Inside the Project Runway Mary Kay Challenge Episode “There’s No I in Team”

10-14-2016 12:28 PM

You’ve probably heard how Mary Kay is the official beauty sponsor of Project Runway® Season 15.  We think it is a great way to showcase our fantastic Mary Kay products, in a very organic way, on each and every episode.  Our Mary Kay Global Beauty Ambassador, Luis Casco, is the lead makeup artist for the show, and he does an amazing job every week working with the designers to choose the perfect Mary Kay look to complete the outfits they have created. (Thanks, Luis!)  It has allowed us to highlight our products to consumers who may not have tried the brand yet, and hopefully, it brings new customers to our Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants. During this Thursday's episode, we also debuted our new TV commercial featuring Mary Kay success stories from real women across the country.

This week was the Mary Kay Challenge AND the first team challenge of the season.  If you watch reality TV, you know that most of the time it’s the “drama” that keeps people watching.  For some reason, people seem to like to see conflict and then talk about it in social media.  It’s what everyone expects.  But this week, something very different happened. 

The designers were presented with a challenge to work together in teams to create a mini-collection. Luis Casco and Tim Gunn told them about how Mary Kay is rooted in entrepreneurship, and that to be successful as designers, they would have to have entrepreneurial skills, in addition to design skills. They would pitch their concepts to “investors” who would fund the teams to create their collections.  Members of the winning team would each receive $5,000 to help them get their design businesses off the ground, which is, (not so) coincidentally, the same amount Mary Kay Ash used to start Mary Kay Inc. in 1963.  Team Unity and Team Button Bag prepared their pitches and were awarded money to head off to Mood to buy their fabric.

Unlike what everyone watching was prepared for, the teams were cohesive and supportive of each other.  They played upon each other’s strengths to create the best collections they could, helping each other complete each of the looks.  They cheered each other on and created a team dynamic not often seen on reality TV. 

Both collections were great, but of course, they had to choose a winner.  When the winning team was announced, it was clear they were all so excited for each other, and they celebrated as a group.  When they were asked who should become the individual winner of the challenge, each one lauded the great work of someone else, and they all seemed extremely genuine in their admiration of their teammate’s accomplishments.

For the losing team, someone was destined to go home.  Normally, when the judges ask each team member who should be eliminated, it can be a frenzy of finger pointing and name calling and downright ugliness.  This week, however, we saw the spirit of true teamwork, and everyone stood up and took accountability, instead of placing blame.  Almost all of them tearfully offered up themselves to go home, because they couldn’t bear to recommend a team member be the one to leave.  Watching the reaction to this episode on social media was truly inspiring! First, I was relieved to learn that I wasn’t the only one crying!  (As one person even tweeted, “Who expected the most emotional moment on TV this week would be on Project Runway?”) After that, I was moved to learn that the maybe-somewhat-hardened reality TV watchers really do like “nice” (at least once in a while!) 

I won’t spoil the ending for those who have it recorded for later, but I can’t help but think that Mary Kay was sprinkling down some “Go Give Spirit” on the contestants in the Mary Kay Challenge, and the audience (and Tim Gunn) clearly loved it.  It made me grateful to work in a company where we practice the Go Give Spirit as a rule, and not the exception. 

I would love to hear what you thought after watching the show.  Would you have used the “Tim Gunn save?”

Today’s blog post comes from Kim Sater, Director of Consumer Marketing for Mary Kay.  Kim is passionate about working with the Mary Kay independent sales force to help them market the brand to their customers. She and her team work on strategies that create fresh content and generate buzz for Mary Kay.