Fans of “Project Runway” have made it clear that designer Anthony Ryan Auld, who lives in Baton Rouge, should have been the winner of last week’s challenge.
On the Lifetime Television website, 90 percent of the voting fans chose Auld’s design to only 10 percent for winner Olivier Green.
But Auld, 28, said he’s OK with his birdseed cocktail dress finishing second to Green’s wooly dog bed top and hamster bedding skirt. The challenge called for the contestants to use materials from a pet store to assemble an ensemble.
“I love what Olivier did,” Auld said. “I know it was difficult for the judges to pick between the two of us … but I came out in the top three, so that was enough for me.”
He was especially happy that host/judge Heidi Klum liked his garment best. After announcing the winner, Klum told Auld: “To be honest, your look was my favorite, but I was overruled.”
Only two episodes of the fashion design competition have aired so far, and Auld is the only designer to finish in the top three both weeks.
Fans of the LSU alum hope he makes it a three-peat Thursday night when the designers have to create an outfit for models on stilts.
“The episode is ‘Larger than Life,’” Auld said in an interview Monday.
“And it’s the first-ever ‘Project Runway’ outside.”
Kim Kardashian is the guest judge for this episode, which was shot in Battery Park on the southern end of New York City.
The designers will be segregated into teams for the challenge, but Auld wasn’t allowed to say with whom he will be working. Lifetime publicity’s department sent photos of Auld with both designers Josh McKinley and Laura Kathleen, but, in the way that reality shows like to obfuscate, that doesn’t mean either will work with Auld.
And, of course, you’ll have to watch Thursday night to find out if Auld wins the challenge.
For now, the challenges are over and the designers have returned home. The three finalists, whomever they are, are working on their collections to be presented Sept. 9 (although the episode probably won’t air until late October) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
The winning designer will get $100,000 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.
Since the show started airing, Auld’s popularity is soaring both nationally and locally.
“You know things are changing when you are at Hobby Lobby and someone screams at you from their car, ‘You ROCK on the show!’” Auld tweeted after his visit Monday to the College Drive craft store.
He’s a little embarrassed by the fuss, but awfully proud of showcasing his talent on the popular show.
Because the contestants don’t see the show until it airs, Auld said he’s enjoying watching how the season is unfolding.
“That’s when we get to see the judges’ critiques,” Auld said, adding, “and seeing how it gets edited is very fascinating to me.”
A couple of his episodes of uncontrollable laughing have been edited out, he said, along with the bug that attacked him on the runway.
“I freaked out and started laughing,” Auld said. “… It’s been so much fun watching how it all just comes together.”
Fans can visit Auld’s hashtag — #PR9anthonyryan — to tweet their support. The winner, as chosen by the fans, will get a $10,000 prize. You can log into Twitter within the “Project Runway” Season 9 site at http://www.myLifetime.com and tweet from each designer’s page.