Out.com Exclusive: Runaway Runway Winner

2.24.2005

By Ari Bendersky

He's not the typical, media-friendly gay man, with a buff body and perfect haircut. Oh, but his acerbic wit! Jay McCarroll, 29, is talented, vulgar, and has a potty mouth that would make a sailor blush. But he's also America's next great fashion designer, having been given the title on Bravo's fashion design reality series Project Runway. For his fashion-forward, rock and roll collection, displayed in the final round of competition at the Olympus Fashion Week earlier this month, McCarroll won $100,000 to start his own line, a spread in Elle, and a mentorship with the Banana Republic design team.

First of all, congratulations!

Ari, this has to be interesting because this is my 900th interview and I'm so fucking bored.

OK, well let's make it interesting. I thought it was really fascinating that Bravo didn't talk about people's sexuality. So are you a proud, out gay man?

Hell, no. I hate fags. [Laughs] Other than when I'm getting blown by them'I'm sorry. [Laughs again] I don't really identify with the gay community much. Up to this point, people haven't been welcoming to me. Maybe that's because I live in a small town, but people have always treated me like shit because I'm a weirdo and I don't look like Brad Pitt. And I'm obnoxious. I don't understand how, for a community that celebrates diversity, it's like the most cloned fucking community ever.

Do you think the fashion world is ready for the scandal that is Jay?

I think they're really eating it up. I think I'm refreshing for them because I'm so gritty and realistic. It's hard for them to handle because it's such a fucking pretentious, shallow industry. Honestly, we talked about sexuality in general on the show. People still think I'm straight. I just wish gay people just acted like people. It's so sad that they feel the need to be so easily identifiable by other gay people that they all end up looking the same, talking the same, listening to the same music. I understand people want to fit in, but I knew I was gay at 8 and adjusted by 12, so by 14 or 16 I was over it already. Thank God for this program! Gay people like me don't get exposed. I'm dirty and sloppy and vulgar and colorful and bizarre. I think I'm one of the first of my kind to be exposed.

Have things already started rolling with Banana Republic and Elle? What is the first line going to be?

I don't want to jump into this too quick. I want to learn how this whole business thing works for the next six months, then really get in on an intense line for men and women, of course. I love menswear; that's something we couldn't showcase on the show.

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