|Welcome back, fashionistas! The ninth season of Project Runway is upon us! It premieres on July 28 at 9 p.m. (EST).
This season, there will be an unprecedented 20 designers. But there are still only 16 spots on the show proper – which means one of the first things the candidates will have to do is go before Heidi, Nina, Michael, and Tim and “make a case” as to why they deserve to be on the show proper. In other words, they have to grovel, plead, and beg on national television. Ugh. This means there will be four people the viewers will not have a chance to get to really know. It also means that the quiet, polite designers will probably be most at risk, since drama queens and kings are considered “good T.V.” It’s also possible that some designers will act up in the hopes of being kept.
Amanda Perna is 25 and lives in New York City. She grew up in southern Florida and thus likes a lot of colors. In one of her videos she is wearing a hot pink minidress. During her casting session, she talks about liking to play with texture – but one of the casting agents thinks some of her works look “artsy-craftsy,” which isn’t good. Amanda considers herself very feminine and loves vintage hats.
Anthony Ryan Auld is 28 and lives in Baton Rouge, LA. In the Q & A on his page, he tells us he’s color-blind, which he considers his greatest weakness as a designer. I can understand that – how the hell does he handle colors?! It’s doubtful the judges will let him get away with using all neutrals all the time. Yet, oddly, he likes working with prints, if his casting video is anything to go by.
Anya Ayoung-Chee is 29 and hails from Trinidad and Tobago. Her designs have a strong Caribbean influence. She admits that her construction skills still need work, but vows to improve them by the show’s beginning. Let’s hope she does, because that was a lovely dress she wore on her casting video.
Becky Ross is 38 and lives in Portland, OR. She looks like she might be this year’s “rocker,” as she sports platinum blonde hair with light aqua streaks in it. During the “home visit” video, she showed off a dress made out of “found materials,” which the rest of us call “litter.” She also paints.
Bert Keeter lives in Los Angeles. At 57, he is this season’s “senior citizen.” As per his casting video, he has a neat trick of making sleeveless dresses out of exactly one piece of material, which he tells us calls for extremely careful cutting.
Bryce Black is 26 and is another designer from Portland, OR. To judge by his videos, his favorite color is black. In his casting video, he shows off a set of one-legged jeans, and Seth Aaron from Season 7, who is playing casting agent here, warns him that Nina and Michael do not like asymmetrical clothing, as they dismiss it as “student work.”
Cecelia Motwani is 34 and lives in New York City. She was born in Argentina and is self-taught, which is often problematic. In her casting video, she’s told her clothes look old-fashioned and lack focus.
Danielle Everine is 26 and hails from Minneapolis, MN. She loves collecting antiques … and animal skulls. She’s inspired by her collections and likes to make androgynous clothing.
David Chum is 29 and has been living in Boston for the past five years or so. He was born in the Philippines, has a background in fine arts and used to paint. He is self-taught in clothing design; he literally bought books on the subject and studied them on his own. To go by his casting video, he likes black and gray.
Fallene Wells is 29 and lives in Denver – and seems like she will be this season’s kook. She apparently inherited that from her parents, who named her after a character in Bambi. She has said character tattooed on her arm and collects a lot of deer-related objets d’art. She is another self-taught designer and has made her own textiles.
Gunnar Deatherage lives in Louisville, KY. At 21, he is this season’s youngest contestant. He is another self-taught designer and often works with non-profits. In the Q & A, he describes himself as “a leader” when talking about the team challenges. I’m sure that’ll go over really well with anybody over 25 – like most of his competitors.
Joshua Christensen lives in Snohomish, WA, and is 29. He specializes in making menswear and likes clothes that have a clean, streamlined, architectural look to them.
Joshua McKinley is 25 and lives in Sunnyside, NY. He seems like he’ll be this season’s hyperemotional drama king, as he starts crying upon being told he’s going on the show. He was educated at The Fashion Institute of Technology in Polimoda, Italy.
Julie Tierny is 35 and has recently moved to Grand Junction, CO. She was born in Baton Rouge, LA. She is apparently tiny as she tells us that she can wear clothes from the children’s section of the store. She likes knitwear, sportswear, and patterns. During her casting video, she displays a parka made from an old comforter.
Kimberly Goldson is 35 and was born in Brooklyn, but lives in White Plains, MD. She is a self-taught designer and often uses vintage clothing for her raw material. She finds textured clothing inspiring and makes clothes with lots of details.
Laura Kathleen is 26 and hails from St. Louis, MO. She is a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe and Real Housewives. She likes vintage furniture and uses a lot of prints in her designs. She designed and made a pair of pajamas when she was 8.
Olivier Green is another youngster at 22 and lives in New York City. He has a background in photography and finds inspiration in some of the pictures he takes. He has also studied design at fashion schools in both London and Milan
Rafael Cox is 27 and lives in Atlanta, GA. He likes architectural and geometric clothing. To go by his casting video, he uses a lot of black. His favorite style icons are the Olsen twins.
Serena da Conceicao is 31 and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She had auditioned for the first season, but didn’t make the cut until now. She likes working with silk.
Viktor Luna is 30, and was born in Mexico. He currently lives in New York City. He makes a lot of his own prints and has made pillows as well as clothing. His mother taught him to sew and operate a sewing machine.
For more details on the designers, go to Lifetime.