Wendy Pepper, who was a finalist in Season 1 of Project Runway, died last week. She was 53.
Pepper, whose real name was Anne Eustis Pepper, "died peacefully" on November 12, "surrounded by her loving family," according to her obituary in The Washington Post. Her cause of death was not revealed. She is survived by her daughter, parents, brothers, sister, nieces, and nephews.
Pepper competed in the very first season of Project Runway, which premiered in 2004. She made it to the finals, showing her own collection at New York Fashion Week, ultimately winning third place that season. Pepper also appeared in the second season of Project Runway All Stars in 2012.
Andy Cohen paid tribute to Pepper on Twitter Friday, November 17. "#RIP one of the first of many great characters to appear on #ProjectRunway," he tweeted. "She was a big reason for the first season’s success."
The news of Pepper's passing comes just one month after fellow Project Runway alum Mychael Knight died on October 17. He competed in Season 3 of Project Runway, placing fourth overall, the one-off competition Project Runway: All-Star Challenge, and Season 3 of Project Runway All Stars.