"We have to be bitchy," he said. "Everybody's such a good designer on the show, so we have to amp it up a little."
And he said that includes his tension with fellow designer Irina Shabayeva, who won Thursday night's challenge – the one that saw Nicolas exit the competition.
"Irina's a really good friend of mine," he told the mag, laughing. "We talked after the show, I see her all the time – she's a sweetheart, I know she's getting the bitch edit, but she's a really nice girl, I really like her."
Though Nicolas had kind words for his fellow designers, not everyone felt the same about Irina's attacks.
"She's pretty much just like that in real life," Shirin Askari, who was booted from the show the previous week, told the mag in a separate interview. "They're portraying her perfectly. Some people have to put other people down to make themselves feel better, that's not the way I was brought up."
And Nicolas added that there was, indeed, more drama off-camera.
As for Johnny Sakalis, a designer who left the competition early on and called Nicolas a "jerk" on the runway, Nicolas said there was more harsh language behind the scenes.
"He called me a lot more than that, but we'll leave it at that," Nicolas said. "We're cool now."
However, Nicolas said his emotions in his profanity-filled exit interview were for real.
"I was so angry at getting kicked off," he said. "I just ripped everybody apart. I was pissed."
Six contestants are left on the Lifetime show, which is heading into the final weeks before its two-part Season 6 finale on November 12 and 19.
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