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August 24, 2007 7:18 PM   Subscribe

The Near-Fame Experience: A fascinating interview with former contestants of Bravo reality television shows Project Runway and Top Chef, presenting the fickle nature of fame and how it can come at significant professional and personal cost, if at all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Though he’s the first- season winner of Project Runway, Jay, 32, is still homeless in New York.

Well when they ran the second season and they'd 'check-in' with him he'd always be giving many excuses why he didn't have a collection done and ready. Same thing in the third seasons - just more excuses. I think he got lazy, wasted the publicity/momentum and screwed himself in the end.
posted by ao4047 at 7:37 PM on August 24, 2007


Foodie reality shows are my favorite porn, and it still blows my mind that the winner of Hell's Kitchen gets their own restaurant. At least, that's how it's advertised. I think the season one winner actually turned down the restaurant to apprentice with Ramsay once he made him an offer he "couldn't refuse."

It's weird though. I know nothing about fashion, but I'd rather take a chance trying to become the next Alexander McQueen or something. Food is just more universal I guess. You can't fake it if it tastes like shit. Plenty of great designers (and artists and writers) were prolific fakers though. It goes with the territory.

Interesting read.
posted by bardic at 7:39 PM on August 24, 2007


What ao4047 said.
posted by Poolio at 7:42 PM on August 24, 2007


(WTF? Rachel died? This is what I get for not reading reality-TV blogs more often!)
posted by bardic at 7:43 PM on August 24, 2007


Ilan and Jeffrey both broke up with their girlfriends after their shows ended and they became famous?

If so, douchebags.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:11 PM on August 24, 2007


I must have completely unrealistic expectations of how reality-show participants are compensated. I mean, they gave the dude $500 for the reunion show? WTF? Five hundred bucks? I know they're a small cable channel, but jeez....$500? That's a slap in the face.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:42 PM on August 24, 2007


Jay McCarroll wants everyone to know that, contrary what it says in that Jennifer Senior article that positioned him as the poster boy for post-reality show nonfame, he is not homeless. So he made this video of himself acting all homeless.
posted by mediareport at 8:52 PM on August 24, 2007


Jay McCarroll had posted a couple youtube videos responding to the whole homeless thing, but they're gone now. It was basically him holding a sign saying "will design for food" and yelling at people on the street. Here's the video but it has an annoying soundtrack to it.
posted by puke & cry at 8:56 PM on August 24, 2007


God damnit, mediareport.
posted by puke & cry at 8:56 PM on August 24, 2007


Harold, who won the first season of Top Chef, recently opened a restaurant in NYC: Perilla (NYTimes review)
posted by smackfu at 8:57 PM on August 24, 2007


Well, puke, at least you beat me to the Crystal Waters remix. But I counter with NYMag's response.
posted by mediareport at 9:00 PM on August 24, 2007


Also, I just scanned the article but I don't think it mentioned that Marcel Vigneron pissed off one fan so much that she smashed him in the face with a bottle.
posted by puke & cry at 9:08 PM on August 24, 2007


I wasn't feeling sorry for Jay McCarroll until I read this:

More than any former Bravo contestant, it’s Jay who has fought the bitterest fight for his intellectual property, though it wasn’t with Bravo itself. After he won the first season of Project Runway, he discovered that the Weinstein Company would forever own a 10 percent stake in his brand—and he didn’t yet even have a brand—if he chose to take their $100,000 prize. He turned it down. The company has since dropped the clause. But the fight left Jay without any money, and it left Bravo with an embittered winner—and one whose orientation wasn’t necessarily all that commercial to begin with.

That really was shitty.
posted by orange swan at 9:45 PM on August 24, 2007


I agree orange swan - that was one messed up clause.

Also Jay interviews in Season 3 that he needed to learn about the business - and he wanted to make sure that in his clothes being manufactured no sweat shop work would be involved, among some other issues.

