A U.S. Navy spouse and mom of four based in Yokosuka, Japan, and known for her colorful designs and social media presence is one of 16 contestants on the new season of the reality TV show “Project Runway,” premiering this month.
Katie “Happy Color” Kortman is a self-taught fashion designer and seamstress known for her bright colors and bold, mixed patterns. She showcases her designs through social media, including to her almost 35,000 Instagram followers.
“I think me going on the show fulfils my mom’s lifelong dream,” Kortman said in an American Forces Network (AFN) release. “When we found out I was going to be on the show, she was jumping up and down screaming. We had watched the show together for years, and for me to actually go on the show was amazing.”
The show, which pits fashion designers against each other with a grand prize of $250,000, premiers its 19th season on Bravo on Oct. 14. This season’s contestants will be mentored by Christian Siriano and judged by fashion experts Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth.
Kortman didn’t actually apply to be on “Project Runway;” they found her, AFN said in the release. With four years of exclusively wearing her own handmade clothes under her belt, she focused on learning the ropes of design to get ready for the show.
“I didn’t know how to design from scratch, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass. I ordered textbooks, watched YouTube videos and got some private lessons,” she said in the release.
Her husband, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Francisco Kortman, who heads Naval Hospital Yokosuka’s obstetrics and gynecology department, said his shipmates regularly tease him about being an “Instagram husband,” thanks to Kortman’s online following.
Kortman said she hopes competing on “Project Runway” inspires other military spouses.
“I hope that by me being on the show, they’ll see you don’t have to put your dreams on hold just because you move around all the time. There are ways this can happen,” she said in the release. “Part of the reason I got this experience is while moving all the time, I adapted and learned new skills.”
“Project Runway” airs in the U.S. on Bravo at 9 p.m. Oct. 14. The American Forces Network will air the show starting Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. on AFN|prime in Japan, Korea and Central Europe, according to a release. AFN viewing times for other parts of the world can be found on www.myafn.net. U.S. viewers can also stream the program the day after its Bravo broadcast through the Peacock streaming service.
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