The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 18, 2013

Fashion designer heads for ‘Runway’

JOHNSTOWN — Former Johnstown resident Katelyn Pankoke will be a contestant on the new season of the Emmy-winning television series “Project Runway.”

The reality television series focuses on fashion design with contestants competing against each other to create the best clothes. They are restricted in time, materials and theme, and after their designs are judged, one or more designers are eliminated each week.

Season 11 of “Project Runway” will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday on the Lifetime network with a one-hour special called “Road to the Runway,” which will introduce the new designers.

Pankoke, 23, who now lives in Chicago, graduated from Florida State University and moved to the Windy City, where she started her own bridal line, Elaya Vaughn Bridal.

She has been watching “Project Runway” since its first season and auditioned three times before being selected for this season.

“I always knew I would be on the show,” Pankoke said in a release. “I don’t know how, but I just had a feeling. It was destined. Everything happens for a reason. When I was turned down the first two times, I was a little discouraged, but I’m so glad I was chosen for Season 11.”

Pankoke and Elaya Vaughn Bridal will host a private premiere party at the Wit Hotel in downtown Chicago to celebrate and screen the first episode, “There is No I in Team,” which will air at 9 p.m. Thursday, following the special.

There will be a little bit of Johnstown in the VIP gift bags that will be given out for the event because Pankoke has asked O’Shea’s Candies in Geistown to provide some choice chocolates.

One of Pankoke’s fondest childhood memories is walking to the candy store for dark chocolate peanut butter cups and nonpareils.

Karen Brubaker, owner of O’Shea’s Candies in Geistown, said Pankoke’s childhood favorites will be the candy she includes in the gift bags.

“It’s such an honor to be chosen for this,” Brubaker said “She contacted us. We do hear from customers who came in as a child or remember something their parents or grandparents bought for them. As an adult, she wanted us to be part of her special day. We’re honored to be one of her happy memories.”

Pankoke is the daughter of Johnstown natives Vincent and Mary Pat (Gacka) Pankoke.

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