Project Runway's Winner Tells All
by Delaina Dixon
Jay McCarroll's fashionable array of color-coordinated outfits — complete with matching headphones — helped him defeat Project Runway's designing women last week. Here, the newly-minted couturier shares some behind-the-scenes dish with TVGuide.com, including his take on Wendy Pepper's brazen backstabbing and why he feels his nasty comment about Kara Saun's shoe snafu was taken way out of context.
TVGuide.com: Unlike the other two finalists, you never won a challenge. Yet you took home first prize. How's that for irony?
Jay McCarroll: It still hasn't really sunk in. I'm just waiting for that moment where it's like, "What just happened?" I'm trying to keep levelheaded about the whole thing and not get too wrapped up in the celebrity of it.
TVG: You're just the next big thing in fashion, no big deal.
Jay: I don't really look it at that way. I just feel like I was on a show, I won and now it's up to me to create my own business out of it.
TVG: Think you and your fellow Runway dwellers were portrayed accurately?
Jay: I looked like just a hoot. I think everyone was portrayed correctly, aside from maybe Starr. They made her look a little whinier than she really was. With that [reality TV] stuff, you're going to get in the outcome what you give. If you're giving them bitchy, you're going to look bitchy. If you're funny, that's how you'll come across.
TVG: What were you giving us?
Jay: Oh, everything. As you know, I'm good with the one-liners, but that's also editing, I guess.
TVG: It can take days to cut out a commercial pattern. How the heck did you finish those designs in 12 hours?
Jay: We shot the show in three weeks, so every challenge was two days, back-to-back. I had no time to think; I was a machine for a month, a total robot. During the future challenge, I had to leave the room because I was losing my mind. I just tried to do my yoga breathing exercises through the whole process because it could get really nutty. It was the most intense experience in my life.
TVG: When you applied for PR, did you know you'd be sewing like a fiend? Vanessa certainly voiced her unhappiness about that on the reunion show.
Jay: Sewing was one of the requirements. Since this had never been done before, I had no expectations. Vanessa really came on the show with huge intentions for what was going to happen with her life. Reading the article she gave [to Popgurls.com], it really hurt me. Yeah, I was in the final three and I won this thing, but I don't think I would have been so sour grapes like that. It was just immature, and I was disappointed.
TVG: What's the deal with Wendy's devilish demeanor?
Jay: She wouldn't be herself on camera, so they used what she gave them. There would be times, especially during Fashion Week, where there would be just me, her and Kara Saun in the room, and we could easily have a conversation. As soon as the cameras came in, Wendy would get up and resume this whole new persona. We realized that she secretly wanted to be portrayed as that person. She didn't mind being bitchy and strategic. She's actually had an interesting life. She's lived in Tibet, speaks different languages and reads all the time. She's very intelligent and surprisingly witty. But on the show, it was like she ripped a page out of the reality-TV handbook to be a manipulative witch.
TVG: What about Kara's shoegate? You seemed so happy that "Little Miss Perfect" had finally screwed up.
Jay: I would love to clear this up in print. Wendy was the one who actually said that — I was mimicking her, and I was the one who got shown. That was a case of bad editing. It's kind of horrible because aside from being on reality TV and being designers, Kara and I have built up a great relationship as people who genuinely get along and want the best for each other. That one line annoyed me. It was a typical instance of me just playing a funny role and making fun of someone else, and it made me look so bad. It kind of hurt my feelings when it happened.
TVG: Have any celebrity fashionistas contacted you for a Jay McCarroll original?
Jay: No, nor do I care. Kara is inundated with that stuff right now because that's what they see in her. I don't really care much about glamazons. I make clothes for the masses. I would not be opposed to a Target line, something that's accessible for all. I will have things for $2 to $3000. I'll have from size 0 to size 22. I'm not after Hollywood or perfection.
TVG: When will your first line be available?
Jay: I haven't thought that far ahead. Most importantly for me, I want to be a good businessperson. I do not want to be Martha Stewart or Rosie O'Donnell, and I don't want my name to be owned by anyone else but me. I don't want to jump in and, in two years, look back and say I f---ed up. So if I have to put my line on hold... I've never done this before, and I have nothing behind me holding me back. I just want to make sure I'm making all the right choices right from the gate.
TVG: Where else we can see your work?
Jay: I have a website, www.JayMcCarroll.com
. I'll launch a line, have a show and get things into production. On the entertainment end of it, I might have something up my sleeve right now to create a nice synergy between being a TV personality, a commentator and a fashion designer. You'll probably be sick of me. I'll be selling ketchup by the end of the year!