'Project Runway Talk': Irina explains herself

Who is Irina Shabayeva? The back-stabbing mean girl that this season made her out to be? Or victim of a “bitch edit”? Why was she always ragging on her colleagues? Did she have any doubts that she’d beat Althea and Carol Hannah to the Bryant Park finish line? Dalton and I covered these burning questions and more (!) when the divisive season six winner sat for her Project Runway Talk grilling. Press play on our two-part interview below to see what Irina had to say about her controversial all-black collection, how the nickname Mean-a Irina came to be, and her claim that behind whatever bitchery she displayed on screen, there was always a good reason for it…only, it consistently ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out our chats with runners-up Althea and Carol Hannah.

[ewbrightcove “50568262001”, “51767704001”, “475”, “345”]

Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • maiv

    I didn’t really watch this season, but I like Irina. She got the worst editing, but I feel like I’d get along with her tell-it-like-it-is personality.

    • x

      This was the most boring season of Project Runway ever! CH should have won. Please, please, please get rid of borrrrrring Heidi Klum. She has all the personality (and flavor) of a used tea bag.!

      • Tagrid

        You can’t really be THAT stupid.. can you? Heh – I guess SO! Get rid of Heidi!! LOLOL It’s HER show, dimwit! Without Heidi there IS NO Project Runway! TOOOO Funny!!

  • Fatima

    I like how much she dissed Lifetime. Kind of fun when people reveal reality phoniness, especially winners. Still love the show though.

    • x

      Silly silly simple minded Tagrid, I don’t care whether it is her show or not pinhead, the fact still remains she’s borrrrrrrring. Actually, without the DESIGNERS there would be no show. (Did your parents drop you on your mishapened head when you were a baby)????????

      • SO2009


      • CJ

        Um,hello – Heidi is one of the producers -the only way she is going anywhere is if she leaves voluntarily. Why should she? She is a big part of why a lot of people watch, including myself. I think she is charming and can sling a zinger out of left field just when you least expect it. If you people are so bored with her, don’t watch. She will still be there with or without without YOU!

  • Peter

    Although Irena was a really nasty person and her final runway collection wasn’t very appealing at all, she did good work all season. I’m actually glad she won. Now maybe she get over her daddy issues. That poor girl is seriously messed up in the head.

  • Nancy

    I liked Carol Hannah – I felt she should have one! ALL BLACK how awful! Good thing there are people like Carol Hannah to make clothes!

  • Heather

    Who cares, really? The entire season should have been auf’ed.

  • AcaseofGeo

    We were really disappointed with this season. We didn’t care for Irina at all, and we actually didn’t watch either of the FINAL 3 shows. This season was boring, you can Irina was a bitch but she was bitch-lite if you really think about it. She was mean but never in a clever quippy-quote sort of way. We liked the Top 5 except for Irina, but basically no designer stood out. Lets get BACK to NY, see the season where Nina & Michael are on the whole time, come up with some better theme weeks and it would be great to put the show back on BRAVO. Lifetime just doesn’t have the sensibility for this type of show.

  • Elizabeth

    Irina was mean, but at least she was sincere about it.

    • Kari

      Why is that an excuse for rudeness?

      • Kevin

        “Bob’s a rapist, but at least he’s sincere about it.”

  • eva

    I loved Carol Hannah all season, she was pretty consistent. I loved her clothes. I loved the first dress and her Last dress was magnificent. It was beautiful. All of her clothes flowed. Her show was not depressing like irina

  • Tarc

    I’m not sure when it suddenly became acceptible – even celebrated – when people will do anything at all to get what they want (not matter the cost). Sure, Irena is not the most egregarious example of this, but she certainly is one. After all, even the t-shirt that she supposedly had to design herself was a rip-off from an article in New York Magazine (right down to the same font).

  • RAC

    What a boring, boring season. Irina ranks right up there with Michael as least deserving PR winner ever. Some of her hats look like they came from Christian Siriano’s collection. Too bad he didn’t show up and accuse Irina of stealing HIS ideas. Good news is we only have to wait 2 months for the next season – hopefully it will be a lot better than this one!

    • Laura K.

      Michael? The Project Runway winners are:

      Jay McCarroll
      Chloe Dao

      • x

        Ooooops…no Michael!

      • MsDaisy

        Jeffrey, not Geoffrey. (Jeffrey Sebelia.)

    • RAC

      A thousand pardons – I meant Geoffrey (note to self – wake up first, then coffee, THEN post on ew.com) :P

      • Laura K.

        Thanks MsDaisy. I could not for the life of me remember his name.

    • pool

      Jeffrey was won of my favorite winners. You fail at good taste.

      • RyRyNYC

        you fail at good taste Pool… although honestly… none of the WINNERS have ever really been the best of their respective seasons.

  • ArchStanton

    My friends and I stopped watching around the last 3 or 4 episodes of the season. I expect a bit of snippiness and diva drama, but this season people were being downright mean. Not just Irina either. Heidi showed no attempt at constructive criticism and no class as she ripped on people with a smile. Judges no longer rewarded vision as they did in previous seasons. If Santino had been on this season, he would have been out by the 4th episode. Here’s hoping the return to New York brings a touch of class back to Project Runway.

  • Scan

    Irina wasn’t as bitchy as Nicholas, and she is far more talented. And she washes her hair!

    • ericalina

      LOLLLL – the first thing I said when nicholas was voted off was THANK GOD NOW HE CAN GO WASH HIS STANK HAIR. i thought i was the only one who found him revolting.

  • Mari

    Althea makes me laugh, she dissed Logan about copying yet she dislike Irina now. Hypocrital much. She is such a fake, she went down many point in my book.

    • Jess

      That struck me. I am amazed more people, even the interviewers, did not call her on it. Irina is terrible for attempting to “ruin her reputation on national television” but she did the same to Logan. Hypocritical much.

      • Kari

        Althea says in the Realite video that she wishes she could take it back.

  • hochelaga

    Irina’s from NYC! that’s why she acts/is the way she is.. and her NYC chops served her well …
    they may not be as over the top as past finalists ( some have been cartoonish ) …but so? Enjoyed the interviews clearing the air ….now if only there could be a hidden camera in the Althea-Carol-Hannah-Malvin-Logan studio…..

  • Lola

    Thanks for having this on the front page.

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