How Project Runway: Junior is different (and better!) than the original

Being on Project Runway: Junior was a dream come true for me.

I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer since I can remember, so finally being recognized for doing what I love was incredible. Watching past seasons of Project Runway, I would always see little cliques or someone who all the other designers didn’t like, and I thought it would be like that. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The 11 other designers and I are super close and everyone loves everyone. Aside from all the excitement of the show, meeting my fellow contestants was my favorite part of the whole experience. Being around people who have my same interest and love for fashion was such a special experience. Upon arrival, we all bonded super fast and would go for ice cream or sit and talk on the roof of the hotel after filming. I cherish the friendships I made so much and I know we’re all going to work together sometime in our future careers.

Sami on Project Runway Junior
Image: Lifetime

I remember seeing the judges for the first time. I knew who the judges were going to be because it had been in an article prior to filming. I also knew there was a surprise judge, so I was extremely excited to find out who it was. Seeing Kelly Osbourne sitting across the runway from me was so surreal I thought I was dreaming. I have idolized Kelly since Fashion Police first aired. She is hilarious on camera and even more hilarious off. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and so down to earth. Sometimes I don’t want to meet celebrities I love in case they don’t live up to the expectations in my head, but Kelly went above and beyond my expectations. She also gave amazing feedback, which is extremely helpful and valuable. Though the other judges were absolutely amazing, Kelly has to be my favorite judge, though I am biased because of my prior love for her.

Meeting Tim Gunn, Hannah Davis, Kelly Osbourne, Aya Kanai and Christian Siriano is one of my most cherished memories. They are like gods and goddesses to me; it was unreal to have them know my name and critique my designs. I remember when I saw Tim for the first time, I think I squealed a little bit. He called me by my name and I think I died for a second. The way an aspiring singer would feel meeting Beyoncé is how I felt meeting them. Then again, everyone would feel overwhelmed with excitement meeting Beyoncé — it’s Beyoncé.

I am so grateful because being on Project Runway: Junior helped me really find out who I am as a designer and how to manage my time better. I’m used to having a long time to perfect my designs, but the short time frames we had to work in forced me to push myself. I think I am an all-around better designer because of the experience.

More: Project Runway‘s Ashley makes a strong statement by using plus-size models

I feel so honored to be a part of this show and am so fortunate to have built the friendships I did along the way. This was an incredible opportunity that I hope many more teens get to experience in the seasons to come.

Don’t miss Project Runway: Junior on Thursday nights at 9/8c — and be sure to tune in here, weekly, for all the contestants’ blogs!


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