Who is Shantall Lacayo? 'Project Runway' designer sold shirts for $2 each to pay bills

'Project Runway' Season 19 designer Shantall Lacayo (Image via shantalllacayo/ Instagram)
'Project Runway' Season 19 designer Shantall Lacayo (Image via shantalllacayo/ Instagram)
Sushmita Sen

Project Runway fans can now rejoice as the hit reality show is all set to return with a bang next week. The new season is taking the entertainment quotient up a notch. Like every year, viewers will be treated with magnificent collections and creative designs.

Project Runway has roped in 16 aspiring designers to compete this season. Among them, Shantall Lacayo is the one who is bringing in colorful prints and textures on the runway.

Who is Shantall Lacayo?

Shantall Lacayo is a 37-year-old fashion designer who grew up in Nicaragua. At the age of four, she was taught to sew by her grandmother, and by the time she turned 13, Lacayo started a business at her school of sewing and selling stretch-shirts to her friends for $2. This was her way to help her single mother pay the bills every month.

Although she wanted to pursue fashion, she had to study marketing as her passion didn’t exist in her country. Three years ago, Lacayo and her husband moved to Miami, where she started her fashion business from scratch on social media and expanded it by making jewelry and masks in 2020.

Lacayo might not have as much experience as other designers on Project Runway, but she competed in Project Runway Latin America in Argentina in 2010 and became the first runner-up. She has an advantage.

About Project Runway

Bravo’s Emmy-winning TV reality series is a game show where designers compete to win a spot at New York Fashion Week. The official synopsis of Project Runway reads:

“Aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry in this reality competition. Each week, a designer is eliminated from the competition after exhibiting their work in front of a judges' panel.”

Project Runway Season 19 are Christian Siriano, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, and Elaine Welteroth. The long-running show will also welcome guest judges, including Gigi Hadid, Wisdom Kaye, Andy Cohen, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Wu, Billy Porter, Christopher John Rogers, and Karlie Kloss.

They will decide which designer will take home $250,000 and win this season. Project Runway will premiere on Thursday, October 14 at 9.00 pm (ET) on Bravo.

Edited by Srijan Sen
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