Wendy Pepper, who competed on the first season of Project Runway, died earlier this week. She was 53.
The Washington D.C. area-based artist, whose real name was Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart, passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by her family, according to a Washington Post obituary published on Friday. The cause of her death was not revealed.
She is survived by her daughter Finley, her parents, three brothers, a sister and several nieces and nephews.
Wendy competed on the first season of the reality show in 2004 and placed third. She also appeared on the second season of Project Runway All Stars, which aired in 2012 and 2013.
“Her wit and humor were unmatched, as was her generosity of spirit,” her obituary states.
Wendy was born in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated from Potomac School, the Madeira School, and the University of Washington. She designed and hand-sewed clothes for children and adults and was also a chef and a writer.
“I realized I was a designer when I was living in Nepal,” she said in a Project Runway All Stars video. “Dyeing some yarn, I suddenly turned to these people that I was living with and I started to drape the yarn. Oh my gosh, this is so much fun, I am creating this whole sort of experience with these women. For me, fashion is communication…That’s when I knew this was my life’s work.”
She said Project Runway taught her that “if you really want to succeed, you’ve gotta be willing to throw yourself into the arena.”
She is set to be laid to rest at a Georgetown church on December 1.