, 2009 at 6:20 AM | Project Runway: Where Are They Now, Where Are They Now

Sebelia today. (Lifetime)

Sebelia today. (Lifetime)

We caught up Project Runway season three winner Jeffrey Sebelia to talk his latest line, new band, and upcoming involvement with the Project Runway All-Star Challenge, which premieres tomorrow night on Lifetime, right before the all-new season of Project Runway.

Name: Jeffrey Sebelia

Age: 39

How You Know Him: He’s the Project Runway Season Three winner with the rock and roll edgy style, elaborate tattoos, and a dark and twisty attitude. He was the “character” we all loved to hate, for his brash, competitive arrogance, but was ultimately named winner in a finale that allowed four designers through to Bryant Park (instead of the usual three), beating out Laura Bennett, Uli Herzner, and Mychael Knight. “Oddly enough it’s been three years and it hasn’t really died down which is really good, professionally and personally,” he told us of life today. “It’s just expanded my world ten fold.”

Memorable Moments: Remember when he made fellow contestant Angela Keslar’s mother cry? Sebelia famously brought Keslar’s mother to tears during the “Everday Woman” challenge where designers created a look for fellow competitors’ mothers and sisters. “Angela – I never see her, I never talk to her. But if I ran into Angela it would probably be pleasant. For every time you saw me blow up at Angela, what you didn’t see was just how annoying she was. Just crazy, crazy, crazy, but if i ran into her it would be fine,” he said. Though the same can’t be said for Laura Bennett, who accused Sebelia of cheating before the final Bryant Park runway show, though he was later cleared of any wrongdoing. “I never liked Laura. She is a loathsome person,” he said. “I actually ran into her at the Mood in New York two days before I went to do this Project Runway All-Star challenge and I had no sour grapes with her, even though she accused me of cheating. And I told her I was doing the All-Star challenge and working on music with a new band, Sing Orpheus, and that the All-Star show will be great press, and I’m excited to do it and that’s it. And then Santino [Rice], who hates her as well, sends me an interview she did online, where she mentions running into me and basically says I’m talking out of the side of my neck and spinning a web and making stories. She hasn’t changed at all. She’s got such a hard on for me it’s weird.”

The Santino Connection: Sebelia only decided to audition for the show after seeing the success of good friend Santino Rice, who made it to the Olympus Fashion Week during Season Two. “He convinced me to do it. I saw the first season and thought it was silly and ridiculous and not very valid. But then the fact that he did it, and said it would be good press, and was a good thing, and I know him and respect his design aesthetic. And then I saw his season and watched it and I really enjoyed it and decided to go audition.”

Life After Runway: Immediately after the show, Sebelia returned to LA and his first clothing label Cosa Nostra, and later created a more accessible branch of it, Good Vig. Life was great – but not if you read a New York Magazine piece profiling his post-Runway life which Sebelia alleges grossly exaggerated his success – or lack thereof. “I wanted to sue them for that. This columnist spent three days with me for a ‘day in the life’ piece and took everything positive in my life and spun it to be negative. I was going to do wardrobe for the “Bratz” movie, not because I’m a fan of Bratz, but because I was a fan of Avi Arad, who is a half owner of Marvel, and a producer of the movie, and it was part of a relationship I was building with him, that if I did these costumes, I’d also create a merchandise leather line for “Ghostrider” which he had coming out too. When I told the reporter, she said, ‘Those slutty little dolls?,’ which I repeated, ‘Yeah, those slutty little dolls.” And then cut to, she printed it as I said I’m doing wardrobe for slutty little dolls and I got fired from the Bratz movie which cost me $150,000 in salary and Avi Arad never called me back. I wasn’t ashamed to do the movie, I was doing it because it was a great job and good for my future. But aside from that article, things are great. I’ve had two very successful lines and am starting another one. What’s a hard time for me is still a blessing and more than most people need to live on.”

What’s Next: After several years at the helm of the Cosa Nostra and Good Vig lines, Sebelia is now leaving those behind, and will launch an entirely new brand, Jeffrey Sebelia. “Fashion wise, I’m working on the Jeffrey Sebelia line. I’m in the process of leaving the Cosa Nostra and Good Vig companies; we’re parting ways. I own the names and labels, and might use them again, but what I’m working on right now is the Jeffrey Sebelia label. It’s a line that’s continues to evolve and become more and more, I hate to use the word, wearable. Its not for wanting a different creative direction with the new line, it’s to reach more people and have a different business partner. And one of the important thing I’m doing is collaborating with a well known artist to do a series of knitwear. We’re starting with a couple of style for women and men and using his artwork as the print on top of the design I’ve created.”

Rock ‘N’ Rolla: On top of that, he’s also putting his rock ‘n’ roll style to good use, with his new band, Sing Orpheus, his second attempt to break onto the scene after a 1990s effort with the band Lifter. “Right now I have a band and I’m writing all the songs and working with this producer Mickey Petralia, who worked with The Peaches and Beck. I just started playing again after being on Interscope years ago. My girlfriend is the singer, another friend was a bass player for Pete Yorn for years, and we got together and before I knew it in six months we had a couple of great shows and recorded with Mickey whose won Grammys, and our first single, “Lullaby” comes out on iTunes tomorrow.”

On the Upcoming All-Star Challenge: He’s also giving Project Runway another go and will appear on the Project Runway All-Star Challenge where he’ll compete against past contestants from all seasons – including good friend Santino! He’s also the only past winner to join the group. “I’m going on the All-Star because it’s going to be great press and I made up these Sing Orpheus T-Shirts that I’m wearing on the show. I’m taking full advantage of the whole thing! I just felt like while I was there I’m gonna be judged however I’m going to be and I just want to make stuff I’m proud of. I’m not competing against any of other designers. It was fun to be in the workroom again. But by the time it got to being on the runway and being judged I just wanted to leave; I didn’t care whether I won or not. But why not go? Why not put it all up again? It doesn’t mean anything if you’re not willing to lose it in order to gain more. And, no one can take away the previous win you had. You only stand to win some more money!”