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What the Hell Happened to Project Runway's Jeffrey Sebelia?

Oh, Jeffrey. You won Project Runway 3, despite allegations of cheating launched at you by pregnant nemesis Laura, making a fellow contestant's mother cry, and a general air of self-entitlement spurred on by a mixture of cockiness, success, and a variety of neck tattoos. So, what's become of you since the camera stopped rolling?

I'm not the only one who's been wondering what former Project Runway contestant Jeffrey Sebelia has been up to since he won the fashion reality series' top prize, including $100,000, a Saturn, and a mentorship with Macy and I.N.C.

In fact, New York Magazine's Amy Larocca has an extremely candid interview with Sebelia in this week's issue, in which he admits that he's broke and his next gig is fact designing costumes for the upcoming live-action Bratz motion picture. That $100K grand prize went to paying off a huge debt for his clothing line (that would be Cosa Nostra, which once dressed Gwen Stefani, most likely in her pre-L.A.M.B. days); by the end of the interview, he's scrounging for $3 to pay the valet. Ouch.

And as for the persona he embodied over the course of the season, it was definitely as pre-thought out as his designs. "I thought I'd start out really dark and annoying," Sebelia tells Larocca. Furthermore, according to the New York Magazine piece:
Sebelia wasn’t surprised he made the callbacks nor that he was picked as one of fifteen contenders on the show. His plan was to be the Santino of Season 3. Being a jerk had paid off for his friend, who’d made it to the finals, and Sebelia knew that a hated reality-show star was more valuable than a popular one. “I was fully prepared to be in front of the cameras and say outlandish things and make people snicker,” Sebelia says.
Hmmm. Since the filming, Sebelia's fallen on hard times: the breakup of his relationship with girlfriend Melanie (the mother of his son Harrison), the repayment of Cosa Nostra's massive debt, and a gradual distance from the judges and producers of Project Runway.

And that mentorship with Macy's that was promised as part of the Project Runway prize package? According to Sebelia, it was "slow to begin."

So how is Sebelia paying the bills nowadays? “I’m almost afraid to admit what I’m doing, but it’s costumes for a movie,” he tells Larocca. “It’s a live-action movie for the Bratz... Yeah, those slutty dolls.”

It's a little frightening to think that the winner of Project Runway would be reduced to such circumstances, but it's not as though previous winners Jay McCarroll or Chloe Dao have since made huge splashes in the fashion world since their turns on the Project Runway catwalk. Still, given Sebelia's drive and innate talent (his final runway show really was stunning), I am surprised at how things have turned out for him.

Is it Karma? Does putting on a spiteful and arrogant persona on a nationally televised reality show make people less likely to take you seriously as a designer and businessman? Or is the prize at the end of the catwalk just really not all that much in the end?

You decide. But regardless, it's a hell of a profile and a no-holds-barred glimpse into Sebelia's world.


par3182 said…
it couldn't have happened to a nicer person...

hee hee hee
Anonymous said…
::looks at par3182's note::

haha. exactly.

Karma. Boomerang.
His persona may have been "fake" but he still acted like an ass and it's hard to feel bad for the guy.
Anonymous said…
At least Jeffrey didn't blame it on the editing. Although the "it was all an act" excuse is getting pretty threadbare, too. Didn't his compatriot Santino make that same claim? I'm happy to throw the Faux A-holes in with the Real A-holes and call it a day.
Anonymous said…
I never thought he had any talent. I never thought he was 'innovative'. It was just plain ugly to me. Laura had a great piece, and I think Uli was the best though I even hated some of her work throughout the season.
Anonymous said…
To the ANONYMOUS guy -- people like you are the ones who would be caught sniggering at an original Commes des Garcon or Hedi Slimane design, were you not shown the label beforehand. J.S. is visionary, daring, and talented. He's not cut out for MANGO and ZARA. People like ANONYMOUS guy over here are suckers for mass retail. You shouldnt be allowed to watched shows like Project Runway. Take a hike to DEBENHANMS willya?
Anonymous said…
The show is about fashion, not who is the nicest or most evil! Jeffrey was the most inivotive of the designers. Laura the borer was very one-dimensional in her designs. Uli is obsessed with pattern materials. And Michael showed off some excellent fashion but seemed to fold when the pressure was turned up.
Anonymous said…
niz, well put

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