Jack Mackenroth opens up about online haters, getting older, activism, porn, politics – and more!
I’ve been a fan of Jack’s for a while now for a few reasons. I’ve never interacted with him personally. I (like hundreds of thousands of others) follow him on Instagram and Twitter. What I observed was a guy who isn’t afraid to be bold, brave and use his platforms to express himself freely and openly.
He has an openness and willingness to change which I think is really cool. He’s gone from competitive swimming, to fashion design (you might remember him from season four of Project Runway), to activism, to adult work (more on that in the interview). I was going to add a jack of all trades comment here – but I’ve restrained myself!…
Being open to change is, in my opinion, an underrated quality these days. Sticking to things and persevering through tough times are seen as good qualities. And to an extent, they are. But we seem to celebrate it at all costs. If something isn’t working, there’s nothing wrong with changing things to make things better, right?
(Side Note – I hate the idea of having one true calling. There’s an awesome TED talk on this idea of being a ‘multipotentialite’. It challenges the idea of having just one true calling. It was a real eye opener (in the good way) for me. You can check it out here.)
Jack Mackenroth is a multipotentialite.
And not only has he tried his hand at lots of things, he’s succeeded at most of them too!
Most of us probably associate him with his activist work. For over a decade now, he’s worked tirelessly to promote conversations and reduce the stigma that’s still (unfortunately) associated with HIV/AIDS.
In recent times, Jack’s taken a break from activism and turned his hand to leading the charge to paid fan sites such as OnlyFans and JustFor Fans. Never heard of them? Think Instagram, but you subscribe and pay (a monthly fee) to get access to exclusive ‘fan-only’ content.
I was super stoked to be able to chat with Jack recently. We spoke about the changing role of social media in our lives, dealing with online haters, how he feels about getting older and more!
I’d like to thank Jack for taking the time to speak with me. He’s super busy and I really appreciate it. Hope you guys enjoy our chat!
Jack Mackenroth Interview
Little Gay Blog – In many ways, you were an early adopter of social media and you’ve really maximised the exposure that platforms like Twitter and Instagram provide. I’m interested to know how is your experience on social media different now, to say even five years ago?
Jack – Well, the social media phenomenon kind of smacked me in the face. It was really gaining momentum in 2008 which was the year I was on Project Runway. Facebook was just a baby and we all had MySpace pages. After the show aired, I was “famous” overnight. I started a Facebook page and I was getting 1000 friend requests a day and I felt bad if I didn’t accept them all. They didn’t have fan pages yet so when one account got full I would open another one. I felt this crazy obligations to my fans. Also at the time I was getting a lot of requests for gigs and appearances so it was useful. But it was also a massive time suck.
I also learned very quickly that there are many amazing people in the world but there are also a frightening number of sad, angry, unhappy and mentally ill people who felt compelled to write nasty things about everything from my HIV status, my appearance, my sobriety to what a diva I was and on and on.
It was a valuable lesson. Now I LITERALLY don’t care what anonymous people say about me. Compliments are nice but they are basically the same as insults. It’s all just static from people who don’t know me. Now I just post content on social media and I rarely engage beyond a “like” here and there.
Online hate/negativity/bullying is a recurring theme on the internet. I’d love to know how you deal with online haters, and what advice do you have to other guys (especially younger guys) on how best to deal with it?
Echoing what I said above, it’s all just meaningless drivel. I don’t read anything about myself—especially the comments. I find that most of the time when people leave nasty comments they are actually talking about themselves. The world is shitty enough right now. No need to add to it. I also block like crazy. If you post anything on any of my pages that is negative, I don’t even bother with a clapback, I just remove you from the equation. #byefelicia
Gay men are notorious for being youth obsessed. You’re now in your 40s. How day you feel about ageing? What excites you about it, and is there anything that worries you?
You’re sweet. Technically I’m still in my 40s but I’ll be 50 on April 29th. In my early to mid 30s I was freaked out about ageing. But I believe that stemmed from my own insecurity. I was in the fashion and modelling industry since I was 20 so youth and beauty were highly coveted. Around 35 I started to feel really good in my own skin and my appearance influenced my sense of self worth much less.
I’m more confident (not arrogant) than I’ve ever been. The only part about aging that truly sucks is that your body starts to fight you. I just had corrective eye surgery, I’ve had 8 cortisone shots in my lower back. I have massive hearing loss from dancing inside the speakers at the Roxy for a decade. And it just gets worse. My favorite part is the ear hair. Hair starts growing everywhere. Shaving your ears is something to look forward to. Good times.
You’ve recently transitioned from activism to adult stardom, opening up OnlyFans and Just For Fans sites. I believe you copped a bit of a backlash from some quarters of the LGBTQ community for that. Did that surprise you, and what did you learn most from that experience?
I’m a big boy and unless you’re my family/friend or you pay my mortgage I really don’t give a shit what you think of me. Realising that was so liberating. And the activism is still there. I’ve done a lot for the LGBT community including raising over $250,000 for HIV/AIDS charities by myself. But I honestly don’t feel the need to defend my choices. It’s a tad ironic and certainly hypocritical that members of the LGBTQ community want equal rights but are so often quick to judge when it comes to sex workers. And I don’t know a single man who doesn’t watch porn. Even if I wasn’t making it I’d still be watching it and grateful for the people who make it.
What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
I always get asked that question and I always try to think of some irreverent, sassy answer. Most of the nuts and bolts are covered in my Wikipedia page that some superfans created. It’s shockingly accurate. I really don’t know how they found out some of the detailed information.
I think most people don’t know that I’m quite different from my publicised “brand”. I’m quite introverted and spend a lot of time alone with my dog. I’d love to have a partner but I realize that I’m a lot to deal with since I come with all the external crap. I also have NO game. Meaning I don’t cruise or flirt with any skill. I’m sober. I’m working on my 4th bachelor’s degree in nursing and I can’t tell my right from my left. That enough? Ha.
You were a competitive swimmer in high school. Do you still swim?
I’ve been a competitive swimmer since I was 6. I took a year off of work to train full time when I was 44 and placed 4th, 5th and 6th at Nationals in my best events. I really haven’t been in the pool in about 4 years but eventually I will go back and get in competition form.
Would you ever consider a career in politics? No. However clearly now anyone can do it.
What are your thoughts on Trump? If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me. I honestly can’t compare him to anything that wouldn’t be an insult to the thing I’m comparing him too.
And finally, a few quick questions –
Favourite album? YAZ “Upstairs at Eric’s”
Favourite time of day? Bedtime
Last movie you watched? Bird Box
Dream travel destination? Bali
Life motto? Dance like everyone is watching but just don’t give a fuck. Oh. And don’t be an asshole.
Stay connected with Jack
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