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Project Runway Australia – Petrova needs to get down and kiss Helen Manuells butt in gratitude.

Last nights episode on the fabulously entertaining Project Runway Australia was riveting as the designers had to work with the already eliminated designers as their muses to designer a winter outfit that was white, structured and tailored. The big carrot however was the eliminated designer in the winning team would be allowed back into the competition.

The much maligned Helen Manuell (yes I know she has her painful moments) had to take her partner Petrova to task as she was trying to take over the design by pointing out she was the designer still in the competition and Petrova was to assist her. She quite rightly pointed out she was the designer still in the competition so if she was going to be eliminated it would be her mistake that would do it. Also Petrova got into a funk when Helen unpicked her sewing and redid it. She was right and it was something Julie have heeded to by trying to satisfy the many whims of her partner Deb which almost saw her eliminated.

Anyway Helen designed a funky suit which matched the brief perfectly and Petrova is now back in the competition. I hope she gave Helen a big thank you.

This week TV Week had an interview with Helen Manuell which queried whether she was the new queen of mean taking over from Omarosa from The Apprentice. However Helen strikes back.

She states that she was presented as a diva. “Rightly or wrongly, I don’t know, but at the end of the day, if the others can’t do their stuff… well, of course they’ve got to blame someone. They’ve blamed me and I have to be honest – I’m getting a little sick of it.”

On the suggestion she acted like a martyr by helping people finish their pieces she responded “I choose to help people. They can see me however they want. Maybe it’s their shortcomings that make them see me as a martyr, but I didn’t see myself as one. It’s pretty black and white – if I want to help, I will.”

Her response to why she rubs people the wrong way. “I’m larger then life and I say it how it is. If people don’t like it, well, go and crawl back into bed. I’ve had a lot of diversity in my life, and if I don’t trust my instincts at my age, I may as well not be there. Everyone else is stressing and I don’t stress. If they see that as my shortcoming, good luck to them.”

She was asked how she felt when people on the show saying they could not stand her. “I was surprised that there was that level of… that people didn’t actually like me. And you think, “How much can you help people? Why not like people just because they’re good at their job?” I did my job, I did what I was there for.”

On the most hurtful things that were said on the show – “I know Leigh said quite a few things, and so did Juli and Brent, but they warned me things had been said. Leigh’s “beached whale” comment in the second episode – he was mortified he said it. He told me it was tongue in cheek and I said, “It’s OK love – if you didn’t say it, I would be the first one to say it.”

On the accusations she was a name dropper in the Brownlow Medal challenge – ” It’s all in the editing. I knew when I started doing the show I would be portrayed as the arrogant bitch, but it’s a TV show and I was cast as a character. [The producers] knew my skin would be thick enough to cope with whatever dirt was thrown at me.

Helen is glad she did the show and would do it again but would go harder. “Go hard or go home! I’d be really catty. KNowing what I know now, I would give them so much more.”

She will be at the finale and she is looking forward to it. “It’ll be interesting. There’ll be a few people who are a little sheepish. The fur will fly at the finale.”

Villain or victim you decide.


1 Anonymous { 08.13.08 at 5:51 pm }

I say GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HELENNNNNNNNNNNNNN. I think in their desperate push to have a “villian” Helen has been unfairly portrayed. Sure, I agree she’s been her own worst enemy at times (forgetting the old maxim to think before one speaks, but hey we’ve all been guilty of that) but she is clearly competent and focussed.

I also appreciate her somewhat clinical approach to the show. Unlike the tortured artists that some of the cast seem to be, she is a realist and quite openly says she’s there for the money – SO BLOODY WHAT? I just can’t understand why that’s a crime AND I just don’t believe the others are there for any other reason. Whether the money comes because of the exposure the show gives you or more directly from the producers, it’s all the same…

I can’t help thinking that some of the others are simply jealous of the fact that she’s successful and probably would continue to be so whether or not she’s on the show. She clearly understands what is commercial and will sell (despite her own somewhat dubious fashion choices at times) and I agree that the suit she knocked up was fab.

