CINCINNATI - Asha Daniels represents Cincinnati on the design reality show Under the Gunn, a spinoff of the popular Project Runway series. The show debuted on Lifetime Jan. 16.
Daniels graduated with honors from St. Ursula Academy in 2006. She then attended University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning (DAAP) and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in fashion design.
Daniels grew up watching her mother, a talented seamstress, sew gorgeous outfits for her and her sister. Inspired by those creations, Daniels started sewing herself. Not knowing how a machine, she started creating by hand at age seven.
“I made a gown for my sister to wear out and my mom didn’t want it to fall apart because it was completely hand sewn. That’s when she taught me how to use a sewing machine,” Daniels said.
9 Q&A: "Under the Gunn" with Asha Daniels
1. Do you have a preference in what you design?
I enjoy designing high-end couture gowns. I’d find myself watching a lot of couture fashion shows and I always enjoyed watching Project Runway, which has lead to great opportunities. One Saturday night I was catching up on an episode of Project Runway All-Stars, and Georgina Chapman was one of the guest judges and co-founder of the couture line, Marchesa. Boldly, I emailed her that night asking for a possible internship and within that same hour, she emailed me back. I interview shortly after and started interning.”
2. How did you hear about Under the Gunn?
I tried out for Project Runway Season 13 this past September, making it all the way up to the final cut. I was heartbroken but continued to follow my passion designing. Some time went by before I received a phone call from Lifetime asking if I’d be interested in auditioning for the brand new series, Under the Gunn. I’m just so glad they called me, because they had been trying to get ahold of me through email and the address they had was one I no longer used.
3. What’s one important thing you learned from being on the show?
I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone; designing pieces in fabrics I’m not used to working with and prints that I’d typically never use. It was a challenge, but feel like I am much more versatile when it comes to being able to think outside the box.
5. Did you expect to gain anything from being on Under the Gunn?
I knew I’d learn a lot about myself as a designer. Whether I was the first person to leave or the last, I promised to stay true to myself as a designer. I made sure that every piece I sent down the runway was something that I loved.
6. How does this show differ from Project Runway?
It’s almost like The Voice meets Project Runway. There are mentors that help and guide you and they aren’t just any mentors. Mondo Guerra, who was the winner of Project Runway All-Stars, helps guide the fresh designers, along side Anya Ayoung Chee, winner of Project Runway’s Season 9 and Nick Verreos, also a fashion icon. And Tim Gunn of course, who the show is named after.
WATCH: Under the Gunn promo video
7. Was it a great experience?
It was challenging to say the least. But I loved that we filmed in Los Angeles as opposed to New York City, where all but one Project Runway series was filmed.
8. What’s next for you?
I’m in the process of starting my own clothing line now that I’m back in Cincinnati.
9. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I’d really love for you to watch the show and support me as I represent Cincinnati. I’m the first to be on this show as a designer from Cincinnati, and would love any type of support.
WATCH: Under the Gunn