Designer Justin LeBlanc gave Tristen Seal of Sachse TX a modest but fashionable dress in the “real women” challenge, with plenty of covering and none of the scoffing (Tristen wanted a modest neckline and her arms covered, with the skirt covering her knees). None of the judges ridiculed or rolled their eyes at her Mormon faith’s impact on fashion, nor did Justin. Instead, the desire to be modest was treated as a normal (even if less typical in the fashion world) choice without judgment.
In fact, Justin’s modest design almost won!
Though Klum may not hold a strong religious stance, the show did not balk at Tristen’s. In 2004, when asked by a reader of The Independent UK, “Why did God make some people more gorgeous than others?” Klum responded, “I think that everybody is beautiful in his or her own way. If you smile a lot and are confident, then you are a gorgeous person. I don’t know whether my looks come from God. I’m not really religious. I don’t really know what I am. I’m just trying to be a good person. I am who I am. I know that I look much better when I have a great team around me.”
From the episode’s edit, it appears that Tristen was quite pleased with what her team produced, as was Klum and her panel of judges looking for their next champion.
In the “real women” challenge, a real woman with real religious beliefs that impact her choices was featured. And the show treated her as just that – a real, normal woman with real, normal beliefs and preferences. Well done, Justin; well done Tristen; well done Project Runway.