04/26/2013 05:01 am ET Updated Apr 26, 2013

'Project Runway' Finale: Dark Horse Winner Once Nearly Quit The Competition (VIDEO)

This season on "Project Runway," after the competition was whittled down to two, it was a face-off between Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Patricia Michaels and Stanley Hudson. In the end, it was a contestant no one really saw on their radar throughout the season who won it all. Even more shockingly, she'd nearly walked off the show a few weeks ago.

"Michelle, you are the winner of 'Project Runway,'" Heidi Klum announced. "Congratulations." The judges had nothing but praise for Michelle Lesniak Franklin's fashion-forward and cohesive collection. More importantly, they felt that it could be easily commercialized and sold.

Michelle beat Patricia Michaels in the final decision, and it was certainly an eye-opening moment for her. "I’ve worked really hard -- for other people" she said. "But I’ve never worked hard for myself, and I’ve never worked hard for my vision. And it’s a totally different experience."

"She wasn't a clear stand-out throughout the season," Buddy TV said. "Michelle only won two challenges and was at the bottom two twice." After one of those times in the bottom, Michelle admitted to USA Today, "was ready to give up. I was in a dark place." She almost quit the show.

Now she sits atop it as the winner of Season 11.

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