When we ran into former Project Runway contestant Jay McCarroll at The Humane Society of the United States’ Cool Vs. Cruel Ceremony at the Bowery Hotel last night, we had to ask him about the little miscommunication he–or rather his impostor–had with a reporter at Tina Brown‘s the Daily Beast.
Last week, the Daily Beast ran an article that was supposed to display concept drawings by former Project Runway contestants for Michelle Obama‘s inaugural gowns. By mistake, a reporter named Hailey Eber contacted a Jay McCarrol, a musician in Canada, instead of Jay McCarroll, the Project Runway contestant. Mr. McCarrol, the musician, went along with it, getting a friend to do a drawing of a gown and leading Ms. Eber to believe it was authentic. The drawing was posted alongside other designs, but was soon found out for what it was–a hoax–by the Smoking Gun.
"I’m over it now. It’s guess it’s funny," said Mr. McCarroll, the real reality show contestant. "I guess it keeps my name in the spotlight, doesn’t it? And I didn’t have to do anything—zero!"
Mr. McCarroll continued: "I called my lawyer—not to sue—but I kind of, like, didn’t know what to do. The design was fine, but I didn’t want to be like misquoted. I mean, this is for, like, the president’s wife! Not that anyone is reading that piece anyway, I’m sure." (Ouch!)
And what did Mr. McCarroll think of the design itself?
"My friend Anne called and said, ‘Is that really your design? It looks like shit!’" he replied. "But I think it was fine."
Given the designer’s presence at a Humane Society event, we wondered if he had any pets growing up that led him to feel strongly about the cause. But Mr. McCarroll seemed to get confused.
"What is it with the animal questions?" he asked.
Um, well. This is a Humane Society party, and they’re kind of, you know, all about loving the animals.
"Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I forgot where I was," he said sheepishly. (No pun intended!)
"I have a cat now, Woody. He’s my best friend. He’s a little snuggler–gets under the covers," Mr. McCarroll continued. "Also, growing up, we had cows and pigeons and dogs and goats."
Pigeons and goats?
"Yeah, I grew up upstate in the woods of Pennsylvania. Actually, right here," he said pointing to a map of Pennsylvania tattooed on his wrist. "I actually killed one of the pigeons once. I ran over it with my bike. But it was a total accident. I was like six or eight or something. I had a tricycle and I put five of these beautiful pigeons on the back. And there was this red pigeon and I ran over it. My sister like lost her shit. She yelled at me and called me an animal killer. I was six years old, I didn’t know what the fuck a pigeon was!"
As we were chatting with Mr. McCarroll, a photographer began to snap the designer’s photo and Mr. McCarroll was suddenly looking displeased.
"Ugh, I hate these things," he said rather candidly, looking around at the photographers swarming around the socialite Arden Wohl.
"I live in Philadelphia and I don’t get any of it. I don’t mean to be bitchy, but it’s like … I think that’s like the most ridiculous thing that could ever happen and you can’t avoid it!" he said, pointing at the camera men stacked along the red carpet few feet away. "They, like, dragged me in there!"
Mr. McCarroll pondered what he just said for a moment. "But I guess the more I stand there and the more someone notices and writes, then I can have a beach house," he concluded. "I’m going to get to drinking now, okay?"