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Jack Not Letting Project Runway "Shocker" Get Him Down


Since some of you may not have seen last night's Project Runway, I'll post comments AFTER THE JUMP... [[SPOILERS]]

As you may or may not know, Jack Mackenroth, who has talked previously on the show about the fact that he's been living with HIV for 17 years, left Project Runway last night because he developed a staph infection called MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which he explains (via a clip from gratz industries) more fully on his site:

"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."

Jack talks about the episode in an interview on Bravo Outzone:

"I announced it to the cast. Everyone cried, and then I literally dropped my scissors and went to the hospital. I was in the hospital for five days, and I had to have an IV of a really hardcore antibiotic -- twice a day for five days. The good thing about this is that if you catch it quickly enough, it goes away as quickly as it comes. It was weird, as soon as they give you the antibiotic, you kinda feel fine. I was kinda sitting in the hospital like 'Ugh, I’m bored.' And they did actually have to go in, and a plastic surgeon cut open the inside of my mouth because they had to drain all the stuff. It was really hardcore. For about a month afterwards I had a little bit of nerve damage actually. I could feel a little tingling in my face, but that’s all gone now. So then, I think I came back about a week later just to do my exit interview stuff. … When you see me talking on the show, in (last night's) episode, when my face is not swollen, that’s after I’ve already come back from the hospital. I kinda just want that to be clear just because I know a lot of people are saying, 'I hope you’re OK.' I know a lot of people think the show happens in real time. But just so it’s clear – I’m fine."

Anyway, kudos to Jack for handling the episode with candor and grace and educating a lot of people about living with HIV in the process. Jack is a fan of Towleroad and sent along the photo at the top of this post last night just after the episode aired.

He also wanted to share the following video with you. Jack's definitely not letting this exit get him down. I have no doubt we'll be hearing more from him. In the words of Tim Gunn, "Carry on."

Jack: Dating, HIV, and The Everyday Woman [bravo outzone]
Jack Mackenroth [blog]

Jack Mackenroth Offers Insight into Dale Levitski Reality Romance [tr]
Real Reality Couple: Jack Mackenroth and Dale Levitski Dating [tr]
Project Runway: Jack Mackenroth Makes it Work [tr]

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  1. THAT. IS. FABULOUS! I have not watched the show so I am not familiar with Jack Mack, but the video just made my day by showing what makes that gay man special. What a wonderful attitude. Gay affirmation with candor, style and grace.

    Posted by: rudy | Dec 13, 2007 8:38:20 AM

  2. Before I get catty let me just say that I'm glad Jack is okay and kudos to him for being out there. However, has plastic surgery ever been more obvious on a person than it was in last night's episode? When his cheek was puffed up you could see every structured correction around his eyes and noes. He looked like one of the Wicked Witch's monkeys or Zira from Planet of the Apes.

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 13, 2007 8:42:56 AM

  3. That child ain't right. Sure do wish I knew him for real.

    Posted by: Princess Superstar | Dec 13, 2007 8:55:41 AM

  4. In the last 2 years I've met at least 20 people who've had staph infections, both MRSA and the more common drug sensitive kind. I've had three myself (two related MRSAs and one regular one I got through a cut on my foot. I was in the hospital for 3 days with the regular kind. The MRSA was treated with anormal antibiotic (they do cultures to find out what it is resistant to). It is not life threatening except in very very rare case (where people don't go to the doctor for weeks or months and it gets into the blood stream) and it is very treatable by a number of antibiotics, just not by methicillin. I've never seen anybody make such a big deal about anything. What an idiotic drama queen.

    Posted by: Jon | Dec 13, 2007 9:02:21 AM

  5. I was not a jack fan

    BUT, last night's episode tugged at my heart strings and now I think he is great.


    I hope PRW brings him back next season without making him try out since he wasn't technicaly kicked off.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Dec 13, 2007 9:21:32 AM

  6. I'm sure Jon knows that medical decision making is dependent upon individual variability. Jack had had this twice before, and he knew what worked for him the previous two times. I'm also sure that Mike knows that lots of people have plastic surgery, particularly people who've been HIV+ for umpteen years and might have been dealing with some facial wasting in the past.

    Gosh, folks... he's unapologetically gay, he's open about being HIV+, and he appeared to have some integrity and kindness about him in the show. I don't know Jack at all, but it seems like he deserves a little more for those efforts than what I'm seeing here. I think he did a great job, and I hope he's offered a spot in the next season of PR.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 13, 2007 9:29:27 AM

  7. ...that is SO Sweet...
    with a brilliant cameo by Olympic Gold Medalist, Bruce Hayes, I might add....
    Those boys have futures!

    Posted by: kile Ozier | Dec 13, 2007 9:32:27 AM

  8. ...that is SO Sweet...
    with a brilliant cameo by Olympic Gold Medalist, Bruce Hayes, I might add....
    Those boys have futures!

    Posted by: kile Ozier | Dec 13, 2007 9:33:56 AM

  9. They should bring him back for a future episode where everyone designs Flash Dance outfits for Jack!

    Posted by: sam | Dec 13, 2007 9:34:55 AM

  10. I'm with Brian... I don't understand where the hostility comes from. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, right?

    Posted by: Chris M, Hunk du Jour | Dec 13, 2007 9:36:13 AM

  11. Standard medical protocal for a drug resistant Staph infection when you're HIV positive is, unsurprisingly, hospitalization and IV antibiotics. So please, Jon, off the high horse.

