Strong personalities dominated Project Runway Season 15, and as a result, the drama was heavy until Cornelius Ortiz was eliminated for the second time. Viewers expected the claws to come out again for the reunion — and they did not come away disappointed!
One of the biggest arguments of the evening revolved around (surprise, surprise) the group challenge fiasco in which good friends Erin Robertson and Dexter Simmons appeared to leave all the work to former villain Ortiz. Robertson and Simmons now claim that they were unfairly portrayed and that they merely appeared hurtful due to bad editing.
Of course, the other contestants disagree. Ortiz thinks that the episode portrayed the situation with complete accuracy by highlighting how hard he worked and how much his fellow contestants slacked off. Mah-Jing Wong also believes that the episode accurately captured Robertson and Simmons' dynamic and their tendency to alienate others. Even Tim Gunn feels that the pair was portrayed correctly based on what he observed with his own eyes.
Editing can certainly skew things, but only to an extent. Yes, the powers that be at Lifetime may have been selective with what they chose to show, but then again, certain contestants manage to keep their noses clean, and as a result, have absolutely no instances of bad footage. If Robertson and Simmons had been more inclusive, it would have been far more difficult to edit their footage in a way that made them look bad.
To be fair, Robertson and Simmons were by no means the only contestants to act dismissively toward their team members. The same problem clearly occurred with Jenni Riccetti and Nathalia JMag, who were known to have secret meetings without Wong's input (although Riccetti largely acted as mediator). Amazingly, by the end of their little reunion tiff, JMag and Wong were able to agree that, despite their differences, they produced a magnificent runway look.
Ultimately, a show like Project Runway is going to try to push contestants' buttons. It is a testament to the designers' strength of character when they are able to avoid giving in to pressure and snapping at one another. We still have respect for the accomplishments of Ortiz, Robertson, Simmons and JMag, but episodes like these make us even more appreciative of Roberi Parra, Laurence Basse and other contestants who keep the drama to a minimum.
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