Sabrina Spanta, 2011 Andover Graduate and Project Runway Season 19 Contestant!

Sabrina Spanta, a graduate of Andover High School in 2011, is currently starring in Bravo’s Season 19 of Project Runway as one of 16 designers competing for a chance to not only showcase a fashion collection at New York Fashion Week, but also take home the cash prize of $250,000. The first episode of this season premiered on October 14, with new episodes airing every Thursday at 9 pm on Bravo. 

Originally from Afghanistan, Sabrina Spanta’s family fled the Afghan war to a refugee camp in Pakistan. Tragically, Sabrina’s mother died during their journey, and Sabrina’s dad was left to care for the children. In 2000, when Sabrina was 8, she and her sister were adopted in the United States by their great aunt, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, which is how Sabrina came to Bloomfield Hills Schools. Read more to learn about Sabrina’s experiences and reflections as a BHS student and a fashion designer!

What was your favorite experience as a Bloomfield Hills Schools student?
AP Art class - Mrs. Basirico was my teacher. I spent all my days there - I went to other classes, then back to art. She allowed me to be my own individual and bring something different to AP Art. It was really refreshing that she would allow me to do a medium in AP Art class such as fashion. 

What were the most important lessons you learned in Bloomfield Hills Schools?
It was basically just working hard, sticking to your intuition, and following your dreams. I was very different. I didn’t have many friends in high school. I wasn’t the popular kid. I was just myself. I think sticking to who you are and your individuality - even though the peer pressure is high in high school - that was one of the biggest things that I learned through Art class. Celebrating your individuality.

Share a bit about your educational and career background, and highlights of being part of Project Runway.
I went to Savannah College of Art of Design. I got a really good scholarship there. I applied to lots of arts schools, and decided to go to SCAD - it's a top fashion school. Probably the best years of my life were at SCAD. It was like walking into Hogwarts of Harry Potter. It’s the most creative school I’ve ever been to. It is very meticulously designed for each specific major. It’s such an amazing environment! I worked full time with school and also showing at different fashion weeks. They have such great networks, once you become a SCAD student they make things happen for you and they’re always there for you. After graduation, I went to work in the mass market. I designed jackets, dresses, tops and shirts. It was a really good experience, and when Covid hit I had a re-direction. It was in that time that I started applying for Project Runway after a year of interviewing. It was a tedious and long process throughout 2020. Project Runway is an amazing experience. I highly encourage anyone in fashion to try it. It’s the hardest thing you can do, and tests you in so many ways… emotionally, mentally, and physically it’s a lot. 

Share a bit about yourself.
I’m currently in Bloomfield Hills. I love the outdoors, and I also love to do sculpture and am often sculpting. I also took Sculpture and Jewelry-making classes at Andover.

What advice would you give current students or alumni?
Follow your passion. Do what you’re good at and everything else will fall into place. Before you know it, you’ll fall into what you’re meant to do. It’s scary to go into the creative world, but no matter what you do, if you do a good job, you’ll always succeed. 

If any students are looking for mentorship, I’m happy to help out and give advice. I’m available on Instagram @sabrinaspanta and my website

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