PROJECT RUNWAY’S BASHED PLUS SIZE CLIENT TERRI HERLIHY SPEAKS UP
PROJECT RUNWAY, SEASON 10, EPISODE 6, “HELP MY FRIEND”
Designer Ven bullies client/model about weight, age and constant bashing with no repercussion.
I have been truly overwhelmed by the events of the last few days. As you probably already know, I had agreed to be a participant in the “Fix my Friend” competition for Project Runway. I anticipated a pampering experience wherein I would receive a makeover and have a new look designed just for me. Instead, I was humiliated and degraded for being a “plus size” contestant.
I kept dreading the day when the episode would be aired and the whole world could see me trying on belts that had been made for Twiggy. Since I was so mortified, I did not tell many people that I would even be on the show. I watched it at home with my husband and young children. Seeing the edited version of what had been filmed shed a new light on what had occurred. I was horrified to realize that my children (who I always try to teach to respect others), were now watching their mother being bullied on national TV. It was devastating! I want my daughters to grow up with healthy self images, regardless of what the media promotes as fashionable. I deeply regretted my decision to do the show.
However, since that time, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from perfect strangers. They are outraged at the designer’s comments and attitude towards me. I am so grateful for their kindness which is helping to rebuild my damaged self-esteem. I only wish I had the time to personally thank each one for their remarks and gestures.
It was disheartening to see that the judges on Project Runway did not send the offending designer home. Does this mean they condone his actions? Do they also believe that only rail-thin models are worthy of their attention?
As I begin to put my own embarrassment aside and look at the situation from other people’s eyes, new questions pop into my head. Why aren’t the sponsors’ speaking up? The sponsors’ offers an anti-aging product line, and very large selection of plus size women clothing. Do the network and sponsors believe in promoting tolerance or do they only care about ratings? (I know that controversy can be beneficial to them, but at what cost?) Why does the average woman compare herself to runway models to begin with? There are nationwide efforts to stop bullying. My experience is a prime example of adult bullying at its best. Bullying needs to stop, not just for children but for everyone!
I am not an extrovert by any means so I really am overwhelmed by all of this attention. I have no idea where it will lead, but hopefully more women will carry their heads high on their “plus size figures”, and fewer teens and tweens will feel that designer clothes make who they are. Maybe someday Project Runway will official denounce this designer’s actions. But in the meantime, I again thank everyone who has shown support for me. Your kind remarks have diminished the hurt I felt from one individual’s insensitivity.
I especially want to thank my friend, Theo Thomas, for challenging me during the filming as I was pretending to like what had been designed for me. And I also want to publicly acknowledge that other former Project Runway competitors (namely Michael Costello and Suede) have graciously offered to design an appropriate outfit for me.
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