The delightful Amanda Valentine was kind enough to take time out of her very busy schedule recently to chat with me a bit about her life post-Project Runway. Amanda, who has created outfits for many of Nashville's finest, has a wicked sense of humor, great business sense and also happens to have a famous brother in a little band you may have heard of, called Maroon 5.
Read on to learn more about Amanda...
Q: I really enjoyed watching you on Project Runway! You have such an easy going vibe about you and it was clear very early on that you were already an expert at what you do. You know, I actually really liked your moss dress! How long had you been in the design business before appearing on Project Runway?
Dang it I liked my moss dress, too! I wanted to take a totally different spin on it- make it 60s and cutesy and wearable. Ugh, I digress. I started sewing when I was about 8 years old. I grew up watching my mother quilt and make clothing for all of her children (5 of us total). I kept up with it through junior high and high school and got my degree in Clothing and Textile Design from my hometown university. When I graduated I moved to Los Angeles and got involved in a different side of fashion- styling and fashion PR. So I spent the next several years growing that career but unfortunately neglecting design. I kept sewing through those all those years but it was Project Runway that reminded me how much I had always wanted to be a designer. I think my easy going vibe comes from years of working with all walks of life in production- celebrities, crazy directors, ad execs and record label presidents. You have to collaborate in a crew that big and I've learned to be calm and accommodating.
Q: A couple months ago I had a nice chat with Michelle for my radio show and she just raved about you. The two of you truly seem like an unstoppable team. She said she’d totally be up for collaborating with you… any plans in the works for that yet?
Don't you just love that gal? I swear, I saw her that FIRST day of filming and said to myself, "Oh, we're totally going to get along…" If you could peg either one of us down long enough we'd love to do it! We both have a thousand different things going on, but every once in a while we meet in LA to hang out for a couple days and fabric shop. That's become our "thing"….
Q: Do you still attend a lot of post-Project Runway events? I know they always seem to be getting all of the contestants together for these great parties in New York City…
I try to! Unfortunately I can't usually justify a trip to NYC just to party, but I love getting the invites! Because I lived in LA, that's my go-to big city and where I usually source fabric, etc, so I don't get to NYC as much as I'd like. I HAVE made really great friends with some of the other "alums"- and it' s so nice to keep in touch with them here and there.
Q: Admittedly I’m a huge fan of Miranda Lambert’s since way back when she was still opening for Keith Urban and hawking her debut single. She seemed like one of the more fair judges on the show, too, with a lot of really encouraging things to say. You’re a Nashville girl. How cool was it to have Miranda Lambert as a guest judge?
I was THRILLED. I think a lot of the other contestants didn't "get" Nashville and didn't totally understand why I loved it so much, so it was nice to have this killer country star show them how happening we are! And by then I was so homesick I couldn't stand it, so I was thrilled to have a piece of home in the big city!
Q: You’ve had several fashion shows since PR. What was your favorite?
I had an incredible show at an airplane hangar benefitting the TJ Martell foundation. Any time we can associate fashion with a charitable cause is a thrill. It's such a flighty and often superficial industry, it's nice to have the opportunity to give back. And the TJ Martell foundation is such an innovative and still very "Nashville" organization (a music industry specific non profit that funds innovative medical research for leukemia, cancer and AIDS).
Q: Your brother is in Maroon 5. Does his crazy music-world-domination life ever spill over to your life? Has he ever given YOU any style tips, or do you pass on any to him?
What's funny is his fans have become my fans! They are loyal and sweet and were so supportive when I got on the show. My first styling gig was their very first music video, Harder to Breath (I assisted their stylist). So I really have him to thank for getting me into the biz!
Q: You make such wearable, beautiful pieces. If a fan wants to buy one of your pieces, where should they visit or who should they contact?
I sell some pieces at the Trunk (mobile fashion truck and at their East Nashville location). I also sell through my website amandavalentine.com. I'm having a huge trunk show/pop up shop December 14th at Urban Outfitters- along with other designs, vintage and food trucks! It's going to be a blast!
Q: What’s the best way for your fans to keep up with what you’re doing these days?
I am an instagram fiend. It's my favorite of the social networks. Look for me @valentimes.
Q: Wacky question time! Which Disney cartoon character do you think you're most like?
A combo of Cruella Deville and Ariel.
Q: If you had to bake a pie for Gordon Ramsay or complete a challenge for Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model, which would you rather attempt?
Make a pie! I'm a maker of things, not a model. Having my picture taken is torture.