I think it's fair for it to take a couple of years to learn the business - not sure why he attracts so much criticism.
posted by gomichild at 11:18 PM on August 24, 2007


"I must have completely unrealistic expectations of how reality-show participants are compensated. I mean, they gave the dude $500 for the reunion show? WTF? Five hundred bucks? I know they're a small cable channel, but jeez....$500? That's a slap in the face"

That is part of why TV has gone to these types of shows...cheap talent and minimal expenses for writers. They also prey on Amerika's worship of television as savior of their pitiful lives- "If I could only get on TV, all my problems will be instantly over. Money fame and fortune will come instantly, if I get on TV." It's part of the bigger problem in Amerika...the belief that TV is reality. Look around you, fools. You are living in reality!
posted by GreyFoxVT at 2:21 AM on August 25, 2007


I knew there was no hope for us when I overheard a woman describing the police showing up in force at her apartment to arrest a drug dealer as being "Like something from reality TV"
posted by Grimgrin at 2:44 AM on August 25, 2007


$500 is the per diem rate for a speaking appearance... even people who go on Leno (etc) get that amount. TOM CRUISE got that amount for going on Oprah.

**

I have never seen Top Chef... I guess because we have a better show here called Masterchef :-)
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:17 AM on August 25, 2007


I'm in Canada. We get both Masterchef and Top Chef, and you my Masterchef loving friend lose. A couple of swarmy know nothing ponces picking apart a seventeen year old street kids spaghetti is not riveting television.
posted by Keith Talent at 7:51 AM on August 25, 2007


Foodie reality shows are my favorite porn, and it still blows my mind that the winner of Hell's Kitchen gets their own restaurant.

It kind of went from an completely new restraunt of their own to a job in a casino run restrauynt in Las Vegas, which seems like a significant stepdown to me. The contestants seme to have been getting worse and worse as well.
posted by Artw at 8:13 AM on August 25, 2007


$500 is the per diem rate for a speaking appearance

According to kink.com, you have to do a lot more than speak to get $500.
posted by grouse at 11:10 AM on August 25, 2007


it still blows my mind that the winner of Hell's Kitchen gets their own restaurant

Heather, the winner of season two of Hell's Kitchen, is listed as senior chef at her restaurant rather than the promised executive chef prize.
posted by jamaro at 12:03 PM on August 25, 2007


$500 is the per diem rate for a speaking appearance... even people who go on Leno (etc) get that amount. TOM CRUISE got that amount for going on Oprah.

The $500 paid to actors appearing on talk shows is not a per-diem; it's different than a payment for someone on a reality show.

It's required to pay Screen Actors Guild members a minimum scale payment (it's currently about $750 for a principal performer) for appearances, which is basically the minimum wage that has been negotiated by SAG. Even if Tom Cruise wanted to appear on Oprah for free, doing so would violate the collective bargaining agreement of his union.

I am not certain whether these reality stars are even eligible to join SAG based on their appearances, though I'm pretty sure that most of them wouldn't bother. Any payments to could then be arbitrarily negotiated and are not subject to SAG's guidelines (yet another reason for producers to love reality TV and actors, writers, etc. to hate it).
posted by camcgee at 1:59 PM on August 25, 2007


It kind of went from an completely new restraunt of their own to a job in a casino run restrauynt in Las Vegas, which seems like a significant stepdown to me.

Arguably, a paid position is better than ownership anyways, given the attrition rate of restaurants.

But it still seems fishy.

AMIRITE?
posted by bardic at 2:05 PM on August 25, 2007


Andy Warhol said we'd each get 15 minutes of fame in the future. That's a freebie. What he didn't tell us is that any fame after that costs extra, and the price often goes up the longer you want to be famous.

In the case of people like Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, or Tom Cruise, the price is your soul. Most people, like say Bob Saget for example, the cost pretty much stops at your dignity.

I wouldn't mind having Bob Saget kinda fame. I have no dignity anyway. Sometimes though, you don't get to choose what kinda fame you're gonna get or how much it'll cost ya.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2007


Top Chef is awesome TV. Even if they're whoring season 3 out for as long as possible, it's riveting stuff.
posted by graventy at 9:28 PM on August 26, 2007


Someone I am acquainted with is going to be on the next season of Beauty And The Geek. I am confused by this on any number of levels.

But mostly I am curious to see what the aftermath is like, I suspect it will be very, very, very remotely like this.
posted by sparkletone at 8:12 PM on August 27, 2007


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