A woman with leopard print hair and a penchant for hot pink and animal prints? This is exactly the kind of designer America loves to see on Project Runway. Enter: Buffi Jashanmal. I knew this was a woman after my own Claudia Kishi loving heart when I saw her cast photo: giant jewelry, pink leopard leggings, blue sequined shorts, cowboy boots, tube socks, and a marching band jacket.
Her goal on the show? To just be true to herself and her design aesthetic, which she proudly deems "crazy, tacky, glittery, and colorful" in episode four's exit interview.
Certainly Buffi knew getting far on Project Runway would be an uphill battle for her. "I know that if Heidi [Klum] can't wear it she doesn't like it. If Nina [Garcia] can't see it in her magazine she doesn't like it. If it's got too much color, Michael [Kors] doesn't like it. I don't tick any of their boxes so I went into the competition wanting to be myself," Buffi relayed to a handful of reporters (and little 'ole me) on a conference call the morning after her elimination. "I wanted to show myself to the audience just as much as to the judges." And that she did.
Now that Buffi is out of the workroom, who is she rooting for?
"[Chris] is so talented. He works so fast; it's like he has a little sweatshop in both of his hands."
Is she pleased with the way she was edited on the show? "I was myself 100% of the time, and I think they did a good job showing me for who I am. Did I do my best work? No, but everything I did was definitely "Buffi-ish', well, except the team challenge I did [with Elena]."
Unlike Andrea and Kooan, who both quit the show during episode four, Buffi is clearly a woman with little regret. "I doubt they'd ask me back [for an All-Stars season], but I thought about it, and I'd do it if they asked."
Just because we won't be seeing this quirky, jubilant woman in the televised competition this season any longer, don't expect that we've seen the last of Buffi Jashanmal. She is currently designing for several artists and musician friends and had a book deal on "dressmaking and sewing" before Project Runway started filming. "My book comes out May 5, 2013, and I'm sure Nina would be completely horrified," she laughs.
For now, Buffi has set up workspace at her cousin's place and is bopping along to Florence + The Machine, Dolly Parton, and lots of "cheesy musical soundtracks, like the Smash soundtrack".
Keep up with Buffi via Twitter, her webpage Quiet Riot Dubai, and her blog. I, for one, can't wait to pick up her book. My calendar is already marked.
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As part of my participation in the Project Runway Fashion Network, every Friday I'll have the opportunity to interview the eliminated designer. Make sure to follow me on Twitter or leave a comment here to submit questions you'd like me to ask. I'd be happy to do so.
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9pm on Lifetime. Full episodes are available on MyLifetime.com the next day.