'Project Runway' is finally back and likely to be better than ever. Season 5's cast of characters has been revealed and we've got two contestants from the New York area!
Here's a quick rundown and my thoughts (Click here for bios and photos):
Stella, 42, from Astoria, Queens, New York says the vest is one of her fashion must-haves. Her favorite designers are Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. And while she's not a Long Islander, she's still representing New York to the fullest. I'm rooting for her!
Jennifer, 27, is from East Syracuse, New York and went to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her favorite designers are Moschino, Schiaparelli, and Cynthia Rowley. Watch to see if her fashion idols influence her style during competititons!
Jerell, 28, is from Houston, Texas and counts Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood among his top designers. He's a former model too. Will his model experience help him advance?
Jerry, 32, hails from Butte, Montana and favors black and white combinations in clothing designs. He did stints at Parsons and FIT. I'd love to see him dig up his Montana roots and create something "rustic" and wearable.
Joe, 41, of Troy, Michigan went to the Parsons School of Design and says a basic black t-shirt is a fashion must-have. He's worked at Pelle Pelle, Bugle Boy and Ralph Lauren. Is black the 'new black' again?
Keith, 26, of Salt Lake City, Utah believes in a great fitting pair of jeans. He went to the Salt Lake City Community College -- they teach fashion there? -- and lives by the motto "get noticed or go home."
Kelli, 27, is a Columbus, Ohio native and started her fashion career working in retail at 15. She's just launched Black Market, a new boutique in her hometown to showcase her edgy fashions.
Kenley, 25, was born and raised in Pompano Beach, Florida and is inspired by the likes of Coco Chanel, Betsy Johnson and Edith Head. Her must-have fashion item is a black, high-waisted skinny jean.
Korto, 33, is from Liberia and believes a great bag is a fashion must-have. She injects her African ancestry into her classic looks that are fit for real, full-figured women. Finally, someone looking out for the curvy girls! Right on!
Leanne, 27, hails from Yuta, California and begain a love affair with fashion at the age of 12 when she started making ballet costumes. Her go-to fashion item is a plain white or gray t-shirt.
Suede, 37, comes from Seven Hills, Ohio and says a great hoodie is a must-have fashion piece. He's passionate about various fashion looks, including couture, eveningwear and specialty apparel. With all this passion, he's likely to come up with lots of surprising looks for the judges.
Terri, 39, is a Chicago native and a freelance designer who favors low-waist, bell-cut black pants. She is currently working on her own fashion line. I hope her line shows off her funky sense of style!
Wesley, 23, of Blackstone, Mass. began his fashion aspirations making his own clothing in middle school and boasts a clean and classic aesthetic. This guy reminds me of a walking J.Crew catalog. I'm curious to see what he'll do to wow the judges!
Blayne, 23, is from Yakima, Washington, and attended the Art Institute of Seattle. He worked on an athletic clothing line for Seattle Seahawks' running back Shaun Alexander. Blayne also loves anything neon. I adored neon too ... back in the late 80s!
Daniel, 25, hails from Great Barrington, Massachusetts and is a lover of novelty blazers. He says Charles James and Thierry Mugler are among his favorite designers. I would love to see him design a reconstructed blazer with some interesting embroidery on the back.
Emily, 27, comes from Sacramento, California and attended the Otis College of Art & Design. Her fashion must-have is a pair of great jeans and she says her biggest inspiration comes from her friends and family. I hope she doesn't get homesick!
Stay tuned to Newsday's 'Project Runway' blog as we follow the long-awaited season premiere on Wednesday, July 16th and every episode leading up to the grand finale!
Photo: Model Heidi Klum (Photo by Getty Images)