The secret to winning ‘Project Runway’: Let Tessa Clark boss you around

“There’s no such thing as a bossy woman, just a boss woman,” said “Project Runway” judge Elaine Welteroth in this season’s second episode, “The Future is Here.” She was responding to Tessa Clark, who took the leadership position for her team project with Sebastian Grey and Afa Ah Loo. Clark said she was being “bossy” to the boys on her team, but Welteroth set her straight. They won the design challenge under her leadership, so she shouldn’t apologize.

But I’ll admit, I was worried as the challenge was progressing. After Cavanagh Baker got such an unflattering edit in the season premiere before her elimination, I was starting to wonder if the show was setting up Clark as a designzilla, making unilateral decisions and dismissing the input of her colleagues. At one point Clark was demanding so much of Grey’s time and effort that he hardly had time left on day one to work on his own look.

But it turned out that having a strong leader guiding the ship was the key to success. Her team had the most cohesive collection of futuristic looks meant to showcase a specific sci-fi body modification feature (in their case, frilly neck ruffles). The advice she gave Grey on his dress helped him create one of the judges’ favorite looks of the season so far, and she gave Grey the credit he deserved for the construction he helped her with. Her team ended up with the winning collection, and Grey ended up with a well-deserved challenge victory.

Clark also won the first design challenge of the season, so the moral of the story is that whatever direction she’s going in, you should follow it. I’m with her, how about you?

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