One of my favorite shows of the season is a half hour of fun and emotions that airs Thursday nights at 10:30 after all new episodes of PROJECT RUNWAY.  That show?  The fantastic ON THE ROAD WITH AUSTIN & SANTINO, starring two of the strongest personalities from P RUNWAY seasons past: Santino Rice (pictured, left) and Austin Scarlett.   The show follows Austin and Santino as they bounce from small town to small town across the country, designing custom made dresses for deserving women.

In tonight’s all new episode, the duo heads to Asheville, NC, to design a dress for Marcy Gallagher, a woman living her 5th year cancer free!  I had the chance to discuss tonight’s episode with Santino, and he had a lot of great things to say about why the show is important and what he loves most about it!

So I love the show – one of my favorite things on TV right now!
Oh tell me more!

Austin is one of my favorites from PROJECT RUNWAY; you being another one of my favorites.  The two of you together, it’s hysterically funny!
It is funny, right?

How did the show come together?  I had not read  much about it before I knew it was premiering so I wasn’t sure what the genesis of the show was.
Yeah, Austin and I had been friends since the wrap party of my season, and Austin came to the Season 2 wrap party to meet me.  When I saw him come in, I did a bee line right for him, and I just wanted to  meet this enigmatic character [laughs] and we became fast friends after that.  Every time I was in New York, we would hang out, and any time he was in Los Angeles, we’d had hang out, and we became friends, and we had this idea for a show and we developed this idea with Rich By of Good By pictures, and he’s the executive producer of the show, along with the Weinstein Company.  And we brought it to Lifetime and it came to life there.  It’s been some years in the making.  We are actually friends in real life, and this whole show came from our ideas of what we wanted to create for our next kind of foray in television.  We’re both really loving it.  The whole experience has been a lot of fun.  It’s exhausting, but still a lot of fun. 

It’s sort of masochistic to throw yourself into these situations, isn’t it?
I know, I know.  You know, it is awesome.  The amount of people that we’re reaching with our work and our designs and our sensibilities and our personalities, all of those things ar eso important to both of us, and these women that we’re meeting.  We’re having this amazing experience in each of these towns.  I think it’s great.  Right now there’s a lot of television that is based on kind of drama and just ridiculousness.  It’s nice to be a part of a show that’s really constructive, and is showing two passionate people who love what they do, create something for a very unique woman, who at the same time, they’re the every woman.

One of the big things I love about it, too, is that you’re not going to small towns and finding the skinny mini little girl.  You’re finding every day people.
That’s right, and that’s important!  That’s the basis, also, of having a custom business of making one of a kind dresses and gowns for clients.  It’s not about a size number.  It’s not about whether you’re a 4, 6, a 14, whatever.  it’s about creating a garment that fits your body measurements perfectly.  It doesn’t matter about what size is in the label.  It matters more that it’s perfectly made for you.  Everyone, you  know, everyone, but all women, want to feel beautiful and want to feel special, and deserve to feel that.

"SelfPortrait" by Santino Rice (from the My Lifetime AUSTIN & SANTINO photo gallery)

Tell me a little bit about tonight’s episode.  I read a twitter that said you were emotional just watching the promos.
Yeah, yeah, it’s tough.  It’s going to be tough to revisit that. It’s a very special ON THE ROAD WITH AUSTIN & SANTINO.  We are in Asheville, NC, and our client, Marcy Galagher, she is celebrating being 5 years cancer free.  She has persevered through a lot.  She has gone through all of the chemotherapy, and the recovering from having breast cancer, and this month being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it coincides perfectly with getting the awareness out, and showing everyone that it is possible to beat cancer, and to never give up hope.  It’s emotional.  It’s tough to hear this woman’s story, to hear Marcy’s story and you know, not be moved by how courageous she’s been.  It’s worth celebrating.  At the point of being 5 years cancer free, the chances or likelihood of having cancer again is very slim, so it’s a great time to celebrate.

I love that, too, that it is so emotional.  There are times when I’m laughing out loud at your interaction with Austin, but by the end of the episode, I’m in tears.  It’s important to have a half hour like that to take out of the day.
Oh totally, totally.

Has there been an episode that sticks in your mind as your favorite, or one that you recall a great story from?
Oh, I mean, what’s great is, kind of every town, every client was just a whole different experience.  There is definitely a continuity with the clients, being that they are just really awesome individuals.  They all have different characters, different personalities, but there is definitely a continuity between all of the clients.  It’s great to meet these people, living in America, and just getting a chance to see what their lives are like, day in and day out.  The things that they care about, and their causes, and their children, and their families.  Where they work.  I think that the Grass Valley, California, episode, that we were in wine country.  That was a very fun time, and I think, sometimes all of the cities and states start to mix together in my brain [laughs].  We were in Rustin, Louisiana, and we dressed the Captain Roslyn Johnson, and that was a lot of fun as well. Those were very much two memorable clients.  And the dynamic of just us in the town as well. They have very fond memories of both of those places.  One of my favorite towns is  Asheville,North Carolina, definitely.  We actually get to work out of a really amazing store that is called Waechter’s Fine Fabrics, and they actually did have really amazing textiles and fabrics for dress making.  Along with quilting stuff, but it was more of a dress making shop.  But we actually got to set up and work out of Waechter’s Fine Fabrics.  That made this episode even better, and gave us the ability to give even more options to our client.

What else do you have coming up or what else is going on with you besides the show for right now?
There is this show, which will continue.  We’re at episode 11, I believe.  There are a few more episodes of ON THE ROAD.  I also will be reoccurring judge on RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE Season 3 coming up.  I am working just all of my private business of doing custom one of a kind pieces for clients.  You know, just keeping busy.  I’ve had the opportunity to take on really great projects, that are creative and inspiring and it’s exciting for me.  That’s really probably the biggest win from taking on television and jumping into the fray of becoming known by people all over America and all over the world through PROJECT RUNWAY.  I’ve just kind of opened all doors, and I’ve had the experience to be able to work with a lot of great people, and work on a lot of great projects that keep me excited.  You never want it to get dull.  You never want life to get boring in general, but you definitely don’t want the craft that you love to do, ever get stagnant or boring.  You always want it to be exciting.  Whether I’m taking pictures, or working on graphics or doing something in conjunction with a big brand or something, it’s still through the lens of a fashion designer and my aesthetic and taste and it’s all been gravy really. [laughs].

Episode 11 airs tonight at 10:30/9:30c after an all new PROJECT RUNWAY.  Check out a clip!


  • Patty

    Man, I love him! I think you hit it with the fact that On the Road is not about conflict but about hope and fun and the beauty in everyone. Not to mention I love him on Drag Race!

  • Scifi Gal

    Those 2 are so cute together!! 🙂

  • The_Games_Afoot

    Terrific interview! Sounds like the show is as much fun to make as it is to watch!