The Reality of Design Star
Being fortunate enough to have been chosen as a finalist on this sixth season of the premiere interior design competition series, HGTV Design Star, is a super huge deal for me as a professional designer, a husband, a dad and not to forget, a gay man from South Orange, New Jersey. Boy, the stigma of “the gays” having impeccable taste weighs heavily on me! I had to make sure I showcased my talents and that I didn’t look like an idiot. I tried to be fashionable and witty too, all while keeping some sort of concentration on the challenge at hand. It was quite a feat.
The experience is unlike any other I can relate it to… I do have to admit, I’ve had the time of my life! Getting up at the crack of dawn to immediately go into robot mode: Take a shower, do my make-up, drink some coffee, get a microphone on and then get DESIGNING. That became my life as the other finalists and I began to navigate our way through the treacherous world of reality television.
There were a total of 12 designers, 4 of which were gay including myself. The constant moving and mental exhaustion called on all those reserve endorphins to keep us going and to push forward. We actually all basically got along - if you can believe it. There was very little cat fighting going on that I was aware of. (God knows what they were saying when I left the room.) I think for all of us, the focus was to succeed and also to come off in the best possible light, as this was the opportunity of a lifetime.
For the 4th Design Star challenge I was paired up with former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Leslie Ezelle, who is one of four gays this season. We found it so humorous that we were paired for the challenge as they specifically wanted both a male and female perspective. The immediate look on our faces and the sudden bursts of laughter after the challenge was described to us made it such an enjoyable project to work on. We were constantly questioning each other - who would take the credit for the male/female perspective?? I think in the weirdest of ways we had the best advantage over all the groups that week. Gay men and women are whatever their gender is, but we also have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the opposite sex, so we rocked that challenge!
I got a bit of criticism for my mantle’s faux finish job this week, but hell, I never said I was a painter or a finisher… I’m a designer who knows who to call when I need the job done! Ahh well, I made it through another week, and that’s all that matters!
HGTV Design Star is on every Monday at 9pm. Stay tuned!