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Project Runway’s Season 4

As an actress, I do not support reality television. That’s my official stance. As a woman who loves fashion and gay men almost as much as my Lhasa apso, I have a deep and meaningful bond with Project Runway. Not to mention the show’s contestant mentor, Tim Gunn!

Gunn is gaining a lot of ground on Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the role of my new gay boyfriend. I adore Kressley so much that I used to have a recurring dream where we’d go to Bali and boy watch while sipping coconutty drinks and trading witty quips. (I did get to meet him once, and after I shared my dream with him, he replied, “Oh my God, that’s so weird because I have a recurring dream you’re my stalker!” Carson, call me!) Now, with Season 4 of Project Runway about to begin, I’m worried that Gunn’s new job as chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne Inc. will affect his focus. Will he still deliver those three words — “Make it work!” — with the same support, humility and urbane charm we’ve grown to cherish?

And what about the new characters? Who’s going to be our bad boy? Who will be our next diva, our new sweetheart? Who will we love to hate?

Season 4 hasn’t even premiered yet and already the gossip mills are rolling. If you’ve read any of the blogs or seen the Bravo promos, you know that one of the contestants openly talks about his HIV-positive status. His name is Jack Mackenroth, and there is a nasty spoiler rumor on the Web and in newspaper gossip columns that he was kicked off the show due to a staph infection that rendered him unable to compete. If it’s true, that sucks because Jack is one hot hottie. But it won’t be long before we find out the real story!

Armed with a preview copy of the first episode, I call my gay neighbor Rico to come over, “and bring champagne!” The game is that we have to down a glass every time the word “fabulous” is said. He’d better bring over two bottles. Make it three.

Now I’m not going to give anything away that you can’t find online, but let me just say that this season has some of the best-looking designers the show has ever seen. Their ages range from 21 to 44, and some have already dressed Jessica Alba, Madonna and everyone in between. This cast is TV-ready, coifed within an inch of their lives and just too darn fabulous.

Oops! Gotta drink!

Rico pops the cork on the Sofia Coppola — Sofia Blanc de Blancs, that is, so lovely wrapped in pink — and hits play on the remote. Here are our predictions about who’s going to get the big auf Wiedersehen from our favorite Aryan host Heidi Klum, who’s going to cause a scene and who’s going to win.

The Bitch Is Back

This may be a tie. My vote is totally for Jillian Lewis. I think she’ll use her powers for evil. She’s young, talented, and seems very pulled together. I think that exterior is going to blow! She seems like that girl in junior high who was your friend until you lost some weight, bought a pair of Guess jeans and got a good haircut. Then she’d start a rumor you had a private party with the entire football team under the bleachers — not that I can relate or anything. Rico votes for Victorya Hong. He thinks Victorya will be a fierce competitor and not take any crap from anyone. Maybe all that sweetness is less real than Pinkberry’s yogurt — or maybe Victorya actually is that nice and Pinkberry’s yogurt is truly yogurt. No one knows for sure.

The Wack Job

This was easy. Both Rico and I agree on Elisa Jimenez taking the title for biggest crazy. She’s a true artist with more impressive credits and big names attached to her than I can shake a stick at. She also seems like she’s a genuinely happy, spiritual person, and is quite beautiful — but she works with . . . marionettes. Well, that’s enough for me to call her the captain of the crazy train!

Rico swears he partied with her at Burning Man. I say she gets auf’d by Heidi before she can get her puppets detangled from her suitcase.

The Next Jay?

I’m not sure if it’s because Chris March reminds me of my fabulous gays from the N.Y. theater scene or because his designs are kitsch personified, but I adore him! I mean, he designed for the famous drag queen Miss Bunny for crying out loud! He will definitely bring some theatricality, panache and a sense of whimsy to the cast. His laugh is infectious, and I just want to go out with him for a Lemon Drop Martini and sing the score from Company! Rico thinks he reminds me of Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll because he’s a white, overweight, over-the-top gay man with a keen sense of color. Okay, that too. Talk about typecasting! We both think Chris is going to have to make sure he doesn’t overwhelm the judges with too much fabulosity at once. I think he’s going to make it to the final three just as sure as I am that the favorite sport among the contestants is “antiquing.”

The Gay Boy Genius

Christian Siriano is so gay he makes Austen Scarlett of Season 1 seem like Rock Hudson. Oh wait, I mean Tom Cruise. Or, uh, Rupert Everett? Man, is anyone straight?

Christian is only 21 and is the baby of Season 4. He’s incredibly talented and has ’tude for days. Rico seems to think he has what it takes to make it to the final three. My guess is Rico just wants to take him to Fubar in WeHo for Fat Dick night.

The Predicted Winner

Hands down, I am going with the Israeli wunderkind turned Los Angeles resident Rami Kashou. He’s dressed Lindsay, Fergie, Paris and an ever-growing roster of celebrities. His designs are feminine without being overly girly, and his taste, from the bit I’ve seen, is impeccable. He’s also a total fox. I actually got to e-mail him some questions. I was wondering what an already-successful designer with his clothes hanging in exclusive boutiques across the country hoped to get out of winning Project Runway. “Business growth,” he said. “As a self-financed designer who can always use more tools to promote a brand, I decided to do the show and benefit from the powerful media of television. It will certainly help in the growth of my company and potentially attract investors.” All that talent, and he’s smart too. Rico thinks he can actually get a date with him.

The Rest of the Crew

Keep an eye on Carmen. She’s fierce, and I bet she’ll prove to be a top competitor. Rico says to look out for Steve and Marion, who just may turn out to be the stealth bombers of Season 4. We both agree that Kit may prove to put up a fight with her punkish chick threads, and Sweet P may be a rocker mama sporting an inner Jeffrey Sebelia. For the record, Sweet P wins my prediction for fan favorite. Kevin and Ricky left no impression so far, and Simone’s designs left Rico sleepy. Or maybe it was the three bottles of champagne? Kids, there’s a whole lot of “fabulous” in Season 4.


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