good-nature that is so inspiring.  You
can’t help but want to be in his
presence.  “I’m an artist...I’m really into
painting right now.”  And you just don’t
know what to expect out of him!  “I do
wanna be in a horror movie...and be
killed; have my leg hacked off!  I love
horror movies.”  And he gets a very
impish joy out of admitting this to me...a
very authentic, childish glee in perhaps
one day realizing this nightmarish dream.

If attitude is everything, than Jack’s got
that in spades!  He’s also got a plan, the
vision and the foresight to see exactly
what opportunities lay before him, and
as far as obstacles...except for the
occasional bump and bruise along the
rough road to finding “Mr. Right”, there is
nothing standing in his way that isn't a challenge he’ll face with sharp wit, and honesty
as his weapons.

And in the end...it’ll all just be part of his grand design.
----------------------------------------------------
Check out more about Jack Mackenroth by visiting his website at:
www.jackmackenroth.com.
For more on “Living Positive by Design” goto:
www.myspace.com/livingpositivebydesign
Cover photo credit : www.Bradwalsh.com


CLICK HERE For more articles by JC Alvarez

Copyright ©  AMBIENTE MAGAZINE.   Do not reproduce without citing these sources.
.
Among his entrepreneurial credits, is his work for “Living Positive by Design” which
coordinates a nationwide effort to promote HIV and AIDS education though various
campaigns that encourage awareness of the disease and it’s prevention through the art
of design.  Design being an integral aspect of what Jack is all about.  He admits that
whatever direction his future may take, he’ll always be a designer.

With this much going for himself, you would imagine that Jack’s cell phone provider
would be wishing they had never introduced the “everything plan” and that he just
wouldn't have enough roll-over minutes to matter!  It’s nice though to assume that even
this superman suffers his own kryptonite.

“I’m very unlucky in love,” Mackenroth admits, with candor albeit, but still a chad of
notable remorse, but still a tilt of humor.  “I even (dated) one that became a monk!  Six
months after we broke up, he went into a monastery...and he’s still a monk, today.  But
my last boyfriend was a very nice guy...he’s sweet, I still talk with him, but I don’t want to
be in that situation.”

One would have imagined that with his charming personality (he is so well spirited) and
good looks (yes...all of him does look that good close up) and with the celebrity that he’s
brought upon himself, Jack Mackenroth would have no problem filling his dance card.  
Jokingly Mackenroth added, “I’ll take anything!  I thought there’d be star-fuckers out
there...but, no!”  All of us can relate though, regardless of whether or not we've assumed
any amount of celebrity or notoriety -- dating is tough!  And often times it’s difficult for
many to even scratch past the surface of someone’s persona to get to the “real” person
living inside -- imagine it from Jack Mackenroth's perception where he’s opted to live his
life so openly, so publicly, that there’s very little that anyone doesn't know about him.  
Certainly the perception becomes quite skewed, because there really is more to this
man of steel than meets the eye.

After sitting with Jack for this interview, I realized there is still so much more dimension
to him than perhaps he’s even realized.  He exudes a wonderfully
production.  “They (meaning
the producers) didn't want us
to have any other influences,
except for the other
contestants -- and we weren't
aloud to talk to any of the
production staff -- we could
only talk to each other!”

There was an extreme
importance to the producers
to immediately begin to
establish the show characters
early on; this was something
he wasn't entirely
comfortable with.  Knowing
full well the power of the
media and the perception it
might create especially to a
viable audience.  “I knew  
that I didn't want to come off
as being bitchy.  I’m not
mean spirited -- it’s all part of
my humor.”

“I don’t think the public understands the time constraints we’re under.”  To the audience
tuning into the design competition, is an hour of poor escapism, at least until the next
episode!  The audience wants to believe that these type-A, eagerly talented, and
(mostly) over-the-top personalities are able to create
unique approach to his fashion
and design concepts.  
Mackenroth had resigned himself
to the entire experience of being
on television after realizing the
show’s true purpose: “Their
ultimate goal is to get the best tv
show.  Some of the other
designers had even considered
staging a revolt!“  Upon
accepting the concept that
come what may, he had very
little control over how he would
be portrayed on camera, he
settled into the experience.  “I
thought it was fun, and I made
the most of it.”

But there are few people in our
culture today that wouldn’t submit themselves to the rigors of what Mackenroth
experienced as a contestant on Project Runway.  Everyone is eager for their own 15
minutes and would without a second notion consider having their lives invaded and lived
for the consumption of a greedy audience.  “You get used to it...having a camera all up in
your grill, but we’re not actors -- you just get used to it.”  For all intents and purposes, I
got the impression that Jack’s experience on the show was undeniably different than
perhaps some of his other cohorts.  “By the second day...you’ve forgotten that they’re
following you.”  He just appeared a lot more relaxed of having participated in the entire
process -- as if it didn’t in the least surprise him at all.  This taste of reality stardom didn’
t in the least phase him.
Mackenroth knew exactly what he was signing up for.

