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  BeverlyHillsPeople.com Exclusive Interview with
“Project Runway” Superstar Nick Verreos
 
  by Fashion Editor, Bory Tan, The Doll Service  
  © 2006 beverlyhillspeople.com  
 
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  Fashion designer Nick Verreos was among the sixteen designers chosen for Season 2 of the hit show, Project Runway, on the Bravo network. Verreos quickly became a fan favorite for his talent, skill, design ability and as the go-to-guy for “color commentary” on the show.

He won the “Barbie Challenge” by designing a winning outfit for the My Scene Barbie. The Barbie was produced and sold on Project Runway web stores and at Toys R Us.   His original illustrations, garments and signature Barbies created during the show are now being sold as collector’s items. 

Verreos wasn’t a young and inexperienced designer hoping for his big break from Project Runway. To the contrary, Nick has been working in the fashion industry for the past 14 years and even launched his line, Nikolaki, back in 2001 with partner David Paul.

The goal of this line was to provide women with a high-end,  young design consisting of silk charmeuse Grecian draped jersey dresses as contemporary separates.

Nikolaki has been unveiled at the Los Angeles Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and featured in such publications as WWD, Nylon, Ocean Drive Magazine, Lucky and California.  Celebrity clients include Eva Longoria, Patricia Arquette, Nikka Costa, and many more.


The Nikolaki line is now available exclusively at boutiques such as Dove Boutique on Robertson, Sirens and Sailors in Silver Lake, and Billion Dollar Babes events in Los Angeles. 
 
   
neg1 Recently Beverly Hills People sat down with Nick to talk about his experience on the fashion reality TV show, what he liked and disliked about it, the other designers on the show, and what he’s been doing lately. 

BHP:  What were some of your first memories of fashion? 

Nick: I’ve always enjoyed drawing.  When I was growing up I used to have a fascination with airplanes. I would spend all my time drawing airplanes, then I changed over to designing flight-attendant uniforms.  Back when I was younger, flight attendants were viewed as fashion icons. I
 
 

would go crazy with my designs and sketch a complete costume from head to toe. I would premiere my line as Nick Verreos presents Pan Am Airlines! 

BHP:
Who or what was your inspiration behind trying out for Project Runway? 

Nick: After closely watching and analyzing the first season of  Project Runway, I was very impressed with the way the show was made.  Making it as a fashion designer nowadays is very cutthroat and competitive, and this was demonstrated quite accurately throughout the show.  It wasn’t your raunchy reality show purely based on nonsense and drama. 

My friends and family also played a huge role in peer-pressuring me to try out for the show, as well. Already established with my clothing line and my position in life, I was very reluctant to try. But then I realized that it would be a great way for me to reach my ultimate dream of expanding my clothing line, Nikolaki, and getting it out there.

BHP: You are a professor at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising) right?


 
  Nick: Yes, I teach pattern making and beginning sewing.  When going to the casting for “Project Runway,” I was so concerned about what my students would have thought of me if they saw me in line.  Ironically, I ran into one of my prior students who was working at casting, and she moved me to the very front of the line. I love teaching and I love my students.  I see it as a way to give back to the community.

BHP:  How long did it take before you found out whether you were IN or OUT?
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  Nick: I received a “yes, you are in” at the audition, but it wasn’t until a few months later that I received the long-awaited confirmation call.  I literally had a week to put my life on hold and move to New York for four months.

BHP:  What was it like seeing yourself on TV?

Nick: To be honest with you, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I’d be.  I was over at my friend’s house for a preview party and when I initially saw myself it was like watching a stranger.  I’m the type of person who dislikes seeing himself on camera, but I had to get over that quick.  After watching the first episode, my friends called it the Nick Show.  It seemed as if the whole show was centered on me.  I must have been in every shot. 

BHP:  What were some highs and low points during the show?
 
     
neg3 Nick: I had the time of my life being part of the show.  I met a lot of awesome people whom  I will probably be friends with for life.  But the experience was extremely intense and at times very emotional.  Eating, drinking, living and working with the same people day in and day out for about a month straight became very wearing and heightened a lot of emotions.  It was like being stuck in a bubble.  We didn’t really have time to ourselves.  Minor issues became huge and we started getting on each other’s nerves. There was a point during the show where I was DONE! If it wasn’t for the pep talk with my friend Daniel Vosovic (who was also on the show), I was seriously going to quit.

 
     
 

BHP: Whom did you connect with best while on the show?

John Wade and Daniel Vosovic were the two I related to the best.  I met John on the way to New York.  Before getting accepted on the show, we were required to fill out a stack of documents and commit to confidentiality about our show involvement But while at the airport, John asked me discreetly about where I was going, and without saying much to each other, we figured out what we were both up to. Daniel, on the other hand, was just a really nice guy and he was always defending me against the evil Santino.

BHP:  Was Santino really as malicious as he was portrayed to be on to the show?

Nick: W hat you saw on the show was pretty true to size. Nothing was scripted or acted out. The designers were brought to light pretty accurately.

BHP:  Are the rumors about you and Daniel being a hot item true?

Nick: A
bsolutely not! Daniel and I are just friends. I’ll occasionally see him when I’m in N.Y.

BHP:  If there was one thing you could go back and change while you were on Project Runway, what would it be?

Nick: Hmm…. I guess I would have to say being more assertive during the beginning of the show.  With no television experience prior to the show, I wasn’t sure how to acted when we first started filming. There were several times where I could have spoken up a bit more.

 
     
  BHP: Tell us more about your previous experience in the fashion industry before being on the show. How did you come up with the name Nikolaki?

Nick: Nikolaki means, little Nick.  This is what my dad used to call me when I was growing up.  The name is a tribute to my dad.

BHP:  How has your experience on Project Runway changed your life?

Nick: If someone were to tell me last year that my life would be where it is today, I would have never believed him.
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  After “Project Runway,” my life did a 180. I didn’t expect the show to make such a big difference in my career.

It’s opened a number of new doors for me. I am designing dresses for celebrities and receiving all types of job offers in different avenues of fashion. I am meeting up with a talent agent tomorrow to seek out positions doing fashion commentary and review for television. But no matter what, my ultimate goal is still to escalate my clothing line.

BHP:  Any suggestions for young designers out there?

Nick: It’s much more difficult to make it as a prominent designer nowadays. You are not just competing amongst talented designers, but also celebrity clothing labels as well as trust fund babies who don’t know a thing about design but can afford to hire any artists to develop their line for them.  My best advice is work hard and take a chance when opportunity comes knocking at your door, or in my case, my town.
 
         
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