Mad Hatter

Broken Arrow native Jake Kelsey is a man with many hats, and in the over-the-top world of Project Runway alum Chris March, it’s safe to say you could call him somewhat of a mad hatter. As March’s personal assistant on Bravo’s Mad Fashion reality show – which centers on March and his New York City-based boutique – Kelsey is part of a crew of fashion misfits that caters one-of-a-kind designs to March’s high-profile clientele, and the aspiring actor is having a ton of fun along the way.

Oklahoma Magazine: How did you come to be on Mad Fashion?
Jake Kelsey: I went to the Circle in the Square Theater Arts School in New York, and have been living here for four years. I was working at Barney’s when I was approached by someone from the show. They needed to fill a spot for Chris’s assistant and asked if I was interested in interviewing. It sounded like a lot of fun. Right after I interviewed, I found out I got the job and they were ready to start filming.  

OM: Once the ball got rolling, what was the chemistry like on set?
JK: It really was a match made in heaven – we got along so well. I really became close with Chris and the rest of the team. Everyone is their own unique, crazy person – we all just mesh together to make this one cohesive crazy machine. I’m the youngest one, so I automatically took the little brother role for everyone to pick on and that’s totally okay with me.
 
OM: What kinds of things do you assist everyone with?
JK: Anything and everything. They definitely keep me on my toes. I had never been an assistant before, certainly not in the fashion world. It’s fun to have someone important trust you with a bunch of different jobs and get to help with such amazing projects, like Chris’s designs. I’m there on camera on the set a lot, but also, what you don’t really see is that I’m running around constantly. I may leave the studio 10 times a day to go uptown or downtown to a feather store or trim store or a bead store and other places.    

OM: Do you take some of these things you’ve picked up on in the fashion world home with you?
JK: I definitely do, but I always try to tone it down a bit when I come back to Oklahoma. If I’m going to Walmart, I’m not going to wear my crazier clothes. I’m a six-foot-three redhead, and I essentially stick out anyway, so if I’m wearing some wild New York outfit people are just going to be looking at me even more.

OM: What have been some of the more off-the-wall tasks Chris has assigned you?
JK: One of our clients was Susanne Bartsch, and she’s really off the wall. She’s like the Elvira of the fashion world, wearing avant garde and gothic things all the time. I had to go to a few different gothic stores and look at stuff like chains and spikes and body armor for her dress. That was kind of crazy. I had to get 200 bras for (style expert) Jene Luciani’s bra dress. That was a great one.

OM: Beyond Mad Fashion, what would you like to get into in the entertainment industry?
JK: I still really love acting. I’m leaning more into the film and television world now that I’ve been on camera.

OM: Any favorite shows?
JK: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Happy Endings – those shows are hilarious. I’d love to do comedies like those. It’s funny – everywhere I go, I get people calling me Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the redhead from Modern Family. I get it all the time – people yell his name or his character’s name at me on the street or in bars. My mom has even written the show an email telling them I should be on the show as his brother or something. I’m like, “Mom stop!”
 

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