📷 Left to right: Model Bria Bryant, designer Renee Hill (m) and Elena Brennan celebrate at Brennan’s shop Bus Stop Boutique. Credit: Monica Peters
Black Girl Magic: Philadelphia’s own Renee Hill got into fashion at the age of 47. Now at the age of 52, the designer’s talents are broadcast for the world to see on Bravo’s Project Runway.
By Monica Peters
Meet designer Renee Hill. A Philadelphian making a national splash as a current contestant on Season 17 of Bravo’s Project Runway.However, Renee was a success story long before making her debut on the critically acclaimed show.
After ending a 20-year marriage and raising nine children (four of her own and five of her ex-husband’s children), Hill pursued her passion for fashion in her late forties.Five years later at the age of 52, her designs are broadcast for the world to see Thursday evenings on Bravo. She is also the founder of the Philadelphia-based Harx4 clothing company which offers her own custom men and women’s wear collections.
Hill talks about to The SUN about being a contestant on Project Runway and persevering to pursuing your dreams.
SUN: How is it adjusting to being on a national platform while you are still in mommy mode?
RH: I’m definitely in mommy mode [Hill’s youngest is 15-years-old]. It’s challenging, but I try to find a balance with my whole life and my fashion business. That’s so important. You don’t want to have something fall short, especially my children. Some nights I have to work late, some nights I don’t. But my husband really assists me to have that lifestyle balance.
SUN: Tell us about the road to Project Runway?
RH: They posted they were looking for designers for the new season. A friend of mine tagged me in the Instagram post. They emailed me and I thought about it. We were going back and forth. I was like this is a no-brainer. This is an amazing platform that can take my business to the next level. The decision process was very quick and simple.
SUN: You are 52-years-old. You officially got into the fashion business 5 years ago at the age of 47. What would you say to persons that feel they can’t pursue their dreams later in life because of circumstances such as marriage, divorce or parenting?
RH: Everything that you do has to have passion behind it– because there is so much work that goes into it. You have to have passion and work ethic. Sometimes I don’t want to get up. Sometimes I want to take days off. But the passion that I have for this business and fashion design, it gets me up and gets me moving. It kicks that work ethic in and keeps me focused. Passion is so important because there are some many times you want to quit. Failures are coming. You’re going to hit walls. People are going to close doors. The opportunities make take years to come. If you can take your passion and patiently persevere, you’ll be fine.
SUN: As a Project Runway contestant, how does it feel to be in a situation where you are competing? Is it nerve wrecking?
RH: It can be intimidating because you among some amazing designers. But you don’t really think about it once you’re in it. You’re like, “I’m here to win. I’m in competition mode.” You are not focused on anybody else.
SUN: In television, after networks complete editing, aired episodes are often different from what happens. Did the aired episodes thus far turn out the way you thought it would?
RH: Yes! Bravo is amazing. They did an excellent job!
Project Runway airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on Bravo. To learn more about Renee Hill go to Instagram.com/iamthereneehill or harx4.com