By now, we know that the term “reality TV” couldn’t be any more of a misnomer for the genre. Most reality shows are scripted and for good reason – people’s day-to-day lives are boring. Why not add a little sprinkling of drama to the mix in order to keep people watching? But even with this information, certain reality shows just seem to have a higher standard when it comes to storyline meddling, so when Project Runway Season 4 contestant Jack Mackenroth mentioned that the show is total B.S., we couldn’t help but be just a little surprised.
The HIV activist and former designer sat down with Paper magazine’s Mickey Boardman and spilled the tea on what really goes on behind the scenes on Project Runway. “The show is a sham, the judging is totally fake and they basically decide who they want to eliminate and edit the footage to make the viewer agree,” Mackenroth said. “But the work was real and the other designers I met were amazing. I’m still friends with many of them.” Mackenroth also talks about the fate of so many Project Runway contestants and how even the winners are having difficulty bringing their brands into the mainstream.
Mackenroth also commented on how a stint on Project Runway is unlikely to put you in the running for a CFDA award anytime soon – or even get you closer to starting your own label. “Everyone expects that with a little TV exposure you can launch your own line and be the next big star – that’s ludicrous. After 16 seasons of Runway and 4 or 5 All-Star shows there have been over 200 designers who have competed,” he explains. “I can think of two, Christian Siriano and Michael Costello, who have had some level of national success. Most people just go back to their old careers and continue to struggle. Fashion design is a cutthroat business. Well established designers go bankrupt right and left. And quite honestly the fashion industry frowns on Project Runway and doesn’t take the designers very seriously.”