TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) - A New Mexico fashion designer has moved into the national spotlight.
Patricia Michaels will be on the upcoming season of Project Runway.
The 46-year-old designer from Taos Pueblo is most at home at her studio in Taos where she hand paints all of her fabrics.
"I just know that at a very young age that I wanted to do this…and I already started making garments in 2nd grade," Michaels said.
Decades later, her childhood passion has landed her on the national stage.
Michaels is a contestant on the upcoming season of Project Runway which airs on Lifetime.
"You only have a certain amount of time, you are limited on the materials that you can use and tools cause its not your own studio," Michaels said.
Not only did she make the cut, but Michaels is the first Native American to land a spot on the hit New York City-based show.
She says at times she felt a lot of pressure because of that and wanted to make sure she represented her heritage with grace.
"I'm human, so forgive me if I did anything that was you know…sometimes as an artist you have a temper you know and sometimes I just would cry," Michaels said.
She says the design challenges were excruciating, each one pushing her to her limit.
Michaels says her background was hard for some of the other contestants to understand, especially when she spoke in Tewa or prayed with her feather.
"Sometimes they thought I was doing voodoo," Michaels said.
She's not allowed to say how far she got in the competition but said the experience and exposure have been well worth the journey.
The winner gets a $100,000, the chance to design a fashion line for a well-known store and a spread in a fashion mag.
While most designers try out for the show on their own, the show's casting agency actually asked Michaels to audition.
The 11th season premieres this Thursday on Lifetime.
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