A new season of Project Runway started recently, and though the biggest surprise was billed as the new “team” concept for this season, the real surprise was the cast. Or one cast member, in particular. Stanley Hudson debuted his artistic touch along with his fellow contestants last week. Does that name sound familiar? It should- that’s the same Stanley Hudson that you’ve enjoyed watching on the primetime documentary series “The Office” since 2005. Stanley has traded in paper sales for primping models for the runway.
How did this happen? It all started with an office contest in late 2008, where the staff attempted to win a group weight loss contest. Stanley took the contest to heart, and worked through the past several years to shed pounds, while putting himself through design school at night. “It was very important to me to get healthier, and to find something I was really passionate about,” Hudson remarked. “I knew the television series would come to an end at some point, and then we’d just be a bunch of people working in a mediocre office in Pennsylvania again. I didn’t want to go back to that life. I knew I had to do something better for myself, so I started going to fashion school at night. It was something I’d always wanted to do. The producers of the documentary were not keen on my weight loss because I wasn’t part of their focus, so they asked me to wear prosthetics until the taping ended.” Hudson joins the ranks of many actors who have gained weight, or disguised their real size, for the purposes of a role, including Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor, George Clooney in Syriana, Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’ Diary, and Charlize Theron in Monster.
As the taping for the final season of The Office wrapped, Hudson moved to West Hollywood to pursue his design dreams. When an opportunity to audition for Project Runway presented itself, he jumped at the chance. “I’m so used to being in front of the camera after so many years with that crew working in my office, I figured I’d be a great fit,” Hudson told us.
The producers seemed to agree. “Stanley is a great addition to this season’s cast,” remarked J.J. Scheff, a producer for this season of Project Runway. “Sometimes our designers struggle with their interactions with the camera crew and things like one on one recaps and confessionals- Stanley has been doing those for years with the documentary crew at his office, so he was right at home on our set.”
Will any of Hudson’s former colleagues from his Dunder Mifflin days be appearing on Project Runway? Hudson is doubtful. “I enjoyed working with some of them, but I’m glad to get out of that atmosphere. It was always about Jim, Pam, Dwight, and few others, regardless of how hard anyone worked. Maybe Michael will be over for lunch when Tim comes by to check out my collection for fashion week when I make it to the final two- time will tell” he quipped.
We wish Hudson the best, and hope he can “make it work” on Project Runway!