Archive for December, 2007

Song for my pocket gay. Lyrics by the minx.

Posted in The Fierceness on December 29, 2007 by jackmax2

Disclaimer–I did not write this and Christian and I both think it’s hilarious. Although I think he should brag because he’s the shit!

Sister Christian

Sister Christian
Oh the time has come
And you think that you’re the only one
Who’ll win
Where you going
What you looking for
When you twirl and
Pose in front of all the mirrors?
It’s fierce.

You’re fabulous
The best designer there
Gravity-defying hair
It’s your contest to lose

Babe you know
You’re kind of a big deal
In your own mind at least
We know you feel
So gay, everyday

Sister Christian
You’d make a great Shih Tzu
Something to pick up
And carry like a doggie bag
Don’t brag
Don’t brag yeah

Yet another jacket
With a fancy placket
Tell me what’s your racket?

You’re fabulous
The best designer there
Gravity-defying hair
It’s your contest to lose

You’re fabulous
The best designer there
Gravity-defying hair
It’s your contest to lose

Sister Christian
Oh the time has come
And you know that you’re the only one
To say O.K.
But you’re fabulous
You’re fabulous

Lyrics by theminx to the tune of “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger


Interview with Gloss Magazine in San Fran

Posted in The Fierceness on December 16, 2007 by jackmax2

 What prompted you to audition for Project Runway?

I’d been at the same job for 4 years and while it paid well, it wasn’t very creatively fulfilling.  I’d always loved the show and I thought, “I could do that.” I’m going be 40 soon and I just thought that I could do more with my career so I took a chance. Life is short so rock it out!

What was the audition process like?

It’s very intense and arduous. Each designer has to bring in 3 original, self-made designs and a full portfolio. You are evaluated multiple times before you even get to see Tim Gunn and the other judges. If you are lucky enough to get to that stage they are pretty hard-core about making sure you have the skill set to be on the show. You have to be able to sketch, drape, pattern draft, know fabrications and style models all while looking pretty and seeming moderately interesting while completely sleep deprived. And if you don’t have a clear point of view as a designer—forget it. If you make it past that audition you have to do a video and then a personality exam and on and on. It was very stressful.

What qualities – personal and professional – do you feel landed you the highly coveted spot among the cast?

Well I can illustrate like a mofo so my portfolio presentation was pretty fierce if I do say so myself. Personally I hope I’m likable and witty so I come across pretty well on camera. My video submission had some sass and I love self-deprecation so I didn’t come off as a pompous ass. Though there are some of those peeps as well.

Describe the moment you learned that you were selected for Project Runway. How did you feel?

My inner monologue was “Holy Shit!” But it’s a really strange situation because I had signed such a strict confidentiality agreements that I couldn’t tell anyone. I was walking on the street when I got the call and I just jumped up and down on the sidewalk like a lunatic. No one in New York even looked up. Also I was nude.

What did you worry most about?

Hmmmm. I’m not really a worrier. It’s wasted energy unless you can do something about it. And I rather use that energy perfecting my fire baton routine.

What excited you most about the opportunity?

Honestly—I wanted to see if I had the balls for it. It’s 100 times harder than it seems on TV. We are sleep deprived and there is NO help at all. If a machine breaks—too bad. The time flies by. I was also just excited to be a part of television history. I love the show and I am just so glad to be on it. I also think that because of my openness about my positive HIV status I can do a lot of good for HIV awareness and education. That makes me happy.

What inspires you as a designer? Why?

Well I’ve never been a couture designer or one of those esoteric types that says, “ I saw a golden leaf fall from the branch of a wise old oak tree and right then I envisioned my entire collection.” PLEASE! In truth, I’m very observant. I absorb all visual stimuli around me and I know what looks good. That’s inspiration enough. Oh…and the leaf.

Which designers do you admire?
Kit Pistol, Christian Siriano, Victorya Hong and Kevin Christiana.
They are very up and coming. You may have heard of them.

Which fabrications do you love to work with most?
I don’t have a favorite fabric but I prefer wovens over knits. Wovens are very rigid and usually don’t stretch so you have to be very meticulous about fit. I like that challenge. Knits are more forgiving because they stretch but they can also be a pain in the ass to sew.

What is the color of the moment? Aubergine

What item in your closet can’t you live without? Well I collect sneakers and I have about 70 pair. If I came home one day and they were gone I think I’d have an aneurism.

Tell us something about Heidi Klum that surprised you.
No surprises really. She’s exactly like she seems on the show.

