South returns to 'Runway' cast
To say life has changed a lot for local designer Andy South since his third place finish on Lifetime Television's "Project Runway" in 2010 would be a gross understatement.
First, she is now Ariyaphon Southiphong — Ari South, for short — after beginning the transition to life as a woman in 2011. After the show aired, she opened the Andy South Atelier in Chinatown and her clothing line got picked up by Neiman Marcus.
While the majority of her designs are geared toward her ready-to-wear customers, you can also spot South's creations on local beauty pageant contestants who often search her out for handmade dresses that combine classic beauty with modern sophistication.
But South's true fans already know all this, as she has been forthcoming with her journey every step of the way via social media and press interviews. Those tuning in for the first time when "Project Runway All Stars" returns in October may be in for a surprise.
South herself was surprised to find out she was invited back for another round of competition.
"I was invited in April," said South, who turns 27 on Sept. 9. "It was strange because I was in the car talking to Andy Bumatai about hoping to get asked to do 'All Stars' and that's when they called!
"You really do attract the things you want if you send it out with intent."
The third season of "Project Runway All Stars" premieres Oct. 24 and will feature 11 designers.
Along with South, they are:
» Daniel Esquivel (season 11, fourth place)
» Melissa Fleis (season 10, third place)
» Seth Aaron Henderson (season seven winner)
» Mychael Knight (season three, fourth place)
» Viktor Luna (season nine, third place)
» Korto Momolu (season five, runner-up)
» Christopher Palu (season 10, fourth place)
» Jeffery Sebella (season three winner)
» Elena Slivnyak (season 10, sixth place)
» Irina Shabayeva (season six winner)
Judges for the upcoming season are Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman, with Zanna Roberts Rassi serving as a mentor to the designers. Alyssa Milano will host.
In addition to Mizrahi and Chapman, celebrity guest judges scheduled to participate include Kristin Chenoweth, Elisabeth Moss, Nick Cannon, Bar Refaeli. "Project Runway" judges Nina Garcia and Zac Posen, along with previous show winners Christian Siriano (season four), Anya Ayoung-Chee (season two), Mondo Guerra ('All Stars' season one) and Anthony Ryan Auld ('All Stars' season two) will also return this season.
South said she is ready to get back in front of the cameras.
"I am feeling so strong going back (after) having a few years to build my brand," she said. "That has been my goal from the start of the business soon after season eight, and I have not slowed down at all.
"I am both excited and nervous, but most of all, I am confident. This time, for keeps."
According to show's website, this season's winner will win the "largest prize package in 'Runway' history," including a feature in Marie Claire magazine as well as a job as contributing editor for a year, computer equipment from HP and Intel, a year's supply of resource Natural Spring Water and a trip for two to Southeast Asia (courtesy the company), hair styling and photography services from Alterna Haircare, beauty products from Mary Kay and a custom sewing studio from Brother Sewing and Embroidery — plus $150,000 to launch the winning designer's new line.
Viewers will also be able to vote for a "fan favorite" designer by visiting their designated profile online; click here to visit South's page. Social media users are also asked to include the hashtag #DesignerAri when mentioning South's appearance on the show.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.