You can catch a Twin Cities designer in the new series of Project Runway

The 36-year-old makes her national TV debut next month.
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A designer from Minneapolis will showcase her talents on national television as she competes in the 16th season of Lifetime series Project Runway.

Samantha Rei, 36, will be looking to impress host Heidi Klum and judges on the TV competition with her creations that follow a 17-year career in the design business.

According to her website, Rei started with her label "Blasphemina's Closet" in 2000 before closing it 13 years later and launching her eponymous label "Samantha Rei," which she says "embodies the sweetness and femininity that has come to be expected from the designer."

She draws inspiration from illustrators, as well as stories like Alice in Wonderland and Snow White. She cites Alexander McQueen as her fashion history, and Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano among her other influences.

You can see some of her past work here.

The Star Tribune reports that she will become the sixth Minnesota designer to appear on the show, with Rei known in the Twin Cities community as a veteran of the cosplay and steampunk scenes.

Rei confident of success

In an interview with Lifetime, Rei said she didn't really get into sewing for real until she "kicked everyone's butts at home economics in middle school," and after being taught by her mother and herself, she did a two-year course at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

She said she almost didn't apply for the show again, saying she'd auditioned a few times in the past and "just wasn't feeling like I should try again," before one of her friends "badgered me into it."

She lists her strengths as a designer as her speed, as well as her versatility when it comes to designing for different sizes, having fluctuated herself between sizes 8 and 20 over the years.

She's also confident in her abilities and about her chances of winning, saying: "I’m a winner by nature. It’s what I do. I work hard, build others up along the way and still win. I may take a meandering path, but I can’t in good faith succeed without helping others along the way."

She will feature in the season 16 premiere, airing Aug. 17 on Lifetime.

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