Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Project Lesbian: Ever Wonder What Gets Edited out of Reality Shows? in the Case of Project Runways Second Season-Now on DVD-It Was the Fact That Designer Zulema Griffin Has a Longtime Female Partner

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Project Lesbian: Ever Wonder What Gets Edited out of Reality Shows? in the Case of Project Runways Second Season-Now on DVD-It Was the Fact That Designer Zulema Griffin Has a Longtime Female Partner

Article excerpt

There was plenty of gay male drama in the second season of Bravo's Project Runway, which comes out on DVD June 27, but all references to contestant Zulema Griffin's lesbianism got left on the cutting-room floor. As she prepares to show her debut collection at New York Fashion Week in September, former Ford model Griffin--who made it to episode 8 before getting the double kiss-off from host Heidi Klum--also volunteers for nonprofits such as Living Beyond Belief, which raises HIV/AIDS awareness through high school peer-to-peer education. So was Griffin really an abrasive, model-stealing bitch or just another innocent victim of creative editing? You be the judge.

When did you disclose your sexuality to Project Runway producers?

Immediately, because I had no choice. They do a background check and get all into your business. Literally, they want your dates from the past 10 years. So it's not something I could hide.

Once the cameras began rolling, were you actively vocal about being gay?

Being gay is like being black--I don't go around campaigning about it, but it was pretty obvious. I barely spoke on the show, but I told everyone I was gay. Also, the only person I ever called was my wife [Sherie, of 3 1/2 years]. But I didn't have any agenda; I just wanted to make great clothes. I'm a multilayered individual, but the show's not about being gay--it's about fashion design.

Why did the producers focus on the guys' sexuality while ignoring yours?

I have no idea. Probably because if you're trying to create a villain, you can't give them endearing traits. But first and foremost, no one campaigned their gayness. Nick [Verreos] wasn't vocal about it at all. It's something I would make reference to because we're both in long-term relationships, but every time I'd mention his boyfriend, he would tell me to hush. …

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