A spin on the television show “Project Runway,” Project Condom asked teams to design and create a fashionable outfit to be graded by a panel of judges. And if that weren’t hard enough, the garments had to be made primarily out of condoms, an effort to promote safe and healthy sexual practices among USC students.
In the end, 12 teams took on the daunting challenge and created outfits made with condoms to showcase before an eager crowd.
Carolina Productions, which organized the event, created a runway that spanned almost half of the Russell House Ballroom.
Jenn Gunsaullus, a sexual health and psychology expert and intimacy counselor, hosted the event. Gunsaullus’ YouTube series, “In the Den with Dr. Jenn,” led her to give a series of talks and lectures on sexuality and intimacy at colleges around the country.
“We liked that she had a background in psychology and was a sex educator,” said Adam Mayer, Carolina Productions president. “We always like to get recommendations on our speakers, and she had great reviews from other colleges.”
Gunsaullus kicked off the event with a presentation on physical intimacy and sexual relationships, stressing that knowing your own body was a great way to improve sexual self-esteem and remove feelings of shame or doubt.
She often tried to cut through the sexual taboos that seemed inherent in the crowd, eliciting bouts of nervous laughter as she said that almost 800,000 Americans were masturbating at that moment. Though perhaps uncomfortable for some, many of her tips managed to arouse the crowd’s interest.
The 12 models came out one by one onto the runway to showcase their creations. Shaking off any performance anxiety they might have, the models looked calm and composed despite a crowd that managed to fill the room with excitement, even though it was smaller than past years, Mayer said.
The climax of the event, the announcement of the winners, came after another talk by Gunsaullus, this time primarily concerning the emotional and spiritual aspects of sexual intercourse.
Three circus-themed outfits swept the top spots.
Students With A Responsible Message’s outfit, the “Bearded Lady,” came in first place. In second place was the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance’s “Ringmaster.” And in third place was AcroYoga’s “Tightrope Walker,” which symbolized the subtle line between being ready and unready for sexual interaction.
An Academy Awards-style dress and a lion tamer ensemble rounded out the top five as the two audience choice winners.