Twin power reaches TV reality ... again

By Mike Hughes

Two years after
winning a summertime cable competition, some designing twins are at it

This time, Claire
and Shawn Buitendorp, 27, are jumping to the top -- “Project
Runway,” a leader in ratings and in longevity. And this time,
they're not a team; they compete with each other.

On Aug. 17, “Runway”
starts its 16th season (plus five all-star editions) and
its first to deal with sizes from 0 to 22. The 16 contestants work
alongside top names, including hosts (Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn), judges
(Nina Garcia, Zac Posner) and guests (Katie Holmes, Demi Lovato, Kate
Upton, Olivia Munn, Maggie Q, Yolanda Hadid, Kelsea Ballerini and

The twins are used
to that. They grew up (in Grand Ledge, Mich,) far from show business, but their father, Geoffrey, has been a stage manager for
rockers, presidents and corporations. The first person to wear one
of their dresses was Katie Perry – 25 times, in concerts. They've
designed for musician Lindsey Stirling, two “American Idol”
finalists and for their own fashion spread in Teen Vogue.

After graduating
from Grand Ledge High (2008), Lansing Community College and the
University of Michigan, they set up their brand, at
They also competed in “Twinning,” a 2015 VH1 show that separated
twins, then tested their intuition and knowledge of each other.

They won and hoped
to be hosts of a second season ... except there wasn't one. Instead,
a bit later, “Runway” beckoned.

The Buitendorps –
who split their time between Grand Ledge and New York anyway –
quietly slipped off to film the season. They couldn't tell people
they were on the show until the Lifetime cable channel made the
announcment; now they're waiting for permission to give spoiler-free

The contestants are
widely scattered, including ones from Taiwan and Puerto Rico and two
each from New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta ... and Grand Ledge.

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