Is Jay McCarroll Homeless? He Sure Said So (and So Did His Publicist)

McCarroll in studio-slash-crash pad. Photo: Jessica Wynne

In this week's cover story on the challenges facing winners of Bravo's reality shows, New York's Jennifer Senior noted that two years after winning Project Runway's first season, Jay McCarroll is still homeless in New York, using his studio and other people’s couches as crash pads. How did Senior know McCarroll was homeless? He told her so. But once the fact appeared in print, he denied it, posting mocking YouTube videos of himself wandering city streets with a cardboard sign reading “Will Design for Food.” Then his best friend and publicist, Nancy Kane, responded more aggressively, as publicists and best friends are wont to do: She left an angry voice-mail message for Senior Tuesday charging that the suggestion McCarroll is homeless is “unequivocally untrue.” She went on: "His studio is a live/work space, and it might not be ideal, but it is more than a lot of people have in New York City, and he pays rent every month.” Later in the day, however, she must have realized this wasn’t much of a response; in fact, it was exactly what Senior had written. So Kane proceeded to tell various gossip columns that New York Magazine had fallen for a hoax. Jay, she said, in fact lives in a beautiful apartment building at 72nd Street and Riverside Drive. Perhaps. (Why Kane's so defensive we don't know. There’s no shame in struggling for your success, which was the whole point of Senior’s story.) We'll choose to believe the version enshrined in her voice mail, reported in the magazine, and detailed by McCarroll himself. Don't believe us? Take a look at the transcript, after the jump.

New York: Where do you live, Jay?
McCarroll: I haven’t been living anywhere for two years. I always sleep at other people’s houses. I sleep here if I’m drunk. It’s a good halfway place if I have to do work the next day.

New York: Is there a shower here?
McCarroll: No, just a bathroom. But the reality is, I have it good compared to other designers. A lot of this gets lost: I was on this path already, and I feel like so many designers in New York have this same exact thing, and it’s acceptable. The unsung heroes of Project Runway are the people who work at Mood. Because they’re all designers too, and they’re struggling just like me, and I’ve become friends with them, and I’ve had them all over here [his studio], and they’re like, “Wow, this place.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but you have an apartment! I don’t have that.” I have to keep conveying to all these other designers: I’m equal to you. It’s hard for everybody. It's hard for every designer. Unless you’re Proenza Schouler and you’re cute and Anna Wintour happens to like you.

The Near-Fame Experience [NYM]