The Nature of Mayan Culture

Maya is out of “Project Runway,” and not because she was “aufed.”

Maya Luze

"Marie Claire" photo of Maya, who quit "Project Runway." Made for an interesting, and strange, episode, but somehow it was nice to see someone opening the curtain, ala "Wizard of Oz."

She wasn’t pushed off the cliff. She jumped.

But then again, she didn’t jump into oblivion, but rather, back into life. Because, she says, she wasn’t ready to show a collection at Bryant Park during Fashion Week.

Well. I think the “Project Runway” challenge was rather dull this week—second time this season when the designers were creating a look for Heidi. The producers didn’t show much imagination in the challenge—design a runway look for Heidi, after only recently doing a magazine cover for Heidi. Next, it will be create a biking jersey and shorts for Heidi. Then, a clown outfit for Heidi to use at a birthday party (actually, I think that would be more interesting than the actual challenge that was on TV).

And yet, with the sudden departure of Maya and a model also leaving in the middle of things, the episode ended up being compelling.

My reaction? Mixed. I don’t mind the hot Irish nasty babe being back. But as for Maya, it is hard for me to imagine entering a competition like Project Runway and not staying as long as possible. Yet, I also have some respect for the way Maya conducted herself.

Then again, here I am blogging about a “reality” TV show, and I feel mildly creepy about that. I think part of the dynamic of Maya quitting wasn’t her deciding not to be America’s next great fashion designer—it was also being tired of an odd, edited TV life.

Though that’s not the reason she cited.  See:

Another interesting take is Tom and Lorenzo’s blog, which is amusing and worth a look for any “Project Runway” fan.  Anyway, they interviewed Maya about here decision.  Well, life goes on. Seth ends up putting an interesting, expletive-laced take on the situation. And looking in from the outside, it’s difficult to understand the designer’s situation.

I watched, and enjoyed, a few previous seasons of “Survivor.” But I ended up abandoning the show, partly because it felt so unreal—it seemed strange, and vaguely Roman Coliseum-esque, to watch people voluntarily starve themselves for a month in order to appear on TV and maybe win $1 million.

“Project Runway” doesn’t bother me as much. At least talent is part of the competition and the designers aren’t voting each other off. But the ordeal sounds more than a bit grueling. Is it really a part of choosing a talented designer to stress them and make them short on sleep?

Sure, nobody has to eat bugs. Yet, I am still sometimes uncomfortable with the whole premise of “reality” TV.

How far will people go to validate their existence by being on TV? Do we want an answer?

Finally, Maya, I respect your decision. My struggle with the idea of quitting is my struggle. Didn’t feel like you were ready? Honey, in some ways you seem much more ready than others who are trying to win at all costs.


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