Life away from ‘Runway’
She was the “Project Runway’’ contestant who created reality TV history by dropping out of the competition when victory was nearly within her grasp. Maya Luz, the Massachusetts College of Art graduate, returns to Boston tomorrow from noon-to-2 p.m. for a lunch and trunk show at Brassiere Jo at the Colonnade Hotel. She’ll also return next month for MassArt’s final senior fashion show. But before we let the now New York-based designer back into Boston, we decided it was time to find out why she disappeared from season seven.
Q. My friends and I have come up with different theories as to why you really left “Runway.’’ The best theory is that you discovered that [fellow contestant] Mila Hermanovski is your mother, and you dropped out because you couldn’t bear the thought of competing against her.
A. That would be quite a soap opera.
Q. I’m sure you’re sick of people asking, which is why I am getting it out of the way. The reason why you left was that you didn’t feel ready for the big time?
A. When I say I’m not ready, it was more of a business decision. I had just graduated from school, and a lot of the other contestants on the show have really been out there more than I have. Going into the show, I really didn’t think about that. I thought ‘Of course I’m going to go in there and do it.’ As time was going on, I was realizing that if I did make it all the way, it wasn’t seeming like the right moment.
Q. If you were offered a chance to go back on, would you take it?
A. I wouldn’t do it again just because I don’t really see myself in the whole TV situation any more. I don’t want to be remembered as a TV personality, I want to be remembered as a designer. I did this for fashion. And I left because of fashion. There’s no secret reason why I left.
Q. It does sound like you’re a bit more comfortable with yourself as a designer now. Are you showing a new collection in Boston this week?
A. It’s not a fashion show. It’s kind of a trunk show. [Boston fashion doyenne] Marilyn Reisman is a customer of mine. She’s ordered a couple of bags from me. I’m so happy that of all the people in Boston, she’s the one sporting one of my bags. . . . She hosts this lunch at the Colonnade. I’m showing a sneak peak there, two bags from past collection, and bringing some of my new bags, I might show a couple of garments, but I’m really going to focus on the accessories.
Q. Were you happy with the final outcome of this season?
A. Obviously I was rooting for Mila, but Seth Aaron is a terrific guy, and he showed a great sense of sportsmanship. There’s a reason why he got along with everyone.
Interview was condensed and edited.