Project Runway made its grand return to Bravo for its nineteenth series and fans cannot get enough. The reality competition features fashion amateurs, stylists and designers who are guided by experts within the industry. Get ready for glamour, drama and fabulous fashion from the hit show.
Sixteen new designers will be competing for the chance to win a massive $250,000 dollar prize and the opportunity to create a collection for the prestigious New York Fashion Week.
Reality Titbit has delved into the lives of the sixteen cast members so find out all about them here and why they decided to join Project Runway!
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Meet the girls on Project Runway
Meg Ferguson | 35
Meg Ferguson grew up immersed in the fashion industry. Her grandma Betty was a seamstress who taught her how to sew and her grandma Nona owned a clothing store. Meg attended Metropolitan Community College where she earned a degree in Fashion Design which led her to her first job in Creative Costuming at Walt Disney World.
She decided to apply for Project Runway because: “When my mom was killed, it gave me a new outlook on life. I had always thought about auditioning, but I never thought I was good enough. When my mom passed, I just thought, “Why not?” You only have one life on this earth; own your moment.“
Caycee Black | 40
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Caycee Black admitted that she always felt like an outsider and art was her escape. With a BFA in design from Parsons School of Design, she set up shop in New York City and in her career has worked for the likes of Club Monaco, Tibi and Coach.
Caycee decided to join Project Runway because: “I love to keep pushing myself into arenas that expand me as a designer and a person. When the opportunity was introduced to me, I was excited and slightly terrified— the perfect blend! I knew it would grow me as a human no matter the outcome! Win/Win!”
Coral Castillo | 40
Originally from Mexico City, Coral Castillo is the daughter of a dressmaker which led to her fondness for fashion. Inspired by her mother, Coral attended The Art Institute of California in San Francisco to study fashion design. Recently, she has had designs featured in Vogue Italia, British Vogue, and WWD.
When asked why she joined the lineup for Project Runway Coral said: “I have loved the show since I first saw it. I had applied multiple times and the reason I kept applying in spite of not getting accepted was my son. I wanted to set an example and show him that if he persists in something and works for it, he can do anything he sets his mind to!”
Katie Kortman | 40
Katie Kortman decided to hone her sewing skills after her husband was moved to Bahrain to serve in the military. When her family returned to the United States, she was determined to never buy clothes again and decided to create and make her own. More recently, Katie and her family have moved to Japan and she is currently focused on finding cultural inspiration for her designs.
She told Elle she had wanted to appear on the show for many years: “I have dreamed of going on the show since season 1, but I never would’ve thought I had what it took. But look at me now!”
Shantall Lacayo | 37
Growing up in Nicaragua, Shantall Lacayo was taught to sew at just four years old by her grandmother. Although Shantall always wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry, there were not many career prospects in her hometown so she decided to study marketing instead. Currently living in Miami, Shantall decided to pursue her fashion dream by selling her clothes on social media. She has also competed in Project Runway Latin America where she finished as the first runner-up but this time she is looking to do one better and take home the title.
She applied for Project Runway because: “My husband and my family. Three years ago we came to the United States looking for a better future, and when the opportunity came along, my husband told me it was the opportunity I’d been waiting for!”
Kristina Kharlashkina | 33
Growing up in Russia, Kristina Kharlashkina had a love of art from a young age. Originally, she trained and competed as a ballroom dancer and was inspired by how a costume could elevate a performance. She was awarded a scholarship and graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. Kristina then moved to NYC and has worked for top designers such as Carolina Herrara, Tom Ford, and Dolce & Gabbana.
She applied for Project Runway because: “I have been working for different fashion brands for a while. However, I felt that I would like to express myself more creatively and advance to the next step in my career through my own fashion line. Project Runway provides the opportunity to express yourself as a designer and show the world your designs.”
Chasity Sereal | 3`1
Chasity Sereal was raised in Houston, Texas and developed her fashion skills through countless hours of practice. Currently, she primarily focuses on her self-titled fashion line which she launched in 2009. Her designs range from luxury streetwear to ready-to-wear couture.
She decided to join the show because: “I wanted to try out for Project Runway because I’ve reached a point in my career that prompted me to take the next step to elevate my career.”
Anna Yinan Zhou | 32
Originally from Shanghai, Anna Yinan Zhou was raised in a family with an art background. Anna realised her love for fashion when she moved to the United States. She earned a degree in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Zhou recently founded her own fashion line ORAZ and two of her seasonal collections have even been featured in WWD.
She decided to join Project Runway because: “I launched my brand, ORAZ, during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It was a difficult time for a new brand, and I wasn’t able to find many good opportunities for my brand. Fortunately, Project Runway came about, and I firmly believe this opportunity was simply meant to happen to me, so I decided to join the show.”
