Thursday’s “Project Runway” challenge appears to be about designing sportswear. But, when it comes to reality television shows, appearances can be deceiving.
And local designer Anthony Ryan Auld and Lifetime Television publicist Joanna Younger weren’t offering any clues to this week’s episode, the fifth of Season 9.
Here’s what they will confirm:
• It is the second team challenge of this season.
• The 12 remaining designers do have to run around a track, and the four top finishers are team leaders.
• Auld gets very angry at one point.
Here’s what we can glean from the previews:
• The contestants are wearing red T-shirts emblazoned with “HKNB,” the logo for host Heidi Klum’s line of sportswear for New Balance, hence a prediction of an athletic wear design challenge.
• Auld is grouped on the runway with designers Laura Kathleen, with whom he won an earlier challenge, and Bert Keeter, who seems to have trouble getting along with the other contestants. Are they a team? No one’s saying.
“We are out running this week,” Auld said in an interview Tuesday. “I ran cross country in high school, so I was prepared for this.”
So is Auld a team leader then?
Nope. Not giving that away.
A preview clip shows Auld commenting that he hasn’t been so angry since he found out he had cancer. He is a survivor of testicular cancer.
“That’s very true,” Auld said of the clip. “I tend to not let things get to me since I had cancer. I keep a positive outlook. But I do get really upset about something this week.”
Something, perhaps, that Keeter says or does?
Uh, uh. Nothing doing there.
Auld had more to say about last week’s episode, when the contestants were tasked with making a day-to-night outfit for judge Nina Garcia, fashion editor of Marie Claire magazine and probably the toughest critic on the panel.
Auld, a 28-year-old LSU alum, landed in the “safe” zone — not in the top or bottom three. It was the first episode in which he did not make it to the top three.
“I felt OK about what I showed, but my original concept did not fully come across,” said Auld, noting he had hoped to make pants and a blazer, but ended up with a sleeveless tailored top and a skirt.
Auld, like many viewers, was surprised contestant Kimberly Goldson, 35, won with a gold top and navy pants.
“Sometimes in the workroom we have an idea of who’s going to be in the top and bottom,” said Auld. “I was shocked Kimberly was in the top three. … I thought Viktor (Luna) should have won, hands down.”
Luna’s chic black top and skirt landed him in the top three along with designer Anya Ayoung-Chee’s jumpsuit. Last week’s losing designer was Julie Tierney, 35, of Grand Junction, Colo.
While Auld was not judged to be in the top three, the episode was not without a little drama on his part. In a first for the design competition, Auld and fellow contestant Becky Ross, 38, selected the same fabric.
“I think we both did a pretty good job using the fabric,” said Auld. “I think we could have eliminated ourselves from being in the top three by using the same fabric.”
Auld also had the “awww” moment of the show when he video chatted with fiancé Matthew Day.
“We had no idea that was going to be on the air,” Auld said. “We were just so caught off guard. But Matthew had 18 messages as soon as it was on there.”
Laughing, Auld added, “Maybe we’ll get the first ‘Project Runway’ wedding out of this.”
Auld, who’s been recognized in Baton Rouge everywhere from dining at The Chimes to shopping at the Mall of Louisiana, said he feels he’s being pretty accurately represented on the show.
“Because I never portrayed myself any way that wasn’t me,” he said. “…And everyone here has just been super supportive.”
“Project Runway” has wrapped up filming and the three finalists — still unknown to viewers — are now designing their collections to be presented Sept. 9 at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. The final episode will air in October.
The winner gets a $100,000 prize from L’Oreal Paris to start his or her own line, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel and the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection on http://www.piperlime.com.
Fans of Auld’s can help him win the $10,000 fan favorite prize by visiting Auld’s hashtag — #PR9anthonyryan — to tweet their support. You can log into Twitter within the “Project Runway” Season 9 site at http://www.myLifetime.com and tweet from the designer’s page.