Dear Terri, Ven Budhu, and Project Runway….

This has been heavy on my heart. I have sat back and read almost every article fashioned regarding the account of last week’s Project Runway “Fix My Friend” episode, still in a cloud of funk, disgust, disappointment, frustration, and despair. I have bounced around ways to write this: an open letter, a rant, or addressed to Terri herself… I have decided to make this a blend of all three.

For those of you, who missed this episode, let me catch you up to speed (and then check out Nick Verreos’s Recap.) Last week, as with each episode of Project Runway, they have a “Real Woman” challenge in which designers are paired up with women like you and I, looking for an outfit for whatever the occasion or reason. THIS season, the already snobby Ven Budhu (who happens to be a Big and Tall man himself) was paired with Terri, who happens to be a size 12/14 ish. Magic made in heaven right? WRONG.

Okay, now that you are caught up, let me begin.

Dear Terri,

Terri from Project Runway's Real Women Challenge

I am going to start with you because you have been the unfortunate victim here. I want to hug you and tell you that YOU, ma’am are an amazing woman and definitely a BRAVE woman who has had to endure so much ignorance and rudeness, and for this I am so sorry. I want you to know that YOU and your enviable haircut are too fly for this despicable and deplorable treatment.

Please know Terri, that there is a community here to support and welcome you to the fabulous world of plus size fashion. There are DESIGNERS who cater to a plus size woman’s fabulous curves, there are bloggers who celebrate and challenge those unfortunate stereotypes, and there are resources and magazines that allow you to see YOURSELF in fashion!

You have such tremendous support and people behind you to help you through this interesting time. I know that you have reached out to Project Runway who has met you with such dismissive behavior, but KNOW in this digital age, love, we see you and we see them. I have read your letter; call out for help, and your facebook page. We stand behind you darling in this wronged situation.

PS.  Michael Costello? YOU are amazing offering to design a dress for Terri and I really hope you do! Suede  from Season 5, and Peach have all stepped up to design looks for Terri!!

Ven Budhu,

Sir. First of all you should have two seats. Where do YOU get off telling the camera how “very disappointed” you were in having to deal with a “Real Woman?” Don’t you watch Project Runway? Don’t you know every season the designers are challenged to rock this challenge? Or did you think you were exempt?

Ven Budhu Who Bullied Terri from Project Runway

You claim that Terri had an attitude from the jump? No sir, you were the one who judged her the second you saw her. The incessant digging and demeaning of Terri was not lost by your peers, some who have “Lost all respect for you.” The fact that you were “in shock” and kept referring to Terri’s curves as “wide waist and hiplines” shows how detached from reality you truly are. The fact that you said her “before” photo is “definitely a NIGHTMARE?”  WHO DIED AND MADE YOU GOD?  Who ARE YOU?

You checked out before you even started. And then to suggest that she wear all black for a “Slimming effect?” Boy, you obviously are lost on fashion and the plus size consumer. Once this show is over, I suggest you do a bit of research about the State of Plus Size Fashion, a 17 billion dollar industry.

NEWSFLASH: Most of the women- your future clients that you will meet don’t or will not look like models.

Good luck sir in trying to remove this stain from you perfectly coiffed and pleated designs… Your name will always be associated with your contempt for the female form. More so, after your ignorance hit the twitter stream and you had the gall to blame editing, Terri, Project Runway and anyone but YOURSELF, (Funny how you have since deleted all of your tweets regarding this, but you can see all of them here) Ven, check yourself; your ignorance and pompous behavior is showing.

BUT WAIT? I love how Kim, Gunnar’s Client fashioned a nice note, detailing JUST how cruel and unusual your treatment was… so sir, it wasnt Terri and it wasn’t editing. In fact Kim said the editing did you a FAVOR!

Good luck trying to make a great name for yourself after this.


Dear Project Runway,

I have had love for you since season ONE. As the times have changed, social media has evolved, and how vocal consumers are, to sit by and not take a firm stance on bullying, ignorance, or rude behavior only tows the line of  your acceptance for it. You already had one controversial situation many seasons ago in this “Real Women Challenge” before the advent of social media and before situations went viral, why even open the door again, when so many were done with you after that season?

Not only do I have issue with the lack of care here, but THIS challenge was about the client. Yes, the fashion. But even more the CLIENT and her makeover.  Only by default you kept him in the bottom, but as with any other challenge, if they did not fulfill the challenge AND the garment was hideous, then VEN should have been sent packing.

Because of your actions, there are now fans going after your advertisers, a petition has been formed, and well, depending on how you look at it, people are talking…


This situation does have a silver lining though…

How Marie?

Well, I see this as the chance to positively affect change and to show the designers, retailers, and fashion fans that plus size women NEED more designers who understand, recognize, and demand fashionable options. NOT, a way to cash in, but a true desire to create for those of us who want better.

