Chicago's Marcellas Reynolds speaks on controversial Big Brother 15 and life after starring on the show.

 Chicago's Marcellas Reynolds speaks on controversial Big Brother 15 and life after starring on the show.
Fashion Stylist and Big Brother 3 Final Four Participant.

One of Big Brother's early stars was Marcellas Reynolds-from right here in Chicago.  While in town collaborating on a fashion industry event this summer-I was given the opportunity to speak with him at length about the reality series for two reasons-first because I am a big fan of the show and because as a fellow Chicagoan-Marcellas was one of the series earliest engaging and entertaining participants-some might even call him ground breaking.  And looking back on the conversation we had-I can certainly see why he made it on the show and on to the final four.  Among other talents he has a good read on people-as he stated below-his choice of this seasons risings stars were spot on!

How were you chosen to participate on Big Brother… I've heard you were pursued by the show. Is there any truth to this?

Yes my pal Nikki Calabrese, daughter of Chicago restauranteur Karyn Calabrese, worked for the production company of Big Brother.  I'm a character and she told them many stories.  At the time I was a model splitting time between Chicago and NY.  Nikki showed the producers my comp and that was that.  At one point, I actually turned it down because my agents were convinced a reality show would ruin my model career.

What do you think of the current controversy with this season's Big Brother and the issue of race?

This is the worst group of House Guests ever; a cast with a distinct lack of personality and charisma. Yet the antics of the breakout star Aaryn, GinaMarie, Amanda, Spencer and Chicagoan Andy have made the show a hit.   BB15 is timely because of our African American POTUS, the Tea Party-the Republican menace and the recent Trayvon Martin verdict. Race relations are on everyone's mind. The show has really inspired a national dialog.

Should this reflect at all on CBS and it's producers of the show in screening contestants or is this a ratings ploy?

This is the 1st time ever that CBS and Big Brother have issued a disclaimer. No, it's no reflection on CBS. It's just a reflection on the contestants behaving poorly. You really have no idea how a contestant will behave until they are on set and faced with the stress and stimuli the experience creates.

What was your overall experience with your stint on Big Brother…what was the best thing that happened for you and were there any regrets?  How has this show helped your career as an stylist, actor or producer?

Big Brother blessed me in a beautiful way-but every reality show also attaches a stigma to participants. After my 1st appearance in 2002 Hollywood really opened it's doors to me as a TV host and reporter.  It did however close ranks on an acting career and  maybe other things at which I may have excelled.  It took hard work, dedication and perseverance to show people I am more than a reality star.

At the end of the day Big Brother was just another acting gig. Since 1995 I've lived my life in front of the camera as a model, actor, TV host or entertainment reporter.  If you work hard you get accolades.  When the show wraps you move on-hopefully always up and forward.

How did you get started in the fashion industry?

I got my 1st retail job in high school at T. Edwards, a clothing store for women in Water Tower Place.  I was 14 but lied and said I was 16.  I was the stock boy who would be up on a ladder changing a lightbulb while selling clothes. My manager recognized this and made me a salesperson.  I was one of the top sales people in the company

What's your primary role in fashion today?

I am before anything else a wardrobe stylist.  I travel around the country working with celebrities, styling for clothing stores like Kohl's, Bonton, Macy's and doing photo shoots for publications like British Vogue, Elle and InStyle.

Give us your impressions on fashion here in Chicago?

I think there is money and style in Chicago which is why there are amazing flagship stores here like Tom Ford, Lanvin, Prada as well as Marc Jacobs, a great Barney's-and let's not forget Ikram one of the country's best stores.  However, Chicago really needs to work on creating a manufacturing base so that up and coming designers want to base their businesses here.

How can you use your platforms to contribute to the scene here?

I work here as a wardrobe stylist more than anywhere else. For me it's about talking Chicago up on a national level and trying to get people in fashion & entertainment to shoot here.  It's a beautiful city, a world class city, filled with talented people.

Who would you like to collaborate with if you were to produce a project here?

I'm very good friends with Ikram Goldman, Billy Dec & Jerry Kleiner.  You never know...there may be a menswear store located here in my future.

What are your plans for the future…if you were writing your script-what's next?

I love what I'm doing now.  I shall keep traveling and working as a stylist.  I am writing a book that is a labor of love that  I'm really excited to finish.  I'm working on several fashion related television show pitches that I want to get in front of the networks. I am really considering opening a clothing store or creating a menswear line.  And I want to meet a wonderful guy and be a great boyfriend to someone.  I'm finally ready to change focus from my career and make room for a relationship.


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