[Don’t Panic Note from Jodi: Though all of these pictures were taken at the filming of the Project Runway Season 9 Finale, there are no spoilers. Each of the nine contestants left in the race as of today showed a collection. There was no indication of who may actually be in the final three. For what it’s worth, Roan enjoyed Anya’s collection the most.]
My family began watching Project Runway as a fluke. Roan, the seven-year-old man-child who often times rules this roost was home from school with some random illness cooked up on the streets of NYC. We were both all-cartooned-out. In a desperate move that many parents can probably identify with – after you have run out of TV for your child to watch – I figured, why not Project Runway? We haven’t seen it, and Roan is fevered enough to maybe indulge me in something I want to watch. So we began. And it did not end. My seven-year-old and I binged on the series and finished a season in two days, leading us both to fiend for more.
We quickly got caught up to the current season. After only disagreeing once or twice about who should win, our entire family, Anson included, (but the twin infants excluded) had a new conversation happening. There were these secret life-lessons being discussed. Tucked away in each episode, there seems to be a “moral of the story”. For instance, if you work well with others, you usually win in a team challenge. If you believe you are entitled to special treatment, you will be shut down. If you cheat, you lose. If you are not kind to others, well my friends, the others will talk (and talk and talk) about it. If you are a fake, you end up being exposed and usually embarrassed. If you act the fool, Tim Gunn will enter the room and call you on it. Temper tantrums are not cool, name-calling is ugly, and confidence is king.
All of that, from reality TV. Hells bells.
But it actually got a little deeper in our house. When Mondo – (a Nelson Call family favorite contestant from Season 8. I have always just wanted to wrap him up in a blanket and bring him home to hug and feed. Weird? Yes. But have you seen him though? Can you disagree with the impulse? I thought not.) Anyway, when Mondo revealed that he was HIV Positive, Roan asked what that meant. We had a brief but important discussion about sex, condoms, safety, being gay, being straight and respecting others. It was interesting that when I interjected my own heavy hand about how it’s ok to be gay, Roan was all eye-rolls and shoulder-shrugs. As in: no duh. As in: it’s ok that the sky is blue. As in: it’s ok that your hair is blonde. As in: it’s never occurred to Roan that it wouldn’t be ok. Perhaps I went too far when I described condoms as little penis-balloons but the conversation happened. Feel free to take that penis-balloon line and use it in your conversations about sex with your children. Also feel free to contribute to Roan’s future therapy fund.
Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum are the hooks and sinkers of Project Runway. There’s an awesome balance of snark, authority, charm and slightly inappropriate commentary from them for each contestant. (See, I actually did show some parenting restraint at one point when Michael Kors remarked that an outfit made the model look like a “pole dancer from Dubai”. Roan asked what a pole dancer was. I warned him that I was going to have to talk to him about sex again to explain, at which point he waved me off with a “…that’s ok…I’m good…”) There’s also Tim Gunn who’d I wouldn’t mind if he wrapped me in a blanket, took me to his home and hugged me and fed me. I love him so.
So what’s with all the Pistols + Popcorn Project Worship? For the final episode, three contestants are chosen to compete by showing their collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC. I live in NYC. Coincidentally, so does my son. As Roan has watched this show, he has formed a definite leaning towards wanting to grow up and be involved in the world of fashion. Currently he wants to be a designer, and is saving money for a sewing machine. He thinks Michael Kors is the be-all-end-all of everything fashion, and gently suggests that I try to pull it together like Heidi Klum does once in a while. Nice. But what a treat it would be, I thought, to get Roan to the runway show. Afterall, why live in NYC if we’re not going to use it for what it’s for. That is, Living the Dream. Anson offered to watch the twin babies if Roan and I could get into the show and I got busy shaking my friends down for the hook-ups.
So. One good friend named Robin and two new friends named Jennifer later, not only did we get to the show, but Roan got some face-time with both Michael Kors and Heidi Klum. For Roan, this is just a natural progression of how life is. Of course he gets to hang with them. They are his people. And you know – the truth – they just couldn’t have been nicer to my boy. After learning that Roan wants to be a designer, Michael Kors teased him with, “Well, I designed my mother’s wedding dress when I was five. You have some catching up to do.” And Ms. Klum asked Roan questions, and talked to him like he was the most interesting guy in the room. My son has bragging rights to be sure, and believe me he is using them. He is telling his Kors/Klum story to everyone who will listen, but more importantly, he has imprinted this experience in his childhood memory bank. Regardless if he decides to go into fashion, he has learned that not only is everything possible for him – actually – everything is probable.