Project Runway competitor Alicia Hardesty had escaped elimination after being in the bottom two twice before on this season, but she wasn't so lucky her third time, getting cut from the Lifetime competition on Thursday night's episode.
The 27-year-old designer from Brandenburg, Ky., was eliminated after a team challenge -- she was paired up with Dmitry Sholokhov and Elena Slivnyak, who don't get along -- that called for the groups to make a two-look collection for fall, one of which had to feature outerwear.
Judge Michael Kors said her contributions -- a top and pant that were shown on the runway under a coat made by Slivnyak -- were "boring," while Heidi Klum said they were both "throwaway pieces."
For her part, Hardesty said Friday that she thinks the outcome would have been different if she had been paired up with other designers.
"I was there with two people who obviously don't get along from the very beginning," she said, adding: "I felt like I was always in the middle trying to keep the group together. ... [On the runway], what we focused on most for our group was that [the looks were] incohesive and we didn't get along, but I didn't feel like that was necessarily my problem. I did the best I could to help these people get along."
After the elimination, Slivnyak was seen crying backstage, but her tears weren't expained during the episode. Hardesty said she thinks the stress of the challenge caught up to her fellow competitor.
"We were in a really intense situation, and a group challenge," she said. "I think that just kind of got the best of her, and obviously she felt bad for me going home and how it went down ... and it hit her hard."
Hardesty did admit that Slivnyak, who has been at the center of much drama throughout the season, was a challenge to work with but still defended her.
"When she gets into the workroom she is very competitive, and that comes across as harsh," she said, praising her technical skills and design aesthetic. "She's very creative and forward-thinking."
Hardesty also lamented that the Project Runway challenges didn't play to her design strengths, saying she felt like every task was outside her comfort zone. She said she wishes there had been one focusing on menswear, which is her specialty, or "something that allowed for more edge," like one in which she could have incorporated demin.
Hardesty, who said she would love the opportunity to design for Ellen DeGeneres or Johnny Depp, thinks Christopher Palu has a good shot at winning because he's been a "favorite of the judges."
Hardesty is now focusing on her Original Tomboy line. She's putting funding together to begin production and is aiming for the line to be available to consumers in October.