Jay McCarroll turned down Project Runway’s $100,000 prize and mentorship

The winner of Project Runway‘s first season didn’t get much after winning the show except for exposure on TV and in Elle. That’s because Jay McCarroll turned down the show’s $100,000 prize and the chance to be mentored by Banana Republic designers.

Why would he do that? “Use your imagination there for I am not allowed to talk about it,” he told The Washington Post. The paper reports, however, that “he did not dispute the suggestion that, perhaps, there were too many strings attached to such a windfall.”

He didn’t work with Banana’s designers, however, for another reason. “[E]verything was fine with them, just bad timing. I couldn’t think about mass production in China the week I won the show,” he said. “It was all just way over my head. I was pretty emotional for months. ‘What the [bleep] just happened to me?’ kind of thoughts.”

Project Jay will debut in February and “document his upcoming move to New York, his family life in Pennsylvania and the making of Klum’s Emmy dress, which, he notes, she did not wear,” the paper reports.

Baggage on the ‘Runway’ [Washington Post]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.