I’m a big fan of Project Runway. Love it, never miss an episode. This season, one of my favorite designers was Ven (and for those of you who watch the show, you probably know where I’m going with this). Ven is very talented. He creates these amazing clothes that are often folded and draped to resemble roses. They are just really very beautiful, pieces of art. And he seemed like a fairly decent, if a bit stuffy, kind of guy. For me, he was the “hero” of the show. The most talented, the most sophisticated. The one I was rooting for.
Then there was Gunnar. He annoyed me to no end. Seemed to be the cattiest of the bunch. I generally liked his clothes but they didn’t always wow me like Ven’s always did. I kept hoping he’d get voted off just so I didn’t have to listen to him anymore.
Well, last night was the challenge where the designers got to dress “real” people. Each of the clients had been nominated by their friends or loved ones because they deserved a makeover. To make a long story short, Ven got a woman who was a bit larger than your average model. Not big, by any means. Ven guessed she was about a size 14 (which I would kill to be, by the way). Gunnar’s client was also bigger than the average model.
But the way these two men handled the situation was completely different. And entirely unexpected. Gunnar was so sweet and so attentive to his client that he had her crying literal tears of joy. Ven also had his client in tears, but for an entirely different reason. He was absolutely horrible to her. To be fair, I don’t think he belittled and hurt his client on purpose. He seemed fairly oblivious to what he was doing. But that almost makes it worse. That he could be so focused on himself, and so against dressing anyone who isn’t a size 0, that he couldn’t comprehend how his behavior was hurting another person.
Then there was Gunnar who seemed genuinely thrilled to be able to dress up his client. He was all smiles and excitement and couldn’t wait to make her “a fox.” And he did an incredible job. The joy his client felt as she danced down the runway was apparent. He made her feel like a million dollars.
Ven, on the other hand, instead of creating something incredible for this amazing woman who deserved the best he could offer, dressed his client in a dowdy, unflattering outfit that he kept insisting was the best he could do because of her size.
I was so disgusted with how Ven acted that my entire attitude about him changed. I no longer cared if he was the most talented designer on the show; if his clothing was the most beautiful. With his first disgusted, whiny sneer, Ven went from hero to villain. And vice versa for Gunnar.
I’ll never forget how Ven treated that poor woman. And, no matter how catty Gunnar might act toward his fellow contestants, I’ll always remember how he treated the client he’d been paired with.
I think he’s my new Project Runway hero. Because after all, isn’t that how we want our heroes to be? A hero who treats us kindly, who makes us feel special and beautiful and confident? A hero who builds us up, not tears us down? I’m all for a bad boy – as long as that bad boy knows how to treat his woman like a queen.
All I can say is well done, Gunnar. And shame on you, Ven.