Wendy Pepper Dies; Former Project Runway Contestant Was 53
Wendy Pepper, a memorable contestant who competed on the very first season of Project Runway, has passed away.
She was 53 years old.
According to The Washington Post, the reality star – whose real name was Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart – died peacefully on Sunday surrounded by her family members and loved ones.
The cause of her death was not revealed in the newspaper’s obituary.
But here is what a portion of the memorial article said:
A finalist on season one of Project Runway, Wendy designed and hand-sewed exceptionally beautiful clothes for children and adults.
She was a chef, a writer, and a life-long entrepreneur.
Her wit and humor were unmatched, as was her generosity of spirit.
Wendy is survived by her parents, Anne Livingston Emmet of Washington and Charles Willing Pepper of Palm Beach, FL; her loving daughter, Finley M. Stewart, of Middleburg, VA; her brothers Wing Pepper, Stacy Lloyd and Thomas Lloyd; her sister, Edith Pepper Goltra; and many adoring nieces and nephews.
Pepper advanced to the finals at Fashion Week and ultimately came in third on the opening Project Runway season.
While on the program, she won numerous challenges, including the change to have one of her designs sold at Banana Republic and the opportunity to design Nancy O’Dell’s Grammy dress.
She was a fan favorite for sure.
Along with the inaugural run of Project Runway, Pepper also made an appearance during the second season of Project Runway All Stars, which aired in 2012 and 2013.
Moreover, she appeared on a pair of other Bravo reality shows: Celebrity Poker Showdown and Battle of the Network Reality Stars.
The late chef and designer was born in Dayton, Ohio.
She graduated from Potomac School, the Madeira School, and the University of Washington.
Said Pepper in a Project Runway All Star video many years ago:
“I realized I was a designer when I was living in Nepal.
“Dyeing some yarn, I suddenly turned to these people that I was living with and I started to drape the yarn. Oh my gosh, this is so much fun, I am creating this whole sort of experience with these women.
For me, fashion is communication…That’s when I knew this was my life’s work.”
She also said Project Runway taught her that “if you really want to succeed, you’ve gotta be willing to throw yourself into the arena.”
Pepper will be laid to rest at a Georgetown church on December 1.
May she rest in peace.