In 2015, Liris Crosse was one of the models that worked the runway for Ashley Nell Tipton‘s Project Runway finale show. Tipton went on to emerge as the big winner for the season. The designer made strides, not only for being the popular show’s first plus-size winner, but also for becoming the first plus-size designer to ever compete in the American franchise. Two years after Tipton’s momentous win, Liris Crosse is back on Project Runway. But this time, she’s joining the show as one of the models vying for the title.
Plus-Size Model Liris Crosse Join ‘Project Runway’ Season 16
Liris Crosse is hardly a newbie in the modeling industry. She has over 20 years of experience under her belt, including an appearance on The Steve Harvey Show and is an honorary recipient of the Model of the Year Award during the Full Figured Fashion Week 2017. But Crosse’s biggest break in her two-decade-long career has to be her recent appearance in the sixteenth season of the popular talent competition Project Runway.
Crosse’s participation comes at a time when Project Runway is finally shifting gears. For the past seasons, the designers of the show only dressed women above size 6 during special challenges. Week to week they stuck to the basic size 0 to 00 bodies often seen on high-fashion runways. In May, around the time Crosse found out she was named an official cast member, she had no clue if she was going to be the only plus-size woman on the show.
“To know that I booked the job, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m about to make history again doing what I love,’” the 34-year-old model said in an interview. “I love being me, my curves and who I am. I love being a black woman. I love being a plus-size woman. And to walk in there and to see the other models, it just made my soul leap. My heart smile. It was surreal. All these women of all these different sizes and colors and proportions.”
Sure enough, there is a diverse group of women appearing on Project Runway this year. The rules are the same as in the previous seasons, with aspiring designers participating in weekly challenges and one emerging as the winner. The female fashion models happen to be in competition as well. As the number of designers diminishes, so do the models. For the sixteenth season, Project Runway has a special segment called Model Mirror, which is where the models can talk about the designs they’re wearing.
Though Crosse is considered as a veteran in the industry, she sees her experience with Project Runway on a whole different level. For instance, Crosse had been paired with 24-year-old Brandon Kee for the season premiere. Kee admitted on camera that he has never done plus-size before and was clearly a little hesitant about working with Crosse. In the end, both Kee and Crosse managed to steal the show with a loose camouflage crop top paired with a pink high-slit skirt.
The change in gears for Project Runway season 16 is sending out a valuable message for models, designers, and viewers in general—it is possible to make stunning creations for any size. Retailers can see the business potential of plus-size designs as well. If designers truly want to make a profit, then there’s no sense in limiting their creations to a specific size only.