Emily Pollard became the first designer voted out of Project Runway’s first-ever teams edition in Thursday night’s episode.
The season 11 premiere of the Lifetime competition kicked off with the 16 competitors learning they would be split into two teams of eight, competing in groups for the entire season. It was not welcome news for most of them, as team challenges typically are the most dreaded.
The designers were tasked with creating looks inspired by New York that showed off their personal aesthetic, while also giving creative input to their teammates. The winning designer would be chosen from the winning team, while the eliminated designer would be from the losing group.
Pollard, a 24-year-old from Falls Church, Va., came up with an overly ambitious design and had to get some assistance from teammate Cindy Marlatt just so she’d have something other than a cropped jacket to present to the judges. On Friday, she told reporters that she struggled mostly because she was out of her element.
“The whole concept of the show and competition is just really weird,” she said. “You’re completely cut off from your family, from your resources and everything, and I think it was just completely different from what I had expected. I didn’t realize how hard it would be. I overdesigned and set myself up to fail.”
Still, Pollard said she doesn’t think the judges made the right decision. Even though her look wasn’t finished, she believes it had more design than James Martinez’s “basic skirt,” for example.
As for the teams twist, Pollard said she’s still wondering how that will play out the rest of the season.
“It wasn’t as bad as I think I was expecting,” she said. “It does definitely change the game because you have to be nice to everyone. There is definitely a lot more camaraderie than I think past seasons had because [then] everyone was looking out for themselves. But now you really do grow to care about the people on your team and want them to do well, and that changes everything.”