The novelty of a big city and achieving fame on a reality TV show are nothing compared to Jay McCarroll‚??s favorite place: home.
‚??I‚??m a country person,‚?Ě the 37-year-old Lake Lehman native said. ‚??I think it‚??s such a pretty area; I love coming down Bear Creek Mountain and seeing the valley. There‚??s such a sense of calm. It‚??s a different experience from my daily life living in Philly.‚?Ě
McCarroll will be back in the area Dec. 8 for the Holiday Chic Peek runway and trunk show at Misericordia University, where he and several other local boutiques and owners will show off, and sell, their wares.
It was seven years ago that McCarroll clinched the winning spot on season one of the hit fashion reality show ‚??Project Runway‚?Ě (the winnings of which he subsequently turned down, an act he calls one of the best decisions he made). He blazed onto the screen in his trademark colorful attire, which paled in comparison to his vibrant personality. He‚??s been through many ups and downs over the years, but he seems quite content at the moment, a self-aware, down-to-earth guy with a passion for what he does.
The Weekender: Did you ever expect the fashion business to be what you‚??ve experienced?
Jay McCarroll:No. It‚??s so incredibly complicated and hard and expensive, and it takes forever to get anything done and it‚??s really not what you see on television. I think fashion-related television programming is good because it creates an awareness for the viewer, but I think that it‚??s unrealistic, absolutely. I can make a wedding dress in two days, but how are you going to produce it? Where‚??s the fabric coming from? Is it cost effective? All that malarkey. Ninety percent of what I do is really business; very rarely is it super creative, which sucks.
W: You‚??ve got a great line of products out on jaymccarrollonline.com, from scarves and tote bags to shirts and skirts.
Are you working on anything new right now?
JM: Always. Always working on things for next year. Hmm, what can I tell you? I‚??m just working on things. I have a lot of good things coming up next year, much of which I can‚??t talk about yet. I‚??m sure you‚??ll know about them in about 17 years when they all come to fruition. Everything I do really takes so long. I design fabrics, and it doesn‚??t come out for like a year-and-a-half, so I‚??m kind of just sitting on these things because it takes a lot of time to produce them.
W: Is that frustrating?
JM: Oh yeah. But it is what it is. You can‚??t fight it. Haste makes waste, too, and if you rush things, it has a tendency to fall apart.
W: You‚??ve made it clear that you like being home, that the atmosphere is right, and you also said the pizza is fantastic. Whose pizza is your favorite?
JM: Oh my God, Ricci‚??s, on Park Avenue. It is the f---king bomb. I mean, I grew up on Grotto Pizza, you know, Harvey‚??s Lake and all. I live for Ricci‚??s sweet sauce, though. Goddamn, it‚??s the best.
W: It seems as though being in such a business hasn‚??t compromised who you are; you‚??re very down-to-earth.
JM: You can thank my family for that. When I was in New York, I was going, going, going, and you believe a lot of the bulls--t when you‚??re getting invited to the best parties. I was changing. I was becoming a dick, and I felt entitled, and I don‚??t know if it was me so much as there was just a lot of people around me blowing smoke up my ass. My sister, Janet, was like, ‚??I don‚??t know, you‚??re changing. You‚??re being kind of a dick.‚?Ě I don‚??t want to be that, so I make sure I‚??m not.