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'Project Runway' crowns Michelle Lesniak Franklin its eleventh-season winner

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/26/2013 

Project Runway crowned Michelle Lesniak Franklin its eleventh-season winner during Thursday night's finale broadcast of the Lifetime fashion design competition.

"Oh my God! Thank you [judge Heidi Klum]. My knees are knocking. I did the kill, I survived!" Michelle, a 34-year-old from Portland, OR, said after her victory was announced.  

"Are you surprised?" Heidi asked her.

"I felt I could do it from Day 1 and I thought my collection was the best, but every designer should think that their collection is the best," Michelle replied.

"Well that's what we always loved about you. You always stood behind your work," Heidi noted.

"I've worked hard before. I've worked really, really hard for other people, but I've never worked hard for myself and I've never worked hard for my vision. And it's a totally different experience," Michelle explained. "If I can get through all of these challenges and the most emotionally and physically demanding runway of my life, I really can do anything that I set my mind to. I mean, I can really tackle every mountain that lies ahead of me."

The winning eleventh-season designer walked away with the same prize package offered in Season 10 -- $100,000 from L'Oreal Paris to start his or her own line, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a brand new Lexus vehicle, a $50,000 technology suite from HP and Intel to create his or her own vision and run a business, and the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor.

Michelle's model, Lisa Jackson, will also appear in a Marie Claire editorial feature and receive a $25,000 cash prize.

Michelle defeated fellow designer Patricia Michaels, a 46-year-old from Taos, NM, who finished the competition in second place.

Stanley Hudson, a 45-year-old from Pomona, CA, who currently resides in West Hollywood, CA, came in third place. 

Michelle was determined the winner of Project Runway by the show's judges Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen, as well as the finale's guest judge Michael Kors.

(Photo credit Lifetime)

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