Kenley Collins: ‘Jail Inspired Me!’

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Photo: Courtesy of Kenley Collins

Of course an ex–Project Runway contestant who grew up on a tugboat only to be arrested after her shot at fame and serve jail time after throwing, among other things, a cat at her ex-fiancé would receive offers for other reality shows somewhere down the line. Apparently, right after Project Runway ended, VH1 and MTV offered Kenley Collins (who would have become Kenley Penley if she'd married the projectile-cat victim) dating reality shows. She turned them down because, as she says, she has better things to do than receive “lap dances from random men who write in to date me.” Like get pictures taken of herself. Which is what she did after she served two nights in jail for victimizing Mr. Penley and an innocent feline:

“Jail inspired me!” Collins says from a swivel-chair in her Brooklyn studio. She wears black ballet flats, cigarette-cut jeans, a sheer white button-up top and her trademark siren-red lipstick. “It made me appreciate freedom. As soon as I got out I made a kick-ass line and did a photo shoot with 10 of my pieces. Everyone kept saying I put new meaning in the phrase ‘pussy-whipped.’” She giggles and takes a spin in her seat.

“After two days they let me out on my own recognizance,” she says. “I mean, listen, nobody got hurt. He really just didn’t want me to break up with him, that’s all. Looking back I’m like, ‘Huh? Did that really happen?’”

Kenley is showing a spring 2010 collection at New York Fashion Week. But why talk about that when we can talk about the cat-throwing thing more?

“Please,” she says now. “What I really said was, ‘Here! Feed your cat!’ and handed it to him. It was all just really ridiculous.” During her two days in jail, Collins wore a “comfy” black Gap T-shirt, jeans and a red hooded sweatshirt that “doubled as a great blanket.” All in all, it wasn’t so bad. “Oh gosh!,” she squeals, spinning in her chair, “I had those women cracking up! But the girl next to me was in there for, like, stabbing her man in the head, like 25 times. She was hardcore.”

Kenley is currently filming a reality show about herself and her "support team," which consists of her PR agent, her assistant, and her lawyer. It hasn't yet been picked up by a network. But damn, we want to see it. Unless someone wants to make a biopic with a clever title such as Kenley Collins: From the Catwalk to the Cat Box or something. With the tugboat stuff, it could make for a magical piece of cinema. Also, with this:

"When I was just a young girl I was taking vintage clothes and reconstructing them — pairing tops with Contempo Casual pants and modeling my designs with my best friend Jillian. I just, like, did it.”

Project Runway's Jailbird Sings [Daily Beast]