Ven’s actions show us the reasons why I BLOG, why Plus Model Magazine exists, why Vogue Italia’ s Vogue Curvy exists, why Marie Claire’s Big Girl in a Skinny World exist, why Full Figured Fashion Week exists. And sooo many other Blogs, magazines, and resources are becoming readily available.

CHANGE is happening. And Project Runway only showed us WHY and HOW.

I could say so much more but, I’m Done.

Marie Denee
I am the owner of the Curvy Fashionista, sharing the latest trends and designers in plus size fashion, beauty, and accessories to keep you Curvy.Confident.Chic.! I am goofy, silly, playful, and a handful... but it is all in the name of fashion!
Marie Denee
Marie Denee

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  1. says

    Great piece Marie! I missed the original airing of the show but saw your tweets and couldnt wait to see it.Mr.Big & Tall should have seen this as a wonderful opportunity to show the beauty of this gorgeous woman and her curves.If she was such a nightmare at a size 12/14 I’d hate to see how he would’ve reacted to my 18/20 frame.It took everything in me not to throw my shoe at the tv.

  2. Kim St Clair says

    Marie, Thank you so much for your kind words to Terri and to me, Gunnar’s client, Kim. I would love to work with you to continue this campaign since my measurements are also considered Plus Size. Hope to hear from you.

  3. says

    *joining Curvy CEO in her applause* Thank you, as always Marie, for putting into words what so many of us are feeling. Please remind me to give you a hug when I see you in Vegas ;-)

  4. says

    Thank you for this!! My husband and I watched that episode and we were both thoroughly disgusted at how he was acting. Whether the girl was plus size or not, she was his client! In the end, clients is what gets you paid! And what made it worse was that the judges decided to keep him! I was in utter disbelief. We curvy girls have come too far for this mess!

  5. Terri says

    Thank you so much for your kind words and loads of support. I can’t express how much your letter truly lifted my spirits today. I am grateful for receiving such a beautiful letter. <3 Terri

    • says

      Terri! I am sooo sorry you had to endure what you did, BUT I applaud your bravery to stand up after the fact! You could have retreated, but you let it be known who you are and for that I commend you!

  6. Over Dressed for Life says

    Well done, Marie! This guy won’t get far with his spoiled brat attitude. Terri is a beautiful woman and deserves so much better; I hope Project Runway has done something to make up for this outrage. Cheers from Over Dressed for Life.

  7. Tiffany McGuire says

    Thank you so much for bringing this up Marie. My heart BROKE for Terri. BROKE! Any one else would have hooked her up! but noooo…the ever so slim Ven didn’t even try. Her shape was perfect to show SERIOUS talent as a designer (how many designers that we know would have given her pure design…something benefiting the beautiful and hardworking woman that she is).

    I’m so glad you’re bringing this further into light. It’s a very unfortunate thing that a body can’t get a little dressing up because those who are supposed to be talented possess minds smaller than the waists they prefer. I hope Terri feels the support she has and knows that we have her back!


    • says

      OMG you just said the best line ever!
      It’s a very unfortunate thing that a body can’t get a little dressing up because those who are supposed to be talented possess minds smaller than the waists they prefer. Brava!

  8. says

    PREACH honey! It was horribly sad and shocking to see a plus size man discriminating against the very group of women he will be designing for: non-models! I assume he himself has gone through discrimination, being a full-figured man/designer in the very industry that shuns plus size people in general… perhaps he was taking his own issues out on Terri? Regardless of why he said and did what he did, it’s very unfortunate that he will forever be associated with ugliness and sizeism due to his poor actions.

  9. FortyTude says


    I too watched this episode in total disbelief and disgust. In the end, though, I don’t know with who or what I was more upset with, Project Runway overall, or Ven’s ignorance. To feel that the competition was “unfair” because you were “stuck” with a full-figured woman as your client shows just how much he don’t know about REAL design for REAL women. Nevermind the fact that Michael Kors who designs for and sells to full figured beautiful women sits on the panel judging your designs, behavior toward your client and attitude.

  10. says

    I just watched this episode last night and did a blog post on it… i almost had to stop watching cause i was so dang mad at how he treated this beautiful woman. She did absolutely nothing wrong and he treated her like gum on a shoe. Thank God that she has a friend who was willing to take up for her no matter what. I think the part that really pissed me off is after he was almost kicked off, he felt no remorse about the situation.

  11. lesley ann says

    I would like to thank you for this post. I watched that episode and was beyond speechless. I just could not believe Ven’s behaviour, truly disgusting. I read his tweets and was even more upset as I did believe maybe it was all in the editing of the show. I do hope Project Runway fixes this issue and does the right thing. thanks again for the post and your blog.

  12. says

    Wow MD, Just saw the repeat yesterday and I wanted to SCREAM! Well, I was actually screaming at my tv! I was just sitting there, literally smh. What is wrong with people? And what gets me is…HE’S PLUS SIZED! I was at a loss when he wasn’t sent home. I’m just amazed that we’re still being discriminated against when in all actuality, we’re the MAJORITY! Good job with the article. I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Without going to jail that is….) :-)


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