Excuse Me, Ven Budhu?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Okay, I'm going to go on a rant here.  A Project Runway-induced rant.  Specifically a Ven rant.  If you haven't seen tonight's episode, stop reading until you do, because there are *SPOILERS AHEAD* (the capitalization is for those of you who weren't actually reading -- I'm sure there are a couple of you).

So tonight's challenge was about a challenge set out by L'Oreal to nominate a friend for a makeover.  The designers met some people who had nominated  their friends for a makeover, and they were tasked with designing an outfit and helping with hair and makeup to help create an overall look that the client looks and feels good in.  Obviously, these women are not models.  They are regular, everyday American women who represent different races, shapes, and sizes.

Ven spends half the episode going on about how difficult it is to design for his client because she's "a plus-size" (and yes, he said it like that.  Like plus-sized women are their own species).  He complains that it's "unfair" that some designers get more model-sized clients and some (like him) don't.  It's obvious that he thinks he got the short end of the stick.  He constantly laments that his client "has no shape", and even takes his bad attitude into the hair room, where all he has to say is that his client's hair is flat.

The look on her face just broke my heart.

He complains to Tim Gunn, who asks what size she is.  Tim looks flabbergasted when Ven tells him she's probably around a size 14.

Size 14.

That's barely plus-size.

And that's exactly what Tim notes when  he responds to Ven, saying "That's pretty much on the cusp."

Ven then complains that she's "old", saying she has to be at least 40 (I  personally don't think she looks anything close to 40).

He tells his client she has a "pretty face" (you know, like what nice boys in middle school say to you when they don't want to say outright that you're too fat to date) and that "black is slimming".  He asks her to try on a belt, and when it won't fit, he tells her it would look great except that it's too small, he thought it would be bigger, and he'll try to find a bigger one.

Throughout all his comments, the other designers are just as horrified as I am.  Elena says she lost respect for him, and Gunnar says he can't believe Ven would "dog on" his client like that. Fabio says he no longer thinks Ven is "sophisticated, refined, or elegant".

When trying on her outfit, she says it doesn't seem like her (in an interview, he said she said she "wouldn't wear it all the time", but thought it was beautiful).  He then mentions the belts (and how they don't fit) again, and she flat-out tells him she wishes he would stop saying things like that because it's embarrassing.  He walks away and she begins to tear up. In an aside, he says that she was upset because he kept trying to make out like she was fat, which he vehemently denies.

And I'm not just ranting about this because I'm plus-sized.  This is a matter of basic human decency.  No person should ever have to be degraded like that, especially on national TV.

The outrage didn't just extend to me and the workroom; people on Twitter had plenty to say, especially in response to Ven's tweet.

@Venbudhu My client is pretty but has a difficult shape to work with which was very unfair... #ProjectRunway

@tomandlorenzo And yet someone designs for YOU, Ven. #ProjectRunway @Project Runway (RT'd by Nina Garcia.  And me.)

@milahermanovski @Venbudhu Unair? You have 2 be able to design for all shapes. And you should not have spoken to her that way. #ProjectRunway

@anthonyryanauld Ven is a plus size model.   What is he talking about?!  @ProjectRunway #ProjectRunway

@sparks_fly Gunnar's model was the same size as Ven's and he made something beautiful that looked great and didn't complain once. #projectrunway

@sgiarde Designers like Ven scare normal sized folks from seeking designers. Opportunity for fashion pr work 2 be done.  PSA perhaps? #projectrunway

@LOrealParisUSA Seriously Ven? If you can't design for "real women" who are you designing for?! #ProjectRunway

Look, I get that the designers are used to making clothes in much smaller sizes.  I get that.  As somebody who has been working on sewing my own plus-sized clothes, I realize that it takes more work; there's more fabric to work with, so there's more fabric to cut and more fabric to sew.  However, the fact that this is an inconvenience for you doesn't make it acceptable for you to be such a complete douchecanoe to your client.  Having been plus-sized for most of my life now, I can tell you that we already feel bad enough about how we look without you rubbing it in our faces.  His comments are completely out of line.  The fact of the matter is that "a person's a person, no matter how small" (or big) they happen to be, and therefore a person should be treated with respect. Ven clearly has no respect for any woman who's not a size 2.

Which I find kind of funny, considering how he looks (please note that I am not trying to fat shame Ven; my point is just that considering that he does not have model's figure himself, you would think he would be a little more understanding of women who also do not have model's figures).

