Comments 15

On Losing Graciously & The Spirit Of Sportsmanship

presite-castWe know now, of course, that it’s Amanda Valentine filling up that mysterious spot!!

Throughout its history, I’ve not once blogged about Project Runway. Not because I don’t adore the show, I’ve watched each episode of every season religiously for the past 12 years (wow, it’s been that long). I simply feel there are already so many bloggers covering the show (and doing it brilliantly, might I add) that I don’t fancy being a teeny, nondescript drop in the ocean. However, the recent fiasco surrounding Korina Emmerich’s departure from Season 13 has kicked the rock under which I’d been happily living and prompted me into hitching a ride on the bandwagon.

Losing graciously.

Does the spirit of sportsmanship truly exist? Or is it simply an act put on for show by those who fail to win the coveted top prize? Saying the right words, outwardly demonstrating politically correct expressions while boiling on the inside? Throwing tantrums and mentally yelling, “It’s not fair! It’s not fair! IT’S NOT FAIR!!”


{  Win With Class, Lose With Dignity  }


Let’s talk a little about sportsmanship. What it entails. Theoretically, it is the demonstration of fairness, self-control, courage and persistence. Treating others with respect and professional courtesy. A good winner does not gloat; a sporting loser concedes defeat graciously. Conversely, a bad winner openly rubs his victory in his opponent’s face whereas a sore loser does not take defeat with class, and (generally) acts out in some fashion to express disappointment.

Was it fair to crucify Korina for expressing what most of us would more than likely feel and think were we in the same boat? Was it truly because of what she said or simply because (‘fess up) Korina has made it a little difficult for us to like her? Let’s face it, she’s bitchy and has been trash talking the other contestants from day one, but that’s hardly virgin territory for the reality show, now well into its 13th instalment. And while we’re being honest, I do feel that Mean-a Nina Garcia had it in for Korina from the very beginning because she wasn’t afraid to defend her designs, to speak her mind.

Given the premise upon which the competition was taped – minimal sleep, maximum stress, living and working arrangements that weren’t conducive – given all that, I feel certain even Mother Teresa would’ve turned into quite the shrew.

From a purely creative standpoint, I concur that Ms Glover is nowhere near Korina’s calibre although she was decidedly nicer which made it all that much easier for most of us to be in Camp Char. That said, being Miss Congeniality should have nothing to do with one’s longevity in a competition like Project Runway wherein talent (supposedly) rules. And while I adore Tim Gunn and live for the day when he becomes my Fairy Godmother, I’m shocked to see the level of preferential treatment extended towards Char – not only did he use the coveted Tim Gunn Save on her (a total waste, it should’ve gone to Emily Payne), he saved her again when it came to the Find Your Street Muse Challenge. Do the words, “Let’s give Char ten extra minutes” ring any bells? That would make us seethe too if we were in a competition with her.

korina(L to R – Char, Korina) Placed side by side, it’s clear who the more talented of the two is.

At this point, I feel compelled to put something on record about designers who are bestowed the Tim Gunn Save. Remember Justin LeBlanc of the Foaming Vagina Dress fame?


Justin and his losing look

Does anyone else detect a pattern here? That the producers wished to avoid, at all costs, eliminating and sending home a designer who’d been given the Tim Gunn Save? That they would do whatever was necessary to help the designer make it to Fashion Week? The very same thing happened with Justin LeBlanc. When it came to Korina, post show editing ensured that we, the viewers, weren’t privy to everything that was said (I’m confident there were some words exchanged, or implied, to the effect of openly questioning the judges’ integrity). That left us with footage showcasing Korina in the harshest light possible, verbally assaulting Char, and being an all around bitch. In reality, she was struggling to come to terms with the fact that Project Runway wasn’t really all about talent. And that must have been a very bitter pill to swallow.

As it is for me, an aficionado, who used to believe in the integrity of the show and its judging process.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the entire debacle.


Love, Sheela


  1. Man that comment balloon is hard to spot! Sorry I missed it the first time around.

    Anyway. I pasted the previous conversation here, in case there’s anybody out there who needs context.

    [And, as a fellow Project Runway addict (weird, but true), I really liked your post–but I couldn’t find any place to comment. You made a great point about the Tim Gunn save. Though I was certainly no Korina fan, I didn’t understand why Tim saved Char. She’s a nice lady, and I really like her, but her designs weren’t the best. Though you have to admit, in that 1 hour challenge, she hit it out of the ball park. I was surprised. Though that whole, ‘we can’t decide’ thing, ‘so now you have to make a new design,’ felt contrived. It always does to me–not like they really couldn’t make up their minds but they’d planned to do that as a cool twist at that point in the season, regardless.]

