What becomes of oversharing reality-TV egos after the spotlight dims? Most end up on VH1, but Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll managed to regain center stage without stooping to date Flavor Flav. Following the struggling designer in the run-up to his first “real” fashion show (11 minutes long) in 2007, this documentary reveals a more exhausted and conflicted McCarroll than the one that snarked his way to boob-tube victory.
The film is less glossy than anything on Bravo, but artifice remains; think Runway Redux, only with grainy shots of artistically shadowed staircases and more obscenities. Granted, Eleven Minutes does have the patience to showcase the fashion industry’s mind-numbing compromises, and gets points for portraying the ebb and flow of actual relationships. Real life doesn’t have camera-mugging villains; the designer and his circle bounce from rosy to vividly hostile as stresses fade and intensify.
McCarroll himself fires off plenty of quips: “I’m the fucking poster boy for angry insecurity,” he whines with equal parts self-awareness and performance. We’re not sure the male diva is kidding when he claims inspiration from “diarrhea and vaginal discharge,” but his talent is never really in question. McCarroll’s 15 minutes of fame came pretty easily; it’s his 11 minutes of industry respect that will make his mark.