Jay McCarroll, the winner of the first season of the popular Bravo reality competition Project Runway in 2005, is the subject of a new feature-length documentary, Eleven Minutes. Filmmakers Rob Tate and Michael Selditch, who also followed McCarroll around directly after winning PR for a one-hour special on Bravo called Project Jay, document the long, complicated, frustrating, and fascinating process of the new fashion star creating his first professional collection for New York Fashion Week in 2006.
Eleven Minutes is currently hitting film festivals across the country with rave reviews appearing everywhere from Variety to the Anchorage Daily News. It will have a five-city theatrical release in early 2009 with an extras-heavy DVD release to follow. I spoke with the witty, catty, and charming McCarroll, 34, over the phone about the documentary, his fashion week collection, PR alumni, and more. For more information about the film, visit the film's official website.
Was it always planned to make a feature-length documentary? How did it happen?
The intention of Project Jay was to show me creating a line for Fashion Week. The timing wasn’t right and I had back surgery. [Tate and Selditch] said if I did [create a Fashion Week collection] on my own they would love to film the whole process. Yeah, we just really hit it off and worked well together. I always knew I wanted to do it in a film format as opposed to a television series just because I was already a television star and I wanted to become a film star, too. Now I’m going to become a porn star. [Pause] I’m kidding. So that just kind of took shape and then they started loosely filming me for about a year while I started the process. It was all very, very organic.
Were you worried that people would still associate you with being a character they could watch instead of being a fashion designer?
At this point the two of those roles are so kind of intermingled that I can’t separate them so I’ve stopped trying. You know, right after I won Project Runway so many people were like, “Are you going to be a reality TV person or are you going to be a fashion designer?” And I find that they work off of each other. And unfortunately or fortunately that’s the case. I can’t fight it. I kind of don’t want to, I don’t really care that much. I don’t really care what I look like. I’m an open book. I’m like a product. I fully face that.
Like you said, you are very open in front of the camera. Have you ever regretted saying anything?