Project Justin: Alum survives first round on design show

July 19, 2013
By Bill Krueger

Justin LeBlanc survived the opening round of Project Runway last night and gave viewers a glimpse of his personality in his television debut. When another contestant asked if it was best to look directly at LeBlanc, who is deaf, when speaking to him, LeBlanc responded, “Just be yourself, and if I don’t understand you I’ll let you know.”

Justin LeBlanc at work during the first episode of Project Runway

Justin LeBlanc at work during the first episode of Project Runway (Photos courtesy of Barbara Nitke, Project Runway)

LeBlanc, an NC State alum who teaches at the College of Design, is one of 16 contestants (now 15) competing for the top spot in the Lifetime reality show that pits up-and-coming designers against one another as by requiring them to create garments from unusual materials under deadline pressure.

Last night that unusual material was a parachute. The show focused on some colorful contestants — notably a designer who was so taken with the concept of sustainability that he would not allow hair stylists to plug in a curling iron — but LeBlanc made a few memorable appearances. Introducing himself to the audience, he gave a shout-out to NC State, making the wolf sign and saying “Go Pack!”

prs12_06102013_bn-0150When the model wearing LeBlanc’s design came down the runway in a hot pink dress that featured black-and-white insets along the neckline and a black waistband, he said, “I’ve got goose bumps.”

LeBlanc also showed viewers his sense of humor: At one point he said that if anyone on the show gets too annoying, he’ll turn his hearing aid off.

We’ve got goose bumps, too, pulling for LeBlanc to make it to the top. The next episode airs at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 25. We’ll keep you posted.

— Sylvia Adcock ’81

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