A few weeks after his televised win on fashion-designing reality show Project Runway, Jay McCarroll is back in New York to take meetings with the big wigs, in addition to reveling in that $100,000 in prize money and upcoming mentorship with Banana Republic. Apparently the inimitable, head-scarfed 30 year old hasn’t lost a bit of the brazen sarcasm and droll honesty that made him a hit on the show, as he talks with us now about life after Project Runway, his high school reunion, and why Zac Posen gets on his nerves.
You made me crack up on that show, and I’m a hard laugh.
It’s true. I make me laugh on that fuckin’ show. I am ridiculous. Oh, it’s true. You just don’t know how fuckin’ cool you are ’till you get to watch it again. You’re like, Wow, I am funny.
Yeah, a friend of mine was saying, “God, it was like a reality show, except they were actually talented.” Well, I mean, that’s what the interest was. It was a show for people with skill. We would have a sustainable career after this, hopefully. If I play my fuckin’ cards right . . .
You loved that one model Julia . . . Her and Jenny are my favorites, because they’re normal people who don’t take it so seriously. That’s kinda how I am about my fashion. I’m not like, “Ohmigod, these boots are so important. Ohmigod, this dress is like key right now.” I’m like, “You know what? The new strain of AIDS is pretty important right now, and the tsunami, and the fact that we’re in a terrible administration in politics.”
Do you make clothes for yourself? No, ’cause I’m a fat ass. Because they—even though “they” is me—don’t make clothes that big. Because why fuckin’ spend 12 hours making something when I can just go to Salvation Army? Ha-hah-ha. Anti-fashion, that’s me. I HATE shopping.
What’s the first thing you ever sewed? Hmmm . . . my sisters were in the color guard in band, so I probably made like a flag . . . And I twirled to myself.
Yeah, I heard you could twirl. I can. I’m very good at it.
What did you wear to prom? I didn’t go to my prom. Hell no. I can see right through that fuckin’ American bullshit. Ewww. It’s so stupid. Hate those fuckin’ people.
Would you ever go to your high school reunion? Yeah, I just did, last summer. It was fun to see which jock is going through a divorce, and to hear stories about their fuckin’ spawn, and be like, “Ewww, you named it Kaitlin? You’re weird.”
Yeah, during the show you had this fantastic talent for calling people out, yet still appeared all warm and gushy . . . Yeah, I did it tons on the show. I’d be like, “Rob, he’s a primate.” But Rob called me the other day and can’t be mad at me for calling him a monkey. Because he knows he’s a monkey.
What advice would you give the next people who go on the show? Make sure you know who you are before you go on that shit.
Why? Because that’s the name of the game. They’re not looking for America’s next designer who’s kind of like another designer.
Let’s talk about fashion faux pas . . . In the warmer months, what should be avoided? I’ve seen so much crack in the past two years . . . I’m over it. And now guys are wearing girls’ jeans? It’s so gay. Everybody’s turning gay, and not in a good way.
Designers you think are overrated? Zac Posen. Oh God. Tommy Hilfiger. Is he even a designer anymore? Posen as a social butterfly makes me want to kill people in the face. It’s gross.
Anyone you’re fond of? I love Alexander McQueen. Everything he touches turns to fuckin’ platinum. I hope to meet him some day, like after I’ve done this for years and years and have validity. But not until. I’d feel like such a douche bag.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 1, 2005