    Posted by: Dan E | Dec 13, 2007 9:45:40 AM

  12. "I've never seen anybody make such a big deal about anything. What an idiotic drama queen."

    So I guess being forced to prematurely leave the show thus forfeiting the chance to win a pontentially life altering / dream fufilling competition was no "big deal"?

    Not to mention the damage said infection poses to an already impaired immune system!!?

    Jon, you may not be a drama queen (though the faggotry involved in your post would imply differently) but you ARE kind of a jerk! Give me a Jack over a bitter jackass anyday.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Dec 13, 2007 9:49:33 AM

  13. This guy weirds me out so much. He's as femme as Chris Crocker but in an Arnold Schwarzenegger muscle man body!

    Posted by: Thomas | Dec 13, 2007 9:52:18 AM

  14. "This guy weirds me out so much. He's as femme as Chris Crocker but in an Arnold Schwarzenegger muscle man body!"

    Um have you ever been to NYC?

    Posted by: Jake | Dec 13, 2007 10:09:58 AM

  15. I swear, it's catty here 24/7, Give this man a break. He's been through a whole lot more than some of you motherfuckers in 38 years.

    Anyway, Jack, since you're a Towleroad reader, you went out with class and everyone who watches is glad you're healthy and happy. We'll miss you on the show, but life goes on. Good luck to you in your every endeavor.

    Posted by: Marco | Dec 13, 2007 10:33:34 AM

  16. Ditto what Marco said.

    Best wishes. Keep strong, you're an inspiration.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Dec 13, 2007 10:38:59 AM

  17. Great Video! Thanks for giving me a smile this morning!

    "you went out with class and everyone who watches is glad you're healthy and happy. We'll miss you on the show, but life goes on. Good luck to you in your every endeavor."


    Posted by: RockyMountainGayGuy | Dec 13, 2007 10:48:01 AM

  18. Jack.. You rock man! You have fans that you don't even know about who look up to you in the face of how you handled this.

    I vote for you for President.

    Posted by: Darren | Dec 13, 2007 10:57:40 AM

  19. Wow there have been a few times where I've opined without really having all the facts but hopefully I haven't been so nasty as it's been getting here.

    I've worked in a nursing home for three years and haven't seen 20 cases of Staph, so perhaps Jon lives in a hot zone where even METHICILLIN-Resistant staph can be treated by methicillin. Although I'm no doctor, I'd say Jon was mistaken as to whether or not he's actually had MRSA, which is "the resistant kind" and life threatening, especially to someone whose immune system is compromised.

    I had the regular staph in my ear and that was absolute hell. Even that was life threatening. So where the hell are some of you people getting your medical knowledge? This shit ain't as benign as a pimple, and Jack don't got no sneezy-cold, either. Have some compassion for the man who has something really serious!

    I'm not happy that Jack to leave, but I am happy Heidi never told him he was "out!" I'd wear his clothes any day... And I'm drooling over the thought of him coming after me with those biceps holding a tape measure...

    Posted by: justincredible | Dec 13, 2007 11:06:30 AM

  20. I have lost two dear friends to aggressive staph infections over the past year. The latest one was NOT HIV positive and was a 70 year old woman who contracted it in her leg (not from a hospitalization)and died five days later. In Texas, 2 student athletes - in great physical condition - have died in the last year. Geez, get over being so jaded.

    Posted by: Paul | Dec 13, 2007 11:09:24 AM

  21. As an openly HIV+, gay male I have to say I was more than impressed by the way Jack handled his status on this show. He did us all proud. I wish him the best of luck and sincerely hope to see him on this show next season or maybe Bravo/LOGO could give him his own show. I know me and my friends would watch.
    To all you catty, hateful, jealous bitches: well nothing actually, we are all that way on a bad day... carry on.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 13, 2007 11:19:35 AM

  22. It's the GAYEST thing I've seen all day...
    Luved it!

    Posted by: no-no | Dec 13, 2007 11:20:03 AM


    Posted by: CLIFF | Dec 13, 2007 11:59:31 AM

  24. Just wanted to be one more voice against the "catty, hateful, jealous bitches" who've posted here. And I have to disagree with you Brian; we are not all that way on a bad day. There is always a better choice, and some of us take it.

    Posted by: JT | Dec 13, 2007 11:59:31 AM

  25. I was shocked at how cavalierly the show appeared to handle what is essentially a MRSA outbreak. I hope they cleaned the work and living spaces and tested the crew and contestants to make sure they weren't inadvertently exposed.

    The reason MRSA has gotten so totally out of control is the ridiculous ignorance and carelessness with which medical professionals respond to it (and the public's ACCURATE knowledge of it). I've heard the most outrageously stupid things from nurses and doctors since the death of the guy in VA. People that don't know anything about public health should shut up.

    CA-MRSA not only exists inside Jack's body, but also outside on his skin. Being a diabetic, which is essentially a walking puncture wound with all the testing, this concerns me no end. I've been blogging on this since the USC football team successfully controlled a crippling outbreak.

    And BTW, CA-MRSA is most often NOT highly curable, it's highly treatable and highly manageable - but that requires a lot of responsibility on the part of the facility(ies) where the infection took place and, most importantly, on the part of the carrier or infected individual. Does that profile sound familiar?

    I really hope Jack warned them to take immediate precautions. I'd really hate to hear a year from now that several people from the show (especially those sharing the living space with Jack) have become impacted.

    David B.

    Posted by: David B. | Dec 13, 2007 12:00:27 PM

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