How many times – and under what circumstances – did Tim Gunn have to tell you to: “Make it work?”                Never really. I was never in the bottom 3 and I won the menswear challenge so generally my critiques rocked. Snap!

Now that you are recognized as a Project Runway star what it the best thing that’s happened to you, off the set?

Well I met Dale Levitski  from Top Chef who I adore so that’s hot. Beyond that I have really amazing letters and messages from my family members saying how very proud of me they are. That always makes me cry. I’m a big sap in that respect. I also get really phenomenal emails from viewers that are struggling with their own issues who somehow see me as a role model. I love that and I write back to everyone that takes the time to email me.

What is your future vision – personally and professionally?

We’ll this whole experience has been a wild ride. I’m not married to any ideas just yet. I would love to partner with a drug company or a charity and do some HIV education. I think it’s desperately needed. Of course I will keep designing. For now I will stay in menswear. I made a line of samples which you can see on my website but I’m not sure what I want to do with them yet. Mass production is a HUGE undertaking. Backers? Anyone? (Crickets heard here)
I wouldn’t be opposed to doing more television either. I could sell hot glue guns on QVC and host red carpet events, or maybe Dale and I could have our own show where we just run around in our underwear, Bravo seems to like that about me. I will be seeing more of Dale. That’s for sure.

How would spend your last $20?
Lets see…I would buy eyelash glue, a hair scrunchie, a roll of tape and a D battery and then I’d call MacGyver.

Great article from web MD

Posted in The Fierceness on December 15, 2007 by jackmax2

Project Runway: MRSA, HIV and Jack
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If you’re a Project Runway fan, you’re no doubt wondering how Jack Mackenroth is doing. And you probably have a lot of questions about his MRSA and his health living with HIV.

The good news is that he’s fully recovered from his MRSA infection. But like many other people with MRSA, he had to spend 5 days in the hospital getting strong antibiotics in his veins.

Jack left the show not only to get treatment for his MRSA but also because MRSA is contagious. He didn’t want to risk any of the other designers catching it from him.

MRSA is methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. It’s basically a variant of the very common staph bacteria. But it’s a potentially very dangerous variant. It’s resistant to many antibiotics, including methicillin – hence the name.

MRSA is estimated to kill about 19,000 people a year – most commonly among people with weakened immune systems. Most of these people also appeared to acquire their MRSA in the hospital (more on this later).

Thankfully it’s not resistant to all antibiotics. MRSA can sometimes even be treated with oral antibiotics. However, when the infection is severe, as in Jack’s case, IV (intravenous) antibiotics are needed to knock it out. And in even rarer instances, also as in Jack’s case, surgery is needed to clean out the infection.

Jack’s infection was in his nose and surgeons had to go in and clean out the infected tissue. This is a very important part of treatment when antibiotics alone are not be able to wipe out the infection.

MRSA most commonly affects the skin and mucous membranes – the tissues that line the nose, for example. Wondering what an MRSA infection looks like? Check out WebMD’s new MRSA slideshow.

The question that seems to be on a lot of people’s minds is whether or not Jack being HIV-positive had anything to do with his MRSA. The answer is probably not — definitely not, according to Jack.

While HIV can suppress the immune system and make someone more susceptible to infections like MRSA, Jack is apparently very healthy and has no signs that his immune system has taken a hit.

It’s an important point and something that most people don’t understand. What’s the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Someone with HIV can have a very healthy immune system. AIDS occurs when HIV kills enough of the person’s immune cells and they fall to dangerously low levels. This can lead to unusual and dangerous infections that most of us never have to think about.

But today, people can live years and years with HIV – without having AIDS. Jack has apparently been HIV positive for 17 years and as you can tell looking at him, he’s doing quite well.

That’s the miracle of science at work. In just the 20+ years that we’ve known about HIV and AIDS, the disease has gone from a very quick death sentence to a chronic illness. It’s still a very serious illness and people still die from it every day – yes, even people in the U.S. But with modern drug treatments, people can strive to live a long, healthy, and happy life. And we’ll all keep our fingers crossed that some time in the next 20 years (hopefully sooner), researchers will find a way to wipe it out completely.

So back to MRSA …

Most MRSA infections still occur in the hospital, particularly among people in the intensive care unit or after surgery. But we’re now seeing increasing numbers of MRSA infections in the community – even in schools. Recently, a 17-year old high school football player in Bedford, VA died from MRSA.

