Saturday, 20 August 2011

Interview with Jack Mackenroth

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Hello Jack, would you like to introduce yourself to my readers (in the vain hope that they are actually paying attention to the words on this page and not just your ‘present’ bulge)

Hi, I’m Jack Mackenroth ( I’m a fashion designer, model, artist, competitive swimmer, HIV activist, radio host and on and on and on...

Show off!

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Jack as a child, describe him?

Well I had a fairly happy childhood. I'm the oldest of 3. I have a younger brother and sister and my parents were divorced when I was 8. We didn't have any money so that’s why I ended up making a lot of my own clothes. I was totally a baby gay.

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I loved doing all the girly things - jumping rope, playing with dolls and drawing.

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Not much has changed. I didn't speak to my dad for about 20+ years. We only recently reconnected because he has cancer. It's a long story.

So Mr Mackenroth, a lot of my wasps will recognise you from the fourth season of Project Runway which aired in like, 1932. But before the Project, how involved were you in the fashion industry and what would you say was your first big break?

Ha! Yes before the show I was a designer for 17 years. My very first design job was at Tommy Hilfiger. That opened the door to everything that followed.

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Would you like to tell us a little about what its like to star on a Reality Show, seeing as they’re all the rage now, and what your thoughts are on Project Runway as you reflect on your time in the show having experienced a behind-the-scenes look at the juggernaut that it is?

Honestly I think Reality TV is losing steam. I think people are kind of ‘over’ trainwreck TV. I don't even know anyone that still watches Runway.

I certainly don't. Too busy watching Toddlers & Tiaras!

Personally I had a good experience. My cast was amazing and I'm still great friends with Christian Siriano, Kevin Christiana and Kit Scarbo. But as we all know "Reality" TV is not real. Everything the designers did was 100% real. We had no help or extra time. However what the producers did was highly manipulated. It's a bit disappointing. I think the judging is completely fake. Above all they want to make good TV so if you are a talented but boring designer you don't stand a chance. They even have a guestimate of when each designer will be voted off before the show even starts.

Ooh, innnneresting… tell me more!

The schedule itself is GRUELING. In real time we had a challenge every other day. We filmed 14 weeks of TV in 4 and a half weeks. So we were all wrecked!!

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Is the Klum as pretty in person as she is on screen?


Straight to the point, I like that. You also model. Care to share some of the publications you have shot for, and any fun shoots that stick in your mind?

Really too many to count. I’ve been in Paper, DNR, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, Genre, Blue, Instinct, Envy, Next, David, POZ, HIVplus, Lavender, reFRESH, Gloss, Nylon and several others. The best shoots were back in the day when publications had budgets. You would travel in plush buses out to amazing locations with the coolest clothes. Those days are pretty much over. I did get to be in the opening of Sex and The City and I sat next to SJP in the make-up trailer for 2 hours. She is amazing.

Lord you are a relic, aren't ya! ;-)

Now, when you’re a model you must be very conscious of your body a lot of the time. So what would you say is your best body part and your worst? [Be truthful now! We don’t want you saying something corny like your ‘heart’ – which people in the fashion industry don’t typically have]

HAHAH! I think my eyes and my ass are my best assets and I'm most self conscious about my wrinkly neck and my hairline. I am 42 after all.

My wasps are already very excited to hear that you have a Calendar coming out for 2012. Would you like to talk a bit about why you decided to do the Calendar, and which signature Jack Mackenroth poses we can expect over the 12 months?

This is the Press Release for the Calendar:

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As the first television personality since Pedro Zamora to be vocal about his HIV status, Jack Mackenroth has quickly become the most visible, out HIV+ advocate and educator in the country. . . if not the world. With the release of his 2012 calendar, he hopes to raise both money and awareness for AIDS research, and to show through his photographs that a person living with HIV can be in top physical form, healthy and sexy. All proceeds from the calendar will go to amfAR ( to help find a cure for AIDS. Mackenroth has been living with the disease for 22 years.

Designer, athlete and HIV/AIDS activist and educator Jack Mackenroth has had the privilege of shooting with some of the best photographers in the business. Each month of the 15 month calendar will feature a different photographer with a very different style. Jack is a role model to many people in the HIV community and a fitness model that many aspire to emulate.

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Photographers taking part in the project include Adam Bouska, Rick Day, Carsten Fleck, Frank Louis, James Franklin, Karl Giant, Tommy Synnamon, Mattheus Lian, Richard Gerst, Ray John Pila, Sonny Tong, Thomas Evans, Krys Fox and Preston Cros.

“I have amassed such an amazing collection of images that I wanted to put out a calendar that will help to combat the silence and stigma associated with being HIV-positive,” says Mackenroth. He adds, “If I can raise money for HIV/AIDS research, it’s even better.”

Jack has been a vocal and visible advocate of the HIV community, touring the country through numerous speaking engagements and special appearances at events. He continues to speak around the country and will be planning calendar signing events in the upcoming months. His memoir, “Making Lemonaids” will be released this winter.

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The autographed calendar will be available for pre-sale starting in mid-August, with shipping starting Sept. 15, 2011. All proceeds benefit amfAR—The American Foundation for AIDS Research. ( The calendar’s dimensions are 8.5 x 11 inches, and are available through ( for $14.95 (plus tax and shipping).

Dear lord, that’s a long press release. But very informative, thank you. What is your favourite month in the Calendar, and which is your favourite month, like ever?

My favorite month is June because its gay pride month and I love the colorful photo. I think my favorite photo is the cover or the photo in the top hat which is October.

A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit?

Twitter @jackmackenroth

Do you have a favourite movie?

My favourite movie of all time is The Hunger starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. It's breathtaking. Blade Runner with Harrison Ford is a close second. EVERYONE should see both of those.

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If you were to engage in a come dine with me scenario, which four personalities would you invite around for dinner and why?

HMMM, I'm not really impressed by celebrities so that’s hard. Lady Gaga, Madonna (cuz I've never met her), Cher and Adele. Could that be any gayer?

Only if you were serving dinner in nothing but a speedo.

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Your go-to song should you find yourself in a trashy karaoke bar?

I don’t sing in public EVER.

A fella you just can’t quit crushin on?

British actor Jason Statham. I LOVE a bald head.

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If I was to gift you a one way ticket to anywhere in the world but you weren’t allowed to return, where would you go and why?

Sydney. I just love it there. And the way American politics seem to be going I'd want to get as far away from here as possible. :)

Ticket in the post. Thanks Buddy!


1 comment

  1. Excellent interview Porty! I just ordered Jack's calendar and, although we're several months into the year, I think you'd agree that it's never too late to support a good cause. Btw, I mentioned that I found out about the calendar on your website. Thanks! J


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