'Project Runway' Star Justin LeBlanc and Other Disabled Reality TV Stars

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"Project Runway" Season 12 has been a season of firsts: Tim Gunn's first chance to save an eliminated designer, the first "Runway Redemption," and the first season featuring a deaf competitor.

North Carolina-based designer Justin LeBlanc may be deaf, but his talent is undeniable. His look from the premiere was sophisticated and bold. Even if he didn't make it to the top three, he's definitely one to watch this season.

Justin LeBlanc isn't the only disabled reality TV star to earn a place in the hearts of TV fans. In recent years, a number of popular reality shows have featured disabled contestants, and each one has inspired and amazed the folks watching at home. Here are some of the most memorable.

Christine Ha, "MasterChef"

The third season of "MasterChef" featured Christine Ha, a talented home cook with Asian roots. She won Season 3, which would be impressive on its own. But the fact that Ha is blind made her win all the more astonishing. Ha suffered from an immune disorder that attacked her optic nerves, and her vision was badly damaged. Her grace in the kitchen was an inspiration to home cooks everywhere.

Christy Smith, "Survivor: The Amazon"

Christy Smith was the first disabled contestant to compete on "Survivor." Deaf since birth, this premature baby grew up to be one of the most compelling contestants in "Survivor" history. She came in sixth in her season, and later went on to co-found an organization called Discovering Deaf Worlds.

The entire cast of "Britain's Missing Top Model"

Many American TV fans missed out on this 2008 series, which is a shame. "Britain's Missing Top Model" was one of the most intriguing reality shows in recent years. The series focused on eight disabled women vying for a shot at a spread in Marie Claire magazine.

These disabled models had a variety of disabilities, including deafness and missing limbs. One contestant was blind and deaf on one side of her head, and was also using a wheelchair. The eventual winner of the series was Kelly Knox, who was born without a left forearm.

James Durbin, "American Idol"

The fourth-place finisher on "American Idol" Season 10, James Durbin suffers from both Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome. His performances of "Get Back" by The Beatles and "Uprising" by Muse were very memorable, and he inspired many others who suffered from the same disabilities.

Check out Heidi Klum's hottest looks designed by "Project Runway" contestants:

 

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