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Three on the 'Runway'
Extended for the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn
2009-08-19

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The wait is finally over with the sixth season of Project Runway moving from the Bravo channel to the Lifetime network. Windy City Times interviewed three of the designers at a recent event at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg to find out if they can "make it work."

Windy City Times: Are you guys excited to finally see the show air after filming it almost a year ago?

Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman: It is seriously amazing.

Shirin Askari: Very surreal. I had almost forgot about everything. When I watch scenes in commercials, I am like, "Oh My God, flashback!"

Christopher Straub: Yeah, like, "I don't remember that part happening."

R-LC: The premiere is actually a year to the date that we started filming.

WCT: Ra'mon-Lawrence, you are from Chicago. Where did you go to school?

R-LC: I actually went to study medicine and after doing a year of med school, I decided that I didn't want to be a doctor. I was then accepted to the school at the Art Institute. I wanted to be a performance artist and found out they had a fashion program. I sort of got involved there and here I am.

WCT: And you, Shirin and Christopher?

SA: I went to the University of North Texas, which is in Denton, Texas. It's not like Parsons or anything but one of the best schools the city. I really enjoyed it.

CS: And I don't have a fashion education. I do it for fun and for myself, selfishly. It got me where I am now.

WCT: Do you guys do a lot of sewing?

R-LC: Oh yeah, huge!

SA: I have been sewing since I was five but I made my first dress when I was seven. It was always just a hobby. I didn't plan on being a fashion designer. I just did it on the side. I loved to do it but wanted to be a nutritionist for a while, then a lawyer because I watched Law & Order and I like to argue with people.

CS: I always wanted to be a fashion designer.

R-LC: Since you have been in diapers?

CS: Yes, different ways to wear it, off to the side. [ Everyone laughs. ]

WCT: How did each of you get involved in the show?

R-LC: They did the process a little differently, which I thought was fantastic. They made it a little more grass roots, where they looked at certain communities around the nation. They went in and asked people who locally knew talent, who are the emerging new artists.

SA: Oh, that's not how I did it! I turned in a tape. I was supposed to be in Europe but I broke my knee and I was stuck at home. My teacher told me that they were having auditions for Project Runway and I needed to turn in a tape with two days away. So I made it on crutches.

R-LC: They actually contacted me and I hung up on them like three times because I thought it was a joke.

SA: They probably thought you were such a queen!

R-LC: [ Laughs ] Yeah, I get that a lot. My friends had been trying to get me to try out for years so I thought it was a joke.

CS: I had actually tried out before and was a finalist before for previous seasons. I came across season six and it was a different format. It was a casting call…

SA: The cattle call!

CS: …then you would go make a videotape.

SA: Which I think is better, because I want to know right away. I would rather not stand in the rain.

R-LC: I didn't get to see the crazies come out and say look at my chicken suit. The people that got through are talented.

CS: A lot of diverse talent.

SA: Everyone's very different.

R-LC: The one thing that I admire about Christopher's story is his determination to follow your dream, because it was the first time for Shirin and me. You see a lot of diversity and passion with these contestants.

WCT: Did you see big differences with the show being on Lifetime from Bravo?

R-LC: It's the same show but the fans from Bravo will love it just as much on Lifetime. There's no deviation from the show Project Runway.

CS: From the very beginning, we were asking the same question, "Is this going to be different somehow?" And they kept the show the same so it wouldn't frighten people.

R-LC: I think one thing that makes it exciting is that they moved the show to L.A. from New York—there is a slight spin on fashion. It's not just runway fashion. There are different avenues for fashion. They gave us different challenges than ever before.

SA: Someone that I had spoken to from Lifetime had told me that previous seasons on Bravo were all about the competition and kicking people off. This season they tried to change it up and it's more about each individual designer.

CS: And our inspiration and story.

SA: How they got here and their drive to get here.

R-LC: We are very excited about being on Lifetime because of that. It is about people pursuing a dream and not just a competition.

WCT: Christina Aguilera and Lindsay Lohan are making appearances this season. Are you fans of them?

CS: When Lindsay came on all of us, who knew who she was, freaked out! We were not ready for that at all. No warnings. Lindsay comes out and she's got a weave down to her ankles; it was a starstruck moment.

R-LC: It really was surreal. When you are in the situation and they are there, you have to embrace it.

SA: Yeah, once it's gone and she walks off the stage, it's like, "Did that just happen?" Rewind!

WCT: How do we keep up with your journeys as designers?

CS: Christopherstraub.com, visit it often!

SA: Shirinaskiri.com—there's a blog on my Web site.

R-LC: Ramonlawrence.com, I will be showing at New York Fashion Week!

Project Runway debuts on Lifetime Thursday, Aug. 20, with a behind-the-scenes feature, "Models of the Runway," following it. Check out www.mylifetime.com for details. "Carry on!"


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