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'Project Runway' crowns Anya Ayoung-Chee ninth-season champion


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/28/2011 

Project Runway crowned Anya Ayoung-Chee its ninth-season winner during last night's finale broadcast of the Lifetime reality competition series.

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"What an absolute dream come true. It's a turning point in my life and I will never, ever, ever be able to forget this moment. In one day, I've shown at New York Fashion Week and I won Project Runway. It's kind of too much to deal with all at once. I've gone places with myself that I never knew were there. I'm one giant step closer to creating a brand that is mine and that I love," Anya said.

As the competition's winner, the 29-year-old from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago received the grand prize of an editorial feature in an upcoming issue of Marie Claire magazine, the opportunity to sell their exclusive collection on Piperlime.com, a $50,000 HP and Intel technology suite to help them run a business, and a cash prize of $100,000 to help them start a fashion line.

Anya defeated Joshua McKinley, a 25-year-old from Cleveland, OH who currently resides in New York, NY.

"I came in second and it's a little bit of a shock value. I feel as though I had the stronger collection, but I wouldn't deny that her collection was extremely beautiful -- not sewn very well -- but it's disheartening because I worked extremely hard and it was a very emotional process. I can only pray that my phone starts to ring and it's not just my collectors calling me asking for money," Joshua said after he was revealed to be the runner-up.

Viktor Luna, a 30-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico who currently resides in New York, NY, finished third.

"This has been an experience of a lifetime. I grew so much as a person and as a designer. I'm definitely disappointed because I'm such a competitive person and I really wanted to win. I'm very proud and confident with my garments. I think that they all represent me. If I had won the $100,000, that would have been the cherry on top but ultimately, I got the whole ice cream so it doesn't matter," Viktor said.

Kimberly Goldson, a 35-year-old from Brooklyn, NY who currently resides in White Plains, MD, came in fourth place.

"Thank you so, so much. I'm really honored and humbled by this experience. Thank you," Kimberly told the judges after they announced her elimination. "Like we have been saying all along, we are already winners for having shown at Fashion Week and I truly felt it in that moment."

The second part of Project Runway's ninth-season finale began with the four remaining finalists preparing to present their collections at New York Fashion Week, which was held in September.

The finalists' collections would be judged by regular panel members Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, as well as special guest judge L'wren Scott.

Kimberly went first, and explained her collection was inspired by her mom and support system comprised of friends and family. She was followed by Joshua, who said he dedicated his collection to his mother who had passed away. Viktor's collection was inspired by the trips he had taken to Mexico combined with his love for New York City. Anya went last, and told the audience her collection was inspired by the Caribbean where she is from.

With the runway show in the books, the finalists arrived for the final judging panel. After the judges critiqued the contestants' collections and then deliberated in private, they revealed Anya as the winner of Project Runway's ninth season.

(Photo credit Lifetime)


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