Even though it’s post-season “Project Runway,” I’m still scouring the Internet and watching every marathon, filling those Thursday night voids. One website that has managed to assuage my withdrawal is projectrungay.blogspot.com. On Friday, bloggers Tom and Lorenzo posted one of the most honest and lengthiest interviews with reality TV “star” Jay McCarroll about his upcoming documentary, “Eleven Minutes.”
“Eleven Minutes” filmed Jay for an entire year until the debut of his Spring ’07 Collection, “Transport.” The documentary shows the lengthy and strenuous process Jay went through in making his collection, interacting with the press and, most importantly, making himself known as a designer and not merely a reality TV star.
Judging from the documentary’s trailer, I think “Eleven Minutes” finds a way to transcend the slew of reality TV we’ve had to digest for the past few years. Of all reality TV I’ve sifted through, “Project Runway” definitely seems to be the most grounded on featuring contestants with actual talent and demanding hard work from them. However, like “America’s Next Top Model,” “Rock of Love,” “The Bachelor” and any other show that hoists a winning couple or contestant each season, “Project Runway” has yet to produce someone who rises above the status of 15-minutes-of-fame reality TV star. “Eleven Minutes” may be what Jay needs to elevate his status as a true designer.
Jay’s decision to opt out of Project Runway’s $100,000 prize and Banana Republic mentorship has kept the media and fans intrigued. He’s defying our expectations of a reality TV winner; instead of voraciously using up his 15 minutes of fame, he’s moving himself into the industry at his own pace. He chose to live in the calmer countryside in Philadelphia, teaching at Philadelphia University, rather than in the high-fashion and pressured city of New York. Yet he’s still got that spark draws us to him years after his “Project Runway” success.
I absolutely loved his quote about the fashion industry during his interview: “Every six months you have to come up with new ideas, and the copying and regurgitating and reiterating and ‘Florals are in!’ ‘No! Florals are out!’ And trying to tell everyone they need to have a little black dress in their closet. It’s just … wear what you want to wear, have good dinner parties, you know? Like there’s a much bigger picture than that little world that I was being pushed into.” A reassuring comment that every starving college student and aspiring fashionista like me needs to hear every now and then.
Upcoming screenings of “Eleven Minutes” are taking place in Philidelphia, Toronto, Miami and Boston. But keep checking jaymccarrolldocumentary.com for updates. Hope they come to New York!