Brittany Allen, Laurence Basse and Bishme Cromartie will compete for the win on tonight's episode
Only one can be the winner, and one (or in this case, two) will be out.
That is the reminder Project Runway judge Nina Garcia often states at the end of every weekly challenge, and the finale is no exception.
Project Runway season 20 brought back familiar faces as previous contestants returned with the shared goal of winning the All Star crown — making the competition that much harder.
The three finalists — Brittany Allen, Laurence Basse and Bishme Cromartie — spoke to PEOPLE ahead of the finale’s premiere tonight about how they dealt with the pressure of competing among the best of the best and reminisced on what they might have done differently.
After working with mentor Christian Siriano and judges Garcia, Elaine Welteroth and Brandon Maxwell — among a cacophony of guest judges that included Julia Fox, Alicia Silverstone and Law Roach — the designers were challenged to showcase an original collection at New York Fashion Week for a chance at a $250,000 prize, a mentorship with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and a feature in Elle.
PEOPLE sat down with Brittany, Laurence and Bishme to discuss everything from their journey on the show to their favorite behind-the-scenes moments.
PEOPLE: Congratulations on making it this far in the season. How are you guys feeling ahead of the finale's debut?
Brittany: I think everybody's worked really hard to get to this point, and then to have to do a full collection in eight days is wild. We truly did go in and compete and gave our heart and soul into every piece that you saw throughout all the challenges and into our collections. We're really excited just to share that with everybody and to show them what a true collection looks like from all three of us.
What were each of your favorite looks that you created this season?
Laurence: All the ones that we won. No, but really the most challenging one was the last one for me, the avant-garde. I'm a little insane in my head and I forget that I'm on Project Runway and they only give us 17 hours and we are on the clock.
When they say, "Start," you go and by the time they say, "Wrap up," you got to finish. I didn't know if I could do it. The [audience] didn't see it because on camera, [we’re] pretending to work sometimes, but I'm not working. For six hours, I wasn't doing anything.
Brittany: I think my favorites were the red, obviously. I loved the red challenge and I loved my look for that one, but also, I really loved my look for the underwear challenge, the green with that little bralette. That challenge was so hard.
Bishme: My favorite look that I created this season would have to be the freedoms challenge, my outfit for that one.
I love the environment and everything. It was just working within nature and trying to see the future in a little bit to see if what you're designing will work. That's what I was kind of happy with.
On the other side of that, is there a piece that you guys would redo? If you could, what would you do with it?
Laurence: There is a piece that I would actually cancel out [from the] toy challenge.
You do not like unconventional!
Laurence: I do unconventional. It just depends what it is.
Brittany: Well, the thing about unconventional is if you don't get the materials, that's it.
Laurence: It depends. Unconventional could be so many things, but toys, I mean, on my season, we had three unconventional challenges, and out of the three, two of them were really good. That one, it's just, I don't know. You can't win all the time. It's okay.
Bishme: The piece I would redo would be my double bind. I think what I would have done differently, I would've stolen someone else's double bind thing. I don't think I was able to connect with my basic and bold.
Laurence: Whose would you have stolen?
Bishme: You know what? Low-key, I think I would've taken yours though. [Points to Laurence] I'm not even going to lie.
Laurence: I know. I felt it was coming from me. I was like, I was praying. I said, "Bishme, leave me alone."
Obviously, you're All Stars, so you've done this before. What did you learn from returning to the show? What was different about this time and what was better or worse?
Laurence: The only difference for me is the cast. It was a more mature cast, so it was less cattiness and everybody was there to work. We were respectful of each other.
Brittany: Pretty much the same for me too. Everybody in this season's cast has done this before, and we all got really close to the end, but we didn't secure the bag, and so everybody was super hungry for it, and they wanted to come back and get the thing that they didn't get the first time. You felt that in the room.
That feeling also translated into a respect because everybody had the respect for each other and they respected how hungry we were for it. We all looked up to each other and we all looked to each other for advice, and we weren't afraid to ask for help or if I needed help with this, we did. I mean, what's there to lose? You can be nasty and hateful all you want, but it really doesn't benefit you in the end. Honestly, if we were just there for each other, it just made the stress level a lot more, I guess, tolerable. I will say that to make it to the top six of this season versus my original season was 10 times harder, so much harder.
Did you guys have a favorite behind-the-scenes moment that we didn't get to see that you recall?
Laurence: I plead the fifth.
Brittany: Plead the fifth. I think it was the double bind challenge. That dance party was even more fun in real life than what you got to see. We just were dancing and having a great time and laughing. That moment was just so much more fun than you can imagine and what you saw on TV. It was really special.
Bishme: Every morning when we would do TikTok videos, we would just wake up and, mind you, it was like six in the morning, but we get in a routine, so that's all that really matters.
Brittany: We're just trying to get content.
Bishme: That's it. I love the fact Laurence is always looking at us in the morning. She's like our manager, making sure that everything is right. She's not going to do the dance. She'll let us know if it look good.
Laurence: I can't shake my booty no more. My old booty don't shake like this.
This was a really personal, emotional season for what seemed like the entire cast. What made you want to open up, and what was the hardest to share?
Brittany: I think the hardest thing for me to share was about my stroke, because I hid that professionally from a lot of people because I never wanted to share that story and then people think that I couldn't do something because I was debilitated or I needed more recovery time or whatever. That was the first time I really spoke out about it. It's not that it is a moment of weakness, but I just didn't want to be perceived as unable to do anything. My abilities were endless. That was tough for me to share, but I'm glad I did.
Laurence: For me, I'm not the one to be talking about a lot of my personal stuff, but in order for people to be able to relate to you, we need to show that vulnerable side or they'll just look at you like you are a superhuman.
Basically, it's important to share with people all the dark stuff that we've been through so they can relate to us and know that if they're going through something right now, okay, that's okay, but things will change and you just got to believe it and you'll make it.
Brittany: I think it comes down to inspiring somebody else. If we open our mouths and share all of these really traumatic things that we've been through and all these trials and tribulations, it shows even if it's just one person, a student or someone that is 55 and wants to make a career change. It's just one soul that is watching us and it's like, "Oh my God, I can do it too," that makes all of this worth it.
Bishme: I think it was important for me to share the grieving process that I'm low-key still experiencing, but was the jump-start of it. I think it's important to showcase that because a lot of times when stuff happens that's devastating to us, we want to give up and sit and bask in that sadness. For me, it was like, I can't do that. That's not what my sister would want. It's not going to help me out and I have to find a way to fight through it, but also inspire people who are going through the situation.
And last question, if you could go back, what would you tell yourself?
Laurence: I'd go back and tell myself, "Don't worry, you're going to make it to the finale."
Brittany: Quit trying to please everybody else.
Bishme: Honestly, what I would tell myself is, "Everything's okay," and to trust the universe, to continue trusting the universe. That was it.
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