    [BUT BUT BUT I don’t know about Char hitting it out of the park with that one hour Save Me, Please Challenge. Was it talent or was it because she was sufficiently savvy to pick an easy-to-sew fabric and partner with an assistant who could sew much better/faster? I don’t know :)]

    You make another excellent point, and have started a round of but, but, but in this household. I did kind of think that at the time. But there was no doubt between those two dresses. Seriously, there was no way they could kick Char off at that moment, because the dresses were sooo far apart.

    Did Korina get the short end of the stick? Yeah–probably. But that happens in life, and you have to go on–and not burn bridges if you want to keep going on. Korina burned bridges. Though I always wonder how much reality TV shows edit things in order to make it more dramatic, and make one person look like the villian.


    • I (used to) believe that the designers were judged, not just based on the task at hand, but also their track record on the show and the promise they display. That’s why they supposedly kept Sean, and he’s gone on to win (another result I STRONGLY object to, but that’s a tale for another time). That being the premise, horrid 1-hour challenge results or not, I don’t feel Korina should’ve been given her walking papers. You’re right, though, s*** happens. While I agree she could’ve behaved in a more adult fashion, I don’t know if I would’ve acted differently in Korina’s stead. I have it from inside sources (read: past contestants) that post-editing always aims to create drama. p/s Are you as excited as I am to watch tonight’s reunion episode?


  2. Evon Long says

    Ok…I’m the person who could argue both sides of this scenario. But 2 things stand out to me. 1. Whether you win or not (by the way almost everyone on this show ends up being a loser…how many contestant s…how many seasons. many actually won). The point is this is the biggest job audition for these sewists. Win or lose how they represent themselves when the whole world is watching is important. Many of these contestants go onto have good careers because people see their talent and personality. What is she going to do down the road when she is told by someone else that her design stinks when no TV is around. She just showed the world that she can’t handle rejection at all. Yes we know that Heidi is trying to help Tim Gunn look good by keeping Char so long…it’s TV. But TV didn’t tell her to act like the biggest baby in the world. 2. As Amanda so eloquently said…She doesn’t hurt any more than the rest from other seasons who feel they got voted off to early. I was p…o…ed when Amanda was kicked off her season. The one where they worked on teams the whole time. I thought that season was completely wrong and people got jipped. However, you didn’t see them crying and yelling at the other contestants putting them down because of the judges final decision. Yes people have been upset. But not to this extent. Life is unfair…it happens every day to people all over in real life at their jobs. I know 1st hand. However you can choose how you are going to handle and move forward…even in that immediate moment following the decision. The producers may have shown it….but they didn’t force her to act like a spoiled baby because of a decision out of her control


  3. RDB says

    I think the thing that designers have to come to grips with is that the judging is to some degree subjective. That is part of the game here. With respect to Korina, I don’t think the issue is whether she should or should not have been eliminated. What is disturbing is the way she treated Char. At the end of the day, whether she agrees with the judges’ decision or not, it was the judges, not Char, who made the decision. There is just no excuse for her to disparage Char the way that she did. Char did nothing wrong and she certnainly did nothing to Korina. On that particular day, they both completed the challenge to the best of their abilities and the judges chose Char. There is no objective criteria that the judges are forced to use to make their decisions and as a designer you agree to those terms when you join the show. Same with the Tim Gunn save(s). He gets to choose, based on whatever criteria he wants, who to save. And he did give the designers the option to refuse to give her 10 more minutes. I am sympathetic towards him in that situration only because the models were real women and not professional models. Do we really expect a non-model to agree to walk down a runway exposed? Finally, anyone who lasts as long as Korina is, in fact, a winner. She got a lot of airtime to display her talent and she got to present at NY Fashion Week. Calling her a sore loser when she received opportunities of this magnitude (that other aspiring designers would give their left arm for) is, in my opinion, a bit of an understatement.


  4. Mona says

    The question isn’t whether or not Korina was the superior designer or that she was screwed over. The problem is that she attacked the wrong person. Instead of just lashing out at the producers, she verbally dissed Char several times. You say this is about fashion and talent, but at the end of the day it’s also a reality show. Korina is a terrible person, period.


    • In the overall scheme of things, I do agree that she showed a very ugly side. However, I don’t think that she is all that terrible under normal, everyday circumstances. That sort of intense scrutiny and pressure within a cloistered environment can truly play with our minds. You could say that, that’s when one’s true colour shows but until I’ve been in that situation, I’ll reserve judgment 🙂


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  10. I far preferred Korina’s design. I do think that people, in any industry, should not be afraid to show emotion, or defend their creations – if those traits make you unlikable, then so be it.



    • I agree and disagree. I know it’s almost an impossibility but it would be lovely for one to be successful AND nice, you know? 🙂 of course, that makes absolutely no difference if those around are the ones with difficult traits.


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