Sabrina Spanta | 29
Sabrina Spanta is originally from Afghanistan but fled the Afghan war to a refugee camp in Pakistan. In 2000, Sabrina was adopted along with her sister in the United States by her great aunt. In 2013, she launched her self-titled fashion line, Sanowber and has received recognition at several events and within numerous publications including Charleston Fashion Week and CNN News.
She explained why she applied for Project Runway saying: “When COVID hit, I lost my corporate designer job, sold everything I had, and drove back to Michigan from Florida. I applied to over 200 jobs, with multiple interviews and 100% rejections. It was only then I realized, life repeats in cycles and unless I break this cycle I will continue hitting a dead end. Project Runway was my form of redirection in life; to start again from zero and rebuild myself for truly what I was meant to do.”
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Meet the guys on Project Runway
Zayden Skipper | 32
Currently living in Atlanta, GA Zayden completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Business at Alcorn State University and decided to complete his Masters in Fashion. Remarkably, he quickly went from being homeless to being the only Black man to graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design in his class with the highest degree in fashion with honours.
When asked why he applied for Project Runway Zayden said: “I just felt like it was time to introduce the world to “Zayden” with looks and moments I can bring to the runway.”
Prajjé Oscar Jean-Baptiste | 37
Raised in Haiti, Prajjé Oscar Jean-Baptiste moved to the United States at the age of fourteen. At that point, he realised that his love of fashion could turn into a profession and decided to attend the prestigious Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. While living in NYC, Prajjé has had his work featured in Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, Elle, Rolling Stone, and Teen Vogue.
He signed up for Project Runway because: “After spending so many years of trying to build a brand, investing every dollar I have into it, I felt I had nothing else to lose!”
Bones Jones | 30
Bones Jones grew up in Virginia where his fondness for fashion began as a child watching his grandmother sew for her boutique. He attended the Virginia School of the Arts to study ballet, jazz, and modern dance. In his career, he has been a background dancer for iconic artists including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. In 2019, Jones decided to retire from professional dance and launched his own fashion line House O Bones.
His motivation for joining Project Runway was that he was encouraged by friends and family to go for the opportunity. He said: “The moment I saw season 1 of Project Runway as a kid made me want to be a designer.”
Octavio Aguilar | 42
Puerto Rican American Octavio Aguilar was raised by a single mother with whom he has an extremely close bond. He was given his first sewing machine at the age of twelve and started to make ’90s clubwear which led him to open his first store. He attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for a year but then took a ten-year hiatus from the fashion world to work in interior design, but he is back currently working as the owner and designer of his fashion label Dope Tavio.
He decided to try out for Project Runway because: “I knew It was time to take my brand to the next level, a bigger audience and I wanted to challenge myself. My designer friends Brittany Allan and Marquise Foster, who were on season 17 were encouraging me to go for it.”
Darren Apolonio | 27
Born in the Philippines, Darren Apolonio was raised by a single mother along with his three sisters. He was inspired by the quirky fashion of artists such as David Bowie and Lady Gaga which ultimately led him to the world of fashion design. He earned a BFA in Fashion at SCAD and upon graduation moved to New York City where he landed internships with several designers and stylists.
Darren said he decided to apply for Project Runway because: “I was a fresh grad and a relatively young designer struggling in New York. I was freelancing and jumping from internship to internship as I was trying to create my own label, which proved to be tough. Then again, I really didn’t have much to lose, so I went for it.”
Aaron Michael | 39
Aaron Michael was raised in Moorefield which is a small town in West Virginia. He is a self-taught designer who over the years has dressed multiple national pageant winners, RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants and university and regional theatre actors. In 2019, Micheal showcased his designs at New Orleans Fashion Week which was a significant turning point in his career.
He was inspired to join Project Runway because of his family members: “So many people prompted me to try out—my sister, my friends and my clients. I realize now they saw something in me that I didn’t see. Confidence is one thing but courage is another. I’ve wanted to be on the show since Season 1. I got my dream and I have no words.”
Kenneth Barlis | 32
Born and raised in Zamboanga, Kenneth Barlis is a fashion designer who found his niche in fashion at just seventeen years old. He has an extensive list of famous clientele including Carrie Underwood, Kehlani and Offset. In the past year, Kenneth has been busy creating KB masks to donate to local hospitals in San Diego and to raise funds for those who were affected by the pandemic.
Kenneth decided to join Project Runway because: “It’s the platform that will allow me to push my creativity as a designer and to help me understand my weaknesses and my strengths.”
Who are the Project Runway judges?
In the nineteenth season of the hit reality competition Project Runway the show will feature three judges alongside mentor Christian Siriano.
Editor-in-Chief of Elle, Nina Garcia will be returning to the judging panel alongside fashion designer Brandon Maxwell and journalist and author Elaine Welteroth.
Once the aspiring fashion designers exhibit their work to the judging panel the garments will be inspected and feedback provided. Each week, the judges will eliminate one contestant from the competition.
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