So I was walking down Pine Street this morning, on my way to catch the train to Portland, and off in the distance I see an orange face peeking out of a white hoodie, crossing the street between Chapel and Bauhaus.
I know sightings of Blayne from Project Runway are a dime a dozen in Seattle these days, but I this was my first. I walked faster.
I caught up with him at Pike and Boren and said, "Sorry you got kicked off."
He smiled, thanked me, and we started chit-chatting. I asked him who wins. He wouldn't say. I asked him if Kenley is as awful in real life as she seems on the show. He said she's actually very sweet and nice, and blamed the editing for the hatred everyone I know currently feels toward her. I asked what he's up to next. Working on a men's collection, maybe moving to L.A., but still working at that cafe in West Seattle in the meantime.
He was wearing fire-red sneakers, designer jeans, and a deep-diving gray v-neck under his white hoodie—which, of course, he was wearing with the hood up.
I asked Blayne where he tans in Seattle. He told me but I immediately forgot. Sorry, admiring tanorexics. He was seriously tan, though, and quite proud of it. He unzipped his hoodie, pulled at his v-neck, and showed me how dark his chest was. It was, I would say, burnt orange.
We were approaching 5th Anenue at this point, and I had to turn left. He was in the middle of telling me about the grief he gets from people who think he's promoting cancerous behavior, and how he uses a tanning "cocktail"—something about lying under non-cancerous bulbs plus a full body spray afterward, a combination that is, if I heard right, both deeply satisfying and less carcinogenic. But I don't know if I heard right. It was all very quick.
Someone shouted across the street, a garbled kind of shout that might have been his name, and we both turned our heads. It was not someone shouting his name. It was just some people fighting with each other.
Not a licious word passed between us, Blayne haters. It was all very pleasant. We shook hands, and then we walked in different directions.
He was headed to pick up his car. I wondered—based on the sleep in his eyes, the coffee in his right hand, and the fact that he was early-morning walking to get to some far-away place where he'd left his car last night—whether I had just had the distinct honor of sharing with this Project Runway also-ran a few moments of a walk of shame.