Runway 3 begins; model’s accident may reveal a final three designer

Bravo knows what a hit it has with Project Runway; the series’ third-season return was so highly anticipated that Bravo had a countdown clock over its network bug, counting down the minutes until the new season began. It was like New Year’s, except with better payoff.

The first episode had all of the wonderful Runwayness we want, but it suffered a bit from first episode syndrome, because it’s hard to get to know the new people, and they’re way too easily compared to our old favorites (e.g., Jeffrey is the new Santino). The show also flirted a bit too much with hokey reality TV: The designers’ first challenge was to create a dress from the materials in their apartments, which they ripped apart, from the mattresses to the shower curtains. That was very fun and a terrific challenge, but when they returned late at night, the designers discovered that, at least for now, they aren’t getting new furniture, and was the most obvious ploy for fake drama the producers have tried to date.

That said, it’s great to have Tim Gunn back on TV, and it’s great to watch a reality show where the truly talentless are eliminated. The first designer eliminated, Stacey, definitely deserved to go home, mostly because she couldn’t sew. Or design.

Even though the first episode just ended, the identity of one of the final three designers might be known as the result of a horrific accident. The New York Daily News’ Ben Widdicombe has an item today about one of the models on the show who became one of the final three models.

However, she “was struck by a bus while riding her bike to the show’s location in the city.” Her agent, Javier Hernandez, said, “She fractured her skull and her eye socket and was in critical condition for three days. Now she has been in intensive care for a month.” Her agent said the show’s producers have been helpful. “Everyone from the show has been really supportive and offered their help to get her parents a visa to visit her in the hospital and work on a benefit for her,” he said.

Widdicombe reveals the model’s name and the paper publishes her picture, but if this season works like previous seasons, and the designers stay with the same model through most of the series, her identity could reveal one of the three finalists. Thus her accident may have resulted in a major spoiler, so read with care. She is (highlight to read) Jia Santos.

‘Runway’ model’s traffic tragedy [New York Daily News]
Project Runway 3: episode 1 [Bravo]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.