Monday, April 29, 2013

Age is Just a Number

I had discussed with some of my fellow "Project Runway" aficionados my assertion that I thought this season had the oldest crop of finalists, since there were no twentysomethings.  I know the twentysomething doesn't always win, but there is usually at least one. 
Well, thanks to the folks keeping this Wikipedia page updated, I have some probably meaningless thoughts about ages of finalists. 
So.  First disclaimers.  Talent is clearly ageless, so this probably says much more about "Project Runway" casting, and/or people who sign up for reality shows.  Also some people in their later years might have made their way and not need a reality show boost.  Or have kids they can't leave for a month.  So certainly all of this only applies to the show, not the fashion industry as a whole. 
There is, as the page states a multi-way tie for youngest contestant, at 21, which includes a winner - Christian Siriano.  Oldest contestant Cindy Marlatt, from season 11, was 59. 
Season One there was one twentysomething (29) in the finale - the winner Jay.  In contrast, season two the oldest finalist won (at the ripe old age of 33) - Chloe. Season Three there were four finalists, and Jeffrey the winner fell in the mid-range age-wise at 36. 
So, first, my guess was wrong, season 7 also contained no twentysomethings in it's final crop (winner Seth Aaron, youngest of the three at 37). Seth Aaron is currently the oldest winner.  Perhaps that was just luck that that was the season after season 6 where all three finalists were twentysomethings (winner Irina at 26). 
Of the 175 contestants so far (wow, no wonder I can't remember them all) the average age is 31.  Of the 36 finalists (and note, some years there were three finalists, some years four) the average age is...31. (Strangely I left out a season in my original calculation, and still got 31.  And no, I am not counting all star seasons.)
And the average age of the winner is 30.  Now, I am using averages, not means or medians but it is interesting.  And of the 175 contestants: 90 were in their twenties, 60 were in their thirties, 20 were in their forties, and 5 were in their fifties.  So more than half of the total contestant pool is in their twenties. 
When we narrow in on finalists 16 are in their twenties, 15 are in their thirties, and 5 are in their forties.  No fortysomethings have won.  (So far.)
Now, I'm not suggesting there's ageism here, because even if they weren't my favorites, I understood why most of the winners won, and would only personally jump in and, ahem, adjust two winners, should I have such power, and in those cases the new winner would only be different by a year or two.  
So, really, this was me playing with numbers, but I found it interesting.  So, season 12 folks, it might be in your interest to be 31 or so.  Just saying.  Or maybe pair up with someone who averages your age to 31.