“It was my absolute worst nightmare,” says “Making the Cut” designer Jonny Cota about the fourth assignment of the competition, “Fight for Your Life,” the aptly titled episode in which the designers only had seven hours to make a whole look using leftover fabric from previous challenges. He thought, “Okay, Cota, this is when you go home.” But instead, this was when he won his first assignment of the season, which meant his look was made available for sale on Amazon. Watch our exclusive video interview with Cota above.
The victorious “Fight for Your Life” challenge was a complete 180-degree turnaround for Cota, who just two episodes earlier in “Haute Couture” was blasted by the judges for his use of leather and was almost eliminated. “Episode two was so brutal. I was on my deathbed right there,” Cota explains. But in the very next challenge, “Collaboration,” when he teamed up with fellow contestant Megan Smith to make a mini collection that combined both of their aesthetics, they ended up as one of the judges’ favorite duos.
That was despite some conflict between the two: he and Smith clashed when Cota thought his point of view was being buried in their joint designs, so he worried she would throw him under the bus in front of the judges. Their disagreement turned out to be productive, though. They were the runners-up for that assignment, which was won by the team of Sander Bos and Sabato Russo. “To have the validation of the judges with Megan in episode three kind of changed things for me,” Cota recalls. “I’m like, okay, Cota, don’t count yourself out yet.”
As it turns out, “I work really well under pressure,” so to follow that with a seven-hour challenge “lit the fire under my ass that I needed.” We’ll see if that fire stays lit in subsequent episodes, which premiere on Amazon every Friday until the finale drops on April 24.