Martinsburg Marine veteran takes the walk on 'Project Runway All Stars'
Lifetime show features 'All Stars and Stripes' episode
Jessica Lord of Martinsburg, W.Va., was chosen to be a model for Lifetime's "Project Runway All Stars" for an episode titled "All Stars and Stripes," which saluted female veterans. Lord served as a Marine from 2006 to 2011. (Photo courtesy of Lifetime / January 6, 2013)
But it is because of her service with the Marine Corps that Lord was selected to be part of Lifetime’s “Project Runway All Stars” as part of the show’s “All Stars and Stripes” episode on Jan. 3.
That deserves a Marine “ooh-rah!”
The episode selected four female veterans to have outfits created for them by the final four all-stars — Uli Herzner, Joshua McKinley, Anthony Ryan Auld and Emilio Sosa — as part of the Real Women Challenge.
Lord, 26, served with the Marines from 2006 to 2011. A corporal in the military police, she served one tour in Afghanistan in 2009.
Joining Lord on the runway were Army Capt. Leslie Smith, who is an amputee; Officer Donna Barrios, an Air Force communications specialist; and Petty Officer 1st Class Lisa Dalhouse, a Navy reservist and jet engine mechanic.
Lord said she got her glittery gig after she received a Facebook message from a friend with whom who she had been deployed in the Marines. She said his cousin is an associate producer with the show and told him they were looking for a female Marine veteran. Her friend encouraged her to be part of the show, and she agreed.
“I ended up going a week later to New York City to film,” she said during a telephone interview from home.
However, Lord wasn’t sure what she was getting herself into because she had never watched the show.
“I had never watched it before in my life,” she said. “But I knew of it and I knew it was a really popular show.”
Hosted by model Carolyn Murphy, whose father was a sergeant in the Air Force, “Project Runway All Stars” is a spinoff of Heidi Klum’s “Project Runway.”
Although Lord said it was a great opportunity for her, since the show wined and dined the contestants, it was also a little scary. She said she has post-traumatic stress disorder, which means her anxiety is sometimes heightened when she’s put outside her comfort zone. Lord said being in a place like crowded New York City made her a little anxious, but said the crew and fellow guest models put her at ease.
“They were so nice. It was awesome,” Lord said. “The other veterans were really nice, too. They were the most awesome women I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
She said Smith, who lost her leg due to an infection that she received in Bosnia, especially inspired her.
“She was an inspiration,” Lord said.
For the challenge, Lord, who is the mother of children ages 2 and 4, was paired with designer Herzner.
Lord said she had a hard time at first trying to tell Herzner what she wanted.
“It was kind of weird because she knows so much about fashion,” Lord said.
But in a few hours, Herzner whipped up a full-length black and white animal-striped dress with a high-low hem made of flowy material. The strappy halter top plunged with a flattering “V” that was decorated with little sparkly embellishments to show off Lord’s shape. And the nearly bare back of the dress showed off Lord’s large cross tattoo between her shoulders.