I’m all for having the reality show baddy, but to try and compare Helen Manual to Omerosa is hilarious and shows a stunning ignorance of both shows. Omerosa is a woman who is prepared to “trash talk” a competitor about whether that person’s kids love or even like them in a “win at all costs approach”. Helen’s a touch arrogant but has gone out of her way on several occasions to save the asses of her competitors AND I totally agreed with her hissy fit over Oren pinching her pattern (there’s just no way it was anything other than stealing…)

So there.

2 Anonymous { 08.20.08 at 8:04 am }

These shows are all about the editing and who the producers think will make good story lines–I knew a girl who was on the real world miami and because she did not have alot of drama in her life she almost disappeared from show. Yeah, Helen has a personality that can rub people the wrong way, but she was easy to set up as the “mean witch”: she is older, over weight, and dresses in black mostly…DING DING DING! Can’t help feel that the Oz version just wanted a copy of Wendy Pepper from the U.S. season #1! Further, she is confident in herself (though the “I’ve never dressed you before” comment shows her desire to show herself in a more favorable light to the others), so much so that she actually took advantage of criticism, unlike the others who through down the runway what they wanted. But unlike Wendy, Helen was never passive aggressive but rather assertive, and all business women know that assertiveness automatically gives you the appellation of “bitch”. Though her designs were not outrageous, but rather conservative they were still well constructed because she had the foresight not to bite off more than she could chew. But in this show you loose no matter what: You mind your constraints and you aren’t daring enought; you seek to execute vision and you are too ambitious. In any case, Helen does make frocks that the majority of women want to wear, not what stage performers who want to look like hoochies necessarily want (and Helen gave that singer exactly what she wanted, a slutty outfit; there is nothing classy about hot pants and having your breasts tucked in so tight to make sure they don’t escape!) I say, Brava! Helen for being you.

3 EMILY { 08.20.08 at 6:32 pm }

I think petrova should win shes so cute and she has the best fashion! i would be proud for her to represent aus!

4 Anonymous { 08.20.08 at 8:06 pm }

anon no. 1 – read oren’s side of it. i wasn’t sure what to make of the incident, and thought maybe helen had a point. but a block is NOT a pattern, and blocks were among the tools they were allowed to bring in with them. in the swimwear challenge, apparently petrova was the only one with the appropriate block, so they all used it. then they agreed they’d all share blocks from now on. oren simply assumed he had permission and helen made too big a deal about it and was quite cruel in her accusation.

i’m sure helen is decent in many ways, but she did seem on the show to have a chip on her shoulder, and be patronising and domineering. this interview does nothing to dispel that. she’s not someone i’d really like to know, frankly.

5 Reality Raver { 08.22.08 at 1:33 pm }

I was bitterly disappointed that Helen was eliminated this week. But to be fair the final six were all pretty strong, except for Brent but he is managing to pull out some good designs at the crucial time of the competition.

I agree with Helen “who is Kelly Rowland” – yes I know she was in Destiny’s Child – just as well Helen did not mix her up with Beyonce. Also did not realise Kelly was such a gay icon (all that screaming from Leigh ) but then I think he is a celebrity fan..

Anon 2 – I agree the show is all about editing and they are all being cast as characters. At least she was interesting. I find Petrova quite bitchy as well. Of course Leigh is as well, but I quite like him.

Unfortunately I missed Project Runway first series I should look it up on You Tube.

6 Anonymous { 08.27.08 at 7:05 pm }

Helen if your out there and yuo get to raed this, You are a STAR!!! well done, and what an inspiration you are. To never be trained in this aprticulr feild and to create such beauty is truly a gift. You are a sucessfull designer as you are a beautifll woman. Well done! and you did it all whilst managing a home, raising a lovley child, and running a buisness! ahts of to you Helen. One word “Class” and you have it in Aces!!

7 Reality Raver { 08.27.08 at 10:00 pm }

The show did lose some of its entertainment factor without Helen in it this week..

8 Project Runway Interview With Runner Up Petrova Hammond | reality ravings { 01.27.09 at 1:29 pm }

[…] Petrova Hammond was one of the runners up on last year’s Project Runway Australia. She was particularly lucky, as she had been eliminated from the competition but was given a second chance when she won her place back when she teamed up in a challenge with the much maligned Helen Manuell. See  my post Petrova Needs To Get Down And Kiss Helen Manuells Butt In Gratitude. […]