I don’t know where Jack got his MRSA from but the point is that it’s out in the community. That said, most community MRSA infections are mild and can be treated fairly easily. And you can take steps to help avoid it.

Excerpt from

Posted in The Fierceness on December 13, 2007 by jackmax2

I hated to go but It was only going to get worse and I couldn’t endanger the other designers. So sad. Please don’t forget me. I was hospitalized for 5 days so I had no choice but to withdraw. I needed IV antibiotics around the clock. Thank you for all the well wishes. I am FULLY recovered. And actually some of the “talking head” clips were actually filmed after I got out of the hospital. Here’s the quote:

“It is a medical issue that Jack will face this week, but he tells us right up front it has nothing to do with him being HIV-positive–explaining that his immune system is not suppressed. But we’ll get to what he doesn’t have in a moment. What he does have is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or “MRSA” for short.
MRSA, according to Wikipedia,
is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It’s also sometimes referred to as the “superbug,” as the combination of natural selection and over-prescribed antibiotic treatments has created a bacterium that’s stronger than anything we have to fight it with. (See? And you thought you were just tuning in to hear about darts and pleats.) Translation: the thing is as tough to kill as that shape-shifting metal robot in Terminator 2.

There are two strains of MRSA, one you typically get in hospitals where lots of people are sick and lots of people have open wounds, and one found in communities where sick people and wounded people aren’t usually in the room next door. Strangely, it’s the communal variety that’s the most dangerous. We don’t know from the brief clip which strain Jack has or where he got it, but if it’s the communal variety there’s more of a danger other people working in very close proximity could get infected.

Wikipedia does say that “current US guidance does not require workers in general workplaces (not healthcare facilities) with MRSA infections to be routinely excluded from going to work,” although it also notes that “workers with active infections should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur until their infections are healed.” Let’s see, does carrying Christian around on your back in the workroom count? And when the presentation of symptoms can include things like “pus-filled boils,” “rashes,” and can lead to “flesh-eating pneumonia,” I think Jack and the producers probably decided to err on the side of caution.

As to what Jack doesn’t have: he doesn’t have AIDS. Jack has said that he is HIV-positive, but that’s not the same thing. Most HIV cases left untreated eventually lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), but treatments with retrovirals (i.e. that big bag of pill bottles Jack has with him) have radically increased the life-expectancy for HIV victims. People with weakened immune systems caused by AIDS are at greater risk for catching MRSA, but from what Jack’s told us there’s no connection between his HIV and his MRSA. The guy’s just incredibly unlucky.

And so are his fans. While some viewers have noted that Jack’s condition may not actually mean he has to leave the show for good, I think the clips are a prelude to Jack announcing that he is withdrawing from the competition. He’s got his hand to his nose all morning before meeting Heidi on the runway, and he wonders aloud if he can sew with one hand. Contagious or not, Jack’s affliction would make it incredibly difficult for him to produce under the kind of pressure and deadlines required by Project Runway.

I just received the sweetest email from a viewer.

Posted in The Fierceness on December 1, 2007 by jackmax2

Hey everyone–I have a lot going on right now for obvious reasons but I try to read and answer all my emails. I’m glad I’m helping some people deal with their HIV status by living openly. Yesterday I received the nicest email and I wanted to post it with his permission. Here it is.


So I’ve been watching you on Project Runway. Congratulations on your
recent victory. But I’m not writing this message because I just know
you are going to be famous some day, or because I love your designs,
or even for the fact tat you are so hot. I am actually writing this
message to let you know that you are my new hero.

All too often, when people lose someone they love or come down with
something terrible like cancer, they give up hope and turn bitter
toward the world. Ever since the show started I noticed that there was
something intriguing about you, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.
Last night’s show revealed that something about you that I have been
racking my brains trying to figure out—your HIV status. WOW, Jack! HIV/
AIDS scares me more than cancer. But I don’t feel sorry for you. Do
you know why? Because you have such a positive outlook on life. When
everyone else is stressing out and fighting about stupid stuff on the
show, you are the one that is always smiling and just going with the
flow of things.

Well, I don’t have to tell you who you are or how you act. You decided
that for yourself a long time ago. But I just wanted to tell you that
you HAVE TO HAVE a lot of support from people all over the United
States. I think you could make such a difference in the lives of
people with life-threatening illnesses. I can’t wait to see how the
season plays out, and Jack, keep spreading your hope and joy around.
People these days need hope more than anything. I can’t wait to read
your memoir.


Thanks to everyone for all the inspiring emails. I hope I make a difference.

Be well.

ox Jack Mack