JASON SCARLATTI, Creative Director at 2(x)ist

Are you ready for an amazing weekend judging the “Miss Paradise” pageant (Sunday, February 17)? What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m so excited to be a judge this year. I would LOVE some wig-snatching and cat-fighting, but I’m most looking forward to watching some fierce talent and seeing what all the contestants have to offer. Very exciting!

So many New Yorkers make the Asbury Park area their “home away from home” after spending some time down here. What is it about the area that keeps you coming back?

I’m looking for the fountain of youth or Narnia – but in my travels I have fallen madly in love with the Jersey Shore. I recently bought a home in Ocean Grove, the town right next door to Asbury Park. Of course, Paradise has become a “home away from home” as you say, and the community has welcomed me with open arms. So far, I’m having a blast!

You originally studied at Parsons Design. Any thoughts of ever joining the ranks of the “Project Runway” contestants and doing some “competitive designing”?

Wow – great question. I’ve never thought of it, but maybe you are planting a seed. I so admire the work that Josh and Suede have done on Project Runway. Attending Parson’s was very similar to what you see on the show. It was very stressful and felt as if you were thrown into the industry. I loved it. Tim Gunn was the president when I was there, so I actually had the pleasure of hearing him call out “designers” when he walked into the room on many occasions. He is an amazing man, exactly how he is on TV!

When you’re not creating exciting and innovative designs for 2(x)ist, I hear we can find you doing stand-up comedy? Tell me about how you entered that world.

Yes – I’ve been doing stand-up comedy on and off since 2005. I was working at Tommy Hilfiger at the time and felt very stuck in my career. I wanted to challenge myself in my personal life and explore new territory. I am the type of person that needs to expand and evolve at all times (good or bad), so I dove into comedy. It is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Gay comedians are definitely an up and coming trend, with guys like Adam Sank and yourself blazing the trails through the clubs in New York. What do you think separates comedians like yourself from other comedians?

The things I find funny are quite simple. I really am attracted to everyday contradictions, human behavior and most of all making fun of myself. I don’t like “mean” comedy. I feel like people come to a comedy show to be lifted up, not to be put down. I LOVE comedians – Adam Sank really is a trailblazer and should be very proud of the path he has created, and the opportunity he has opened up for other gay comedians. What separates me from other comedians? My wardrobe. [laughs]

2(x)ist has always been my preferred brand of underwear (insert shameless plug). What is it about the world of underwear that you think gay men gravitate toward? Any specific changes you see coming this spring/summer?

I think I am obsessed with designing underwear. I love it. Its challenging and very competitive.  Designing is very limited – there is only so much you can do to a pair of skivvies. But I am attracted to the challenge. I think underwear is a vehicle to help men and women feel good about themselves. It’s a confidence booster. If you are wearing a great pair of underwear, odds are you feel good about yourself, no matter what shape or size. It’s that simple. I love that men are embracing new color and fabrication in their underwear. I love that there are risk takers out there, and I hope to always offer something desirable and new to our customers. For spring/summer, you will see a LOT of color – underwear that just makes you want to have fun, as well as performance underwear called “Speed,” but it has a very fast 2(x)ist design that we are known for. We’ve added fashion into performance gear, and the result is dynamic. I think gay men are the first to experiment in fashion, in general – and they are simply gravitating to newness. THANK GOD for that…and jock straps!

What’s next for Jason Scarlatti?

I wish I had the answer to this question, but I am inspired to find out. All I know is I am confidant that I will evolve and hopefully do things that impact the world in whatever way I can. And I’d also like to wear the Miss Paradise crown. Baby steps.

Michael Cook

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