“I was very cognizant of the process,” and Jack insisted he had very little control
www.ambiente.us  APRIL | ABRIL 2009

Project Jack Mackenroth | Redesigning Reality
by JC Alvarez, Exclusively for Ambiente

During his stint on the hit BRAVO reality show Project Runway Jack Mackenroth
decidedly let more than just the cameras into his world, he gave up a small chunk of
his existence for the opportunity to realize a facet of his life’s ambition.  And little did he
anticipate that making his mark on the reality show spectrum would have the impact
that it did!  Without really attempting to, Mackenroth sparked a lightning rod of
controversy -- and set himself up for post-Runway celebrity!

I asked about his experience living inside the bubble of reality television.  In our
celebrity obsessed culture, turning the camera on ourselves uninhibitedly has seemed
the easiest way to garner some attention.  Jack approached his experience on Project
Runway in much the same way he’s faced all life’s adversities -- head on, fearlessly
and with no expectations.

“We dropped off our luggage and they went through everything...we weren’t aloud any
music, reading material of any kind...not even a Danielle Steele novel!”  The purpose, of
course, is to keep the show’s production “evergreen” -- timeless in order to survive well
into the world of syndication.  He continued to describe to me, with roller-coaster-fast-
quickness the first couple of days of
.
.
.
.
.
in manipulating the reality show animal, but knew how to orchestrate certain
situations to his advantage.  “I knew that even when it came to how I would be leaving.  
I knew it would be a very important moment in the show.”  Jack left the show after
developing a symptom of MRSA (or “staph”) a bacterial infection, and not at all
associated with his HIV positive diagnosis.  “I was very happy with it all, but it ended
too quickly for me.”

The Seattle native, began to carve his niche attending the University of California at
Berkeley, with degrees in Fine Arts and Sociology.  It was the artistically eclectic
environment at Berkeley that spurned Jack’s desire to move out to New York City.  
Attending Parsons School of Design motivated the aspiring designer to pursue a
career in fashion design.  It wasn’t long before, Mackenroth opened up his own
menswear shop in the West Village and called it, just “Jack”!  Expanding on his own
distinct style of fashion design, he
magic before the clock runs out on their design challenge and often times produce the
most breathtaking art out of the most unusual materials.  It’s in the final moments when
they prep their runway models to parade in front of Heidi Klum and the rest of the
judges, to reveal their efforts, that we (the viewer) become the most engaged!  When the
fruits of their labor is realized and then judged -- celebrated or trashed -- before our
eyes.  We've not for one instance assumed that the day hasn't gone on without a single
miscalculated stitch!  It all appears so...seamless.

To anyone that is unfamiliar with the art of making television (and seriously in this day
and age of YouTube, there are very few individuals out there that don’t understand what
goes into the making of good tv -- you need to have drama!  Jack admitted, “they want
the stress...they often instigated it.”  Although the purpose of the fashion competition is
to discover and define the latest fashion icon, the reality show thrived on creating an
environment for it’s cast of characters, that was a near-pressure cooker situation!  All for
the sake of capturing the best moments...and we, the audience digested every minute
hungrily!

“I was prepared for the worst...but there were a couple of other
designers that weren't even aware of Project Runway. It wasn't
until the first challenge that one of the competitors (I won’t
name who) made a particularly hideous dress and we all
watched the runway show -- and when she wasn't sent home -
then we realized oh, all this is fake!”  


What set Jack apart from the rest of his class of competitors wasn't just his
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.
                 accepted a position with Tommy Hilfiger, before transitioning
                  back to menswear for the Levis brand Slates.  “Everything that
                  I've made in my life, I've made happen.”  It wasn't long before
                 Jack landed himself on Season 4 of Project Runway.

                  The rest, most will say is history, but it’s not where Jack
                  Mackenroth’s story ends.  For that matter it wasn't even where
                  his story began.  Project Runway was just one more stop along
                  the ride that is the life of this ambitious entrepreneur.

                 Jack Mackenroth has used his various gifts and talents, among
                 that adding his voice, to raise awareness about living positively
                 with HIV.  He has  been living with his diagnosis since 1990 and
                 whole heartedly accepted the responsibility that comes with
                 that.  By choosing to live openly, he’s challenged the stigma
                 that is often associated with HIV/AIDS, and to look at Jack, he’s
                 undoubtedly changed the face of living with HIV.  He is the
                 picture of health...perfectly handsome and rugged looking, with
                 an amazingly powerful physique, that he is forces himself proudly
to maintain because he is also a competitive swimmer.

Jack will be competing this year at the OUT Games in Copenhagen.  “I’m training now
for a meet the end of July.  So I hardcore train everyday!”  He specializes in the 50-Meter
Breaststroke, which explains the man’s ample lower body strength (read: great ass)
and his impressive upper-body proportions.  “The best part is, that I’ll be swimming
twice a day, and burning so many calories...I’ll be eating like 4 pizzas!”  I’m sure
everyone out there would be thrilled to hear that he indulges himself so gratuitously, but
truly he takes his health and training very seriously and doesn't over do it.  The man is
extremely disciplined...as if one couldn't tell, but he’s good to himself and balances he’s
training and healthy lifestyle as not to make it a burden.  “I’m not an all-or-nothing
person, but I do eat well and don’t really let myself go...I don’t drink, I don’t really have a
sweet tooth.  I don’t eat that many carbs.  Only once in a while”, he adds with a smile.
.