February 21, 2005 -- NOT that Wendy Pep per should care one way or another what I think, but I am praying for her to win it all on "Project Runway."
I crave nothing more than to see the looks on the faces of the two other finalists — sanctimonious Kara Saun, 37, and malicious Jay McCarroll, 29 — when the judges award the 39-year-old mom from Middleburg, Va., the show's grand prize in this Wednesday's two-hour finale (9 p.m. on Bravo).
She richly deserves it. Few reality-show participants have ever been as maligned as she has been over the course of this cutthroat series.
And, as she demonstrated last Wednesday, when she had mud flung at her from all sides during that bitchy reunion special, she can take the heat.
I'm certain her two co-finalists would have run crying to their mommas if they had been the ones under attack. Come to think of it, that's exactly what one of Wendy's more outspoken critics — the atrocious Vanessa Riley — did during the reunion show as soon as tart-tongued Jay aimed his venom at her.
Vanessa, who was the fourth contestant eliminated on the show, got up and ran from the room — not only a loser, but a sore one, just like most of the other nine losers whose design instincts were not sharp enough to get them to the finals.
Getting to the finals is one of the grand prizes on "Project Runway," the fashion-biz reality show spearheaded by supermodel Heidi Klum. For their final competition, the three surviving contestants were each invited to design a collection of 12 pieces and then mount a real fashion show for the industry, the press and the "Project Runway" judges on the opening morning of Fashion Week under the big tent in Bryant Park.
The winner also gets $100,000 in seed money to invest in his or her own business.
The fashion shows, which I was lucky enough to attend, were Feb. 4. Predictably, Jay and Kara were cheered wildly like the crowd favorites they are. Wendy received a more reserved style of polite applause, thanks probably to the way she has been portrayed as a villainess on the show.
It's an unfair portrayal because her alleged transgressions always seemed so slight — such as the time she grabbed a bolt of orange cloth that Kara was thinking of using.
The alleged hijacking took place in a Garment District fabric store, where, as most New Yorkers know, if you snooze, you lose. I'm siding with Wendy on this one — if Kara wanted that bolt so badly, she should have kept her hands on it.
Meanwhile, back at the fashion shows, Wendy stunned all her naysayers by putting on a knockout presentation. When it was over, it was clear she had just as much a chance of winning as Kara, the L.A. costume designer who most "Project Runway" fans are picking to win.
Wednesday's finale is all about the fashion shows and the four months of preparation that went into them. I've seen it (minus the announcement of the winner) and I won't spoil it by revealing anything that happens.
However, I can tell you it is a hell of a TV show.