Queerty Query: Nick Verreos


Nick Verreos is Project Runway’s sassy front-runner. The funny Californian recently told Bradford Shellhammer how he really feels about Santino, why he dislikes celebrity designers, and why Kark Lagerfeld looked better chunky.

We both worked for FIDM. What was your experience like at the school?
Several years ago, they asked me to come in and speak to the students , as an alumnus of the school who had “succeeded” in the industry. The response was so positive, that consequently, they asked me if I had time to teach some classes part time. I did, and I discovered that I enjoyed teaching the students and “giving back” all the knowledge I’ve acquired so far working 12+ years in this industry.

No surprise that I sort of enjoyed being “on stage.” The feedback I get from the students is that they find my methods and instruction to be refreshing and rewarding at the same time. Overall, I love teaching, it just takes up a lot of time(outside of class) and sometimes it can be really annoying to deal with students that are there for the wrong reasons: rich kids who have been told my their mommy or daddy that they have “great style” or they can “put outfits very well together,” etc. As well as the current phenomenon of “celebrity designers,” which leads kids to think that it really doesn’t require hard work and struggle to do well in the gritty Fashion Industry and that it can happen overnight. I sometimes wish the school would do more of a selective /weeding out process BEFORE they got to us.

Do you read blogs? If so which?
When I have time I do. I am humbled by the support and positive feedback and comments that most of them say about me. Some of my faves are Queerty of course, Blogging Project Runway, Television Without Pity, and Four Four is pretty funny! The whole “whickety whack” and “Uncle Nick” threads are slaying me!!!!!!! Wish I would have made a T-shirt with that written on it!

Also, my friends are always sending me stuff that is being thrown out there in the electronic atmosphere. Good and bad stuff. Fashion and designing/creating fashion is very emotional for me, so to read people’s critiques of what we do, which for me comes from my heart—can affect me emotionally. It’s especially difficult when I read or hear comments from people that have really no knowledge of what we go through, and the time constraints, etc. My sister, a former Miss Venezuela and a model, used to say the following to people: “If you are not a Make-up Artist, don’t talk about my make-up; if you are not a Hair Stylist, don’t talk about my hair; and if you are NOT my brother, don’t comment on the clothes that I am wearing.” But I know that people feel compelled to put in their two cents, heck I used to do it as well, after watching America’s Next Top Model or other shows like that. Needless to say, I don’t do it anymore, my outlook and views have changed: I have become the commented-on, not the commentator!

After the jump Nick tells us about his relationship with Santino.

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We saw pictures of you at a NYE party in Brooklyn our friend threw. Are you NYC based these days?
You could say, I am bi-coastal. I was in NY for a week for New Year’s and to enjoy spending time with my “NY posse,” we went to Secret, Hiro at the Maritime, and several parties. Love me some New York–and as you know, my speech gets all NEW YAWK the minute I step off that plane at JFK!!!!

Tim Gunn. Do we love him?
Are you kidding me? Of course we do. I had the pleasure of seeing him while in NY and had a blast!!! He is such a classy, intelligent and wonderfully witty person. I wish you guys could see how funny he really is, it’s this “East Coast/Upper East Side” intelligent humor that can be so dead pan, that inevitably has me on the floor laughing!

You and Santino. The rivalry is starting to heat up. Are you two getting along these days?
I saw him out at an LA club right after we ended the show–briefly said “hello,” but I have not spoken or seen him since. Would like to keep it that way.

Dan Renzi, a friend of ours and a Real World alum, says this about you: “Funky-fresh and fabulous. Also known as “My husband.” So hands off.” Can we set you up on a date?
Dan is trippin’!!!! Such a cutie! There’s enough of me to go around–you’ll just have to discuss it with my boyfriend first!

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Which designers inspire you? Which could you live without?
Oh dear, let’s see: I am inspired by Olivier Theyskens who designs for Rochas(stunning,the new elegance!!), Nicholas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga(sexy,intelligent, architectural designs), as well as Americans Costello Taglipietra, Carolina Herrera. I could live without the onslaught of celebrity designers. Enough is enough! Recently I was listening on NPR to an interview of an LA “designer” who has a line of T-shirts and they went on and on and on about how they “designed” these T-shirts and talked about it and the process as if he was John Galliano or Christian Lacroix designing Haute Couture! I almost grabbed the phone and started screaming! It’s just a frickin’ T-shirt!

I think , especially here in Los Angeles, the ego and self-obsession and lack of surrounding yourself with friends and/or co-workers who can “bring you back to reality” can lead to the self-aggrandizement in this industry seen in these people who use the term “designer” on themselves too loosely.

Has Karl Lagerfeld gotten better since he got skinny?
Karl Lagerfeld is a genius. He has stayed the same. Always challenging the norms of fashion, as well as himself. He could have remained complacent, but he has not. Tubby or skinny(I think he is too skinny, I like ’em with a little meat on their bones!), he has remained a force to be reckoned with. For example , one of his most recent Chanel Couture collections for Fall, in which all the models were cloaked in these amazing coats, which then they proceeded to take off , only to reveal the most intricately stunning ensembles, gowns, and suits! Breathtaking. If only Los Angeles would have “fashion moments” like this. But alas, in a sea of denim and vintage tees, it’s a bit difficult.

Your dream muse is?
Maria Callas.Is that too gay?

You seem to be The Gays favorite to win. Do you want to send a message to your homo-fans?

Avoid the whickety whack!!!! Oh, and see y’all at the Rodeo!