You may recognize Homewood, IL native Steven Rosengard from Bravo’s reality show Project Runway . After a disappointing week-5 elimination involving a white polyester wedding gown, Steven is back home in Lakeview. He spends his days recreating fashions of centuries past as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Science and Industry and continues to design custom clothing on the side.
So, whether you’re a reality TV addict, a girl looking for a snazzy one-of-a-kind dress or an appreciator of the recreations you see at the museum, Steven Rosengard is a Jew you should know.
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was four, I wanted to be an artist but I didn’t really know what that meant—I really just wanted to paint and draw. By the time I was 11 I wanted to be a designer, by 21 I wanted to be an interior designer and now that I’m almost 31 I’m back to designer. I don’t know, talk to me when I’m 41 and maybe I will be back to painting full-time.
2. What do you love about what you do today?
I just love working with women who want to, maybe even if only for just one night, look as perfect and great as they always could. I love making that happen.
3. What are you reading?
Christian Dior’s biography, which is really an interesting book. When I’m sewing, I cheat and listen to books on CD—for the third time I’m listening to The Time Traveler’s Wife. The narrators are so great and when you hear the woman’s voice quivering when she’s talking about the relationship and you’re sitting sewing a seam and … well, it becomes very sad sewing.
4. What’s your favorite place to eat in Chicago?
I was just recently at RL and it was just wonderful. It is very cozy and a great time. My favorite for carryout is Joy’s Noodles on Broadway.
5. If money and logistical reality played no part, what would you invent?
I guess some sort of time traveling device. I’d love to bounce around and see Berlin in between the Wars, Paris in the 1770s, Atlanta circa 1855 and Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood in the 1920s.
6. Would you rather have the ability to fly or ability to be invisible?
Half the time I feel like I’m invisible anyway! And given how long it takes to get to work these days, I’d rather fly than take the bus.
7. If I scrolled through your iPod, what guilty pleasure song would I find?
I’d never show anyone my iPod, are you nuts? Okay, for as cornball as it is, I suppose there are certain elements of one song that are apropos to my certain situation. Ready? “Lucky” by Britney Spears. She’s singing about how people think she’s so lucky because she’s famous and it’s about what will happen when all of that stops. I know that a lot of us going into Project Runway had that fear of what would happen when people quit paying attention to us. This whole situation puts us in a precarious position to stay ahead of the game.
8. What’s your favorite Jewish thing to do in Chicago—in other words, how do you Jew?
I used to really like walking by Sam’s Deli just knowing it was there, but it closed and that kills that. Every year we go to my Auntie Cheryl’s in the old neighborhood for Passover. She has these two fat cats with their bellies dragging on the floor. So the larger, angrier of the two was growling at Auntie Cheryl for food, she got up from the table, went to the fridge, and threw her some sliced ham and sat back at the Seder table without washing her hands. She’s very irreverent.