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TSA freshman wins 'Project Runway: Junior'

14-year-old from Maumee celebrates at watch party

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Maya Ramirez, 14, celebrates winning 'Project Runway: Junior' at a viewing party of the season finale Thursday night at Pizza Papalis in downtown Toledo. She's a ninth-grader at Toledo School for the Arts.

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Look out, world: The next great fashion designer may hail from northwest Ohio.

Maya Ramirez, of Maumee and a ninth grader at the Toledo School for the Arts, was crowned winner of the first season of Project Runway: Junior on Thursday night.

Maya, 14, and har family — mother, Traci; father, Lou; brother, Tucker, 16; sister, Sonia, 12; and her grandparents — were among the roughly 200 in attendance at the final watch party at Pizza Papalis in downtown Toledo.

There also was ear-splitting pandemonium when she was named the winner.

“It’s amazing to have my school, and family, and friends supporting me, and cheering me on, and have them have my back,” Maya said earlier in the evening.

Maya was one of four finalists, and she receives a full scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, a Brother sewing and crafting studio, a feature in Seventeen magazine, and $25,000 to help launch her fashion line.

Maya was not allowed to reveal any information about the show, which started airing in November, but she was fine with that.

“I was more excited to see people’s reactions, so it was easier to keep it in,” she said after the anouncement.

While there was plenty of eating and talking leading up to the Thursday’s broadcast on Lifetime, that turned into a lot of shushing as the first glimpse of Maya crossed the screens.

“I’m feeling great about my collection because everything fits,” Maya said during the broadcast.

Keeping true to her art, Maya designed and created the dark ensemble she wore Thursday, describing it as edgy, sleek, and feminine.

During the show, cheers went up in the restaurant as models walked down the runway during New York Fashion Week wearing the collection created by Maya, and that she described as “inspired by a female warrior in a field of flowers.”

“We would wear them,” said Jordyn Cheatham, 15, noting Maya’s clothing possessed a distinctive style. “You could tell that’s who she is. She's a warrior princess.”

Kelly Osbourne, daughter of rocker Ozzy Osbourne and a reality TV show star herself, was one of the judges on the show. She said to Maya during the broadcast that “today I saw the real designer in you.”

She also had people from TSA beaming with pride.

“Throughout (the show), she's been poised and confident,” said Dave Gierke, director of developement at TSA.

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