Project Runway apologizes for forcing veteran to modify her uniform

A Project Runway producer has taken the blame and apologized for forcing a contestant, Miranda Levy, to remove parts of her U.S. Army uniform that she wore on the show, and Levy has accepted the apology.

After the premiere aired, Miranda posted a Facebook letter “to my fellow service members” that said, in part, “I was forced by production to remove my class A jacket, tab, name tag and insignia due to what they claimed were logo/copyright issues.” She added:

“I have never been forced to remove my uniform before and I felt dishonorable, hurt, and offended. As a fellow veteran, I hope you never have to experience this. Remember, this is a television show and many things are edited and pieced together to tell a story. Also, it’s not improbable that production is looking to do things to make the lives of the designers more stressful in order to produce more dramatic television.”

Executive producer Sara Rea attributed it to miscommunication and took the blame for making the decision. She told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I don’t want any of the backlash to come on Miranda’s shoulders. If she’s getting a hard time, that is unfair and unjust. … We loved that she wanted to wear it. We are hugely regretful that it worked out the wrong way.”

Levy, who served for eight years, had documents from the Army that cleared her uniform for broadcast that she gave to producers weeks before production, and thus she told the paper, “There is a part of me that suddenly thought that they were doing this to mess with me, to get to me. Part of the show is to stir up emotions.”

Earlier, Miranda wrote on Facebook that, during filming of the home visit footage (below), when she wore her uniform correctly, “the director wanted me to wear my hair down and for me to hold hands with Michael while we were walking down the street. These are both against the rules for a soldier in uniform so I chose not to do it.”

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.