When Hester Sunshine became the only designer on the 17th season of “Project Runway” to win a second challenge so far with her outfit for her powerful female video-game character last week, it seemed as if she might be a front-runner. That is in spite of her shaky start on the show, where her lack of confidence and indecision about her outfits and fabric choices pegged her as someone who might not last that long.
But whatever dark clouds were hangin over her head initially dissolved as she finally got a challenge that suited her cute and kitschy sensibilities that required the contestants to make an ensemble from the same head-to-toe print, including accessories. Her red and white print made for a fun outfit and she came in first. Hester followed that up with one of the highest scores in fourth challenge, which required the designers to use unconventional materials found at a campsite. And, on episode 5, her star-chaser party girl had just enough whimsy to charm the one judge whose vote counts the most, “Elle” editor-in-chief Nina Garcia.
However, those responding to our poll about whether Hester was now the one to beat did not show that much confidence in her ability to continue her winning streak. While 30% thought her quirky personality translates well into creative fashion statements, only 9% thought she should be considered the front-runner. And 21% thought although she has fun ideas, she lacks the sewing skills and versatility of the other designers.
One reason for that lack of confidence? This week’s challenge will involve embracing elegance, a trait that probably isn’t Hester’s strength. That may be why 40% thought she was overdue for a misstep. One saving grace, however, is that she has immunity thanks to her second win. But not helping, as shown in the preview video below, is that Hester’s fashions can tiptoe close to being tacky and she isn’t as versatile when the challenges are more mainstream. Will she be able to make pasties seem elegant. We will just have to tune in to Bravo on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.