Project Runway Designer Ven Budhu Is Rude to Plus-Size Client — Would You Send Him Home?
Spoiler alert! Stop reading if you haven't seen, or don't want details on Project Runway Season 10, Episode 6.
Oh, Ven Budhu. Did you learn nothing from Project Runway Season 8’s GretchenGate? Bad attitude = mad viewers/potential future clients.
Last week Dmitry Sholokhov called Ven a “one-way monkey” — meaning “one-trick pony” — but this week the designer was more of an “all-day monster.” (And this week Dmitry was AGAIN denied a win. Why, judges, WHY?!)
Project Runway Season 10, Episode 6, "Fix My Friend," was the dreaded "Everyday Woman" challenge. The designers were asked to give a head-to-toe makeover for a non-model, as requested by their friend. At least this time the clients were assigned randomly instead of doing the insulting schoolyard pick. That said, chances are good that "plus-size" woman Terri would’ve been chosen by a gentler designer than Ven.
Seriously, when even Gunnar Deatherage thinks you’re rude and Elena Slivnyak loses respect for you — it’s time to worry. Not that Ven needed to worry about going home. Rude he may be, but he’s already won two challenges and the judges weren’t letting him go just for nastiness. (PR has a long history of not-so-nice people winning the whole season. See Gretchen above and Jeffrey below.)
This week we saw a different side to several designers — as if their trip to Mood involved a literal mood change. We met the sweet side of Gunnar, the sympathetic side to Elena and the snobbish, unprofessional side to Ven.
Ven had never designed for a “real” woman before. He felt it was unfair for some designers to be paired with women who already had the figures of models while others (like himself) had women with fuller figures. Maybe that’s true, but Gunnar also had a client with a fuller-figure and she loved her look. The judges liked it too, putting it in the top three, whereas Ven was in the bottom three.
Ven was polite to his client, Terri, in his initial sit-down with her and her friend — although he didn’t ask questions about her life to get to know who she is. Then he told the cameras when he first saw Terri he was "in shock" and "disappointed" because she's bigger than he'd like.
"Working with a plus-size is very, very challenging," he told the cameras. Later, he told Tim Gunn, "My client doesn't really have a shape. She doesn't have any sense of style whatsoever."
Tim asked how big she was and Ven laughed and said she was probably a size 14. Tim noted that that’s on the cusp of “plus-size.” He also reiterated that a good design can work as an optical illusion. (It may also be worth noting that Ven is no skinny stick himself. You’d think he’d have a little bit more empathy for someone with a few extra pounds.)
Ven also complained about Terri being almost 40, which didn’t even appear accurate, though it should hardly be an obstacle if true. He also called her "before" picture a "nightmare."
As Fabio noted, Ven’s model was hoping to come in and get special attention and instead she was stuck with a designer who was … well, Ven. Elena put it pretty well with “I kind of lost respect for him.” Alicia Hardesty said Ven is very limited and doesn’t know how to respond to a normal person’s body type; to her, that means you’re not a real designer. Gunnar called Ven “rude” and couldn’t believe how much he was “dogging” his client.
Granted, Ven did say he loved the makeover they gave Terri’s hair (which he had previously insulted as “flat”) and he wasn’t quite as disrespectful as Jeffrey Sebelia, who made the mother of one of the other designers cry when she was his client on Season 3’s Everyday Woman challenge. Do you remember when Jeffrey fought with Angela’s mom? That was painful. And do you remember the awful design he made for her? Not only was he not eliminated for that, he went on to win the entire season.
SURPRISING HIGH FOR GUNNAR, LOW FOR NATHAN, NADA FOR DMITRY
Gunnar actually liked this challenge, saying it's important to design for average, everyday people. Gunnar hugged his client, who cried out of happiness and excitement, as opposed to Ven’s model, who teared up in sadness and disappointment.
Fabio Costa ended up winning the challenge for the cool, artsy look he gave his client. It was a great look, but what about Dmitry? Dmitry did call his model as “plain as it gets” at one point, but was talking about her “before” style. Her after style was smokin’ hot! It was a great makeover, from the hair to the dress. Dmitry said it was high time for him to finally win a challenge, which is true. He’s earned it a couple of times over by now. At the very least he deserved to win for Most Adorable Former Ballroom Dancer Ever To Be On Project Runway. He’s darling.
At the end of the night, Nathan Paul went home for being more of a “seamstress” for his client — who had a beautiful figure — instead of stepping in as the designer. Do you think he deserved to go home, since he really did seem to have it easier than anyone else, or should the judges have made a point to punish Ven for how he treated his client?
Ven seemed to learn nothing from the experience, barely blinking when Heidi Klum said he was “in.” He told the other designers he didn’t think he should’ve been the last one called safe.