Ven was in the bottom 3 (which I feel was deserved), and on the runway, his model admitted that she had not been happy throughout the process.  Heidi called Ven out when he said it was his first time designing for a "real woman", because after all, it's not like half the women walking around are robots.  His client's  friend was kind enough to speak up for her (and became so emotional she started to cry), which moved Heidi.  The judges were not impressed with Ven's attitude OR his outfit (although Nina said the skirt was well made).

Sadly, Ven's bad attitude wasn't enough to send him home (though he did have the nerve to tell the other designers that he didn't think he should have been the last one called).  This episode has really soured me on him though, including all the beautiful garments he's made in previous weeks.  I used to be really impressed by his work (his looks are expertly sculpted and simply beautiful), but like Elena, I've lost respect for him.

Tim Gunn (love that man) went out of his way to tell the departing designer that they were losing someone of great character.  Tim Gunn - 1,Ven - 0.

I think Ven needs to take a good, long look in the mirror (at both his attitude and his own appearance) before making judgments on others.

Non-Ven-related: Alice Temperley asking what a hoochie mama is was HILARIOUS.

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  1. Ven is completely delusional since he looks like a doppelgänger for the plus size Buddha with 34C moobs. His ugly attitude can't be redeemed by his beautiful singular design aesthetic .. No more flowers please and hit the treadmill

    1. I agree -- he makes gorgeous clothes, but his terrible attitude cancels that out.

  2. I don't think it's fair to say anything negative about his size anonymous poster above, because that would be hypocritical, but onto the real point.

    Alex, great blog post. I don't have cable so I didn't get to witness the atrocity, but I am glad that the other people on the show were as disgusted as you were watching it, and I was reading about it. I think that he said those things because in the world we live in (and the world he works in) glorifies thin-ness, and vilifies plumpness. He is ignorant and hateful and I can imagine no store will want to touch his merchandise with a 10 foot pole.

    I wish that he were the first contestant on PR that made negative comments about "getting stuck with" a NORMAL sized woman. It is truly sad.

    1. Yeah, he's definitely not the first to complain about working with "real" women instead of models, but he's the first (in my memory, anyway) to make such a big deal about and be so mean about it.

  3. I didn't like how he kept making comments that made her feel like SHE was defective somehow. He says he didn't say she was fat, but he kept referring to black being 'slimming' and mentioning that the belts were all too short for her. It also seemed that he talked mostly to the friend and rarely addressed the client, like she wasn't worthy somehow. And of course the killer was him complaining that he got stuck with someone plus sized and that that wasn't fair. Again, like she was defective. He clearly had no respect for her as a human being. Worst of all is that he had no clue about the effect HIS words were having. He was completely oblivious to why his client was upset; not seeing how horrified everyone else was with what he was saying...

    I knew they wouldn't eliminate him. They've liked his past designs too much. I do wish they had called him out on it more though, especially on his statement that it was "unfair" for him to have to work with someone plus sized while others didn't. It seems like they just let that one go and didn't comment on it. He should have been taken to the woodshed!

    1. I didn't expect them to eliminate him either, but when they held him back, I was like "Holy crap, are they actually going to do a double elimination?!" But no, he just got a light slap on the wrist.

      And I completely agree with this: "he kept making comments that made her feel like SHE was defective somehow". He kept acting like she was a different species or something. It's just sickening.

  4. I wasn’t home last night, so I was glad I was able to count on my Hopper to record this episode of Project Runway for me. I watched it this morning before work, and it was actually hard for me to eat my breakfast because my jaw kept dropping at the things Ven kept saying. There is NO excuse for that kind of atrocious behavior. One of my Dish co-workers made the comment that if your “design aesthetic” only caters to a certain type of person, you aren’t a real designer, and I agree. I think Ven is totally one-note, and that paired with his insulting, demeaning attitude has me really hoping they show him the door sooner than later.

    1. I agree with you and your co-worker; real designers can design for anyone (I mean, I know some have trouble with menswear, but they design for different women). Here's hoping he slips up next week!

  5. Ven's model is on Twitter. Poor lady, obviously still hurt. He's so delusional.


    1. Poor woman.

      And I love how Ven is trying to blame his bad attitude on her now. "My client did not even have a nice attitude when we met, her attitude alone is what drove it..."

      What. A. Douche.



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