July 08, 2006 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
Hosting a television show may not have been on their radar when they first entered the design business, but now 10 designers, architects, decorators and artists have been named as finalists in the new weekly reality competition, HGTV Design Star, premiering Sunday, July 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The eclectic group, which includes a former beauty pageant finalist and mother of two from Utah, as well as three Harvard graduates, represents various lifestyles and life stages, personalities and preferences, education and experience, but all must prove their mettle in devilishly clever design challenges until only one remains to claim a coveted prize – starring in his or her own HGTV show.
During six of the eight episodes in the series, the finalists, many of whom are unaccustomed to collaborating or living with other designers, will have their work critiqued by three expert judges: renowned designer Cynthia Rowley; one of America’s favorite television designers, Vern Yip; and In Style executive editor Martha McCully. However, at the 10 p.m. ET conclusion of the series’ seventh episode on Sunday, September 3 through noon ET on Wednesday, September 6, viewers will have the opportunity to click on HGTV.com to vote for their favorite designer finalist. They also can text-in their choice via cell phone to HGTV1 or 44881. After the final viewer vote, one talented designer will catapult to fame as HGTV’s next design star.
The finalists already have overcome significant odds for the chance to participate in the network’s on-air quest to find its newest star. More than 1,500 designers submitted essays, portfolios and videos during last fall’s call for entries. Nine designers were selected by the show’s producers and network executives, while the 10th candidate was selected by viewers and online users during a week-long February vote on HGTV.com.
“The HGTV Design Star competitors come to the show from all over the country and from all walks of life, but they all have a passion for designing and a fierce desire to star in their own television show,” said James Bolosh, vice president of original programming, HGTV. “Not one of these finalists wants to be eliminated, so each week viewers will see the incredible lengths they will go to in order to showcase their design expertise and develop a television persona, while holding their own among formidable competition.”
The 10 finalists for HGTV Design Star include:
This handsome and often shirtless finalist is a trained and talented artist who attended Ringling School of Art and Design. That, coupled with his youthful energy and out-of-the-box thinking, makes David a great contender to become the HGTV Design Star. Earnest, passionate, talented and creative, David creates awe-inspiring work on many platforms including custom art, furniture building, and interior design, primarily for children’s rooms. He describes his design POV as “a blend of styles incorporating realism and fantasy,transporting you to another reality.”
Vanessa De Leon
Vanessa is a self-proclaimed “trend setter,” who describes her style as “Glamilistic.” She is a confident young designer, with a great deal to back it up. Only 25 years old, she has already been published eight times, and is not shy sharing information about her success. As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC) and Berkeley College (NJ), Vanessa favors eclectic and contemporary design, but also has a strong knowledge of Feng Shui, which she brings to many of her projects. Vanessa, who grew up around the family furniture business, now has her own design firm and teaches an interior design course part-time at Berkeley College. She has little tolerance for people without serious design experience and says that, “those [people] who do not have any professional design experience should not even be considered for the show.”
Tym De Santo
Fort Wayne, IN
Tym has excelled at many things in his life and calls his current job “Artist/Designer/Entrepreneur.” As a pro-skier on the Audi Quatto Pro Tour; competitive snowboarder, skateboarder and tennis player; singer/songwriter; award winning photographer; sculptor and business executive, Tym brings an atypical design background to HGTV Design Star. He attributes his success to his vision and energy — two traits he applies to everything he does, including fatherhood. Tym follows his passions and says he and his wife are, “both artists and are not starving.” While Tym has a Bachelors Degree in Art and Business, much of his design knowledge came through his own study and pursuit, beginning with building his own house when he was 28 years old. His specific art and design skills are most evident in his work as a good builder and executor for everything from furniture and houses to skate parks and Photoshop files. Tym believes, “Texture is the magic ingredientÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”don’t overlook it.”
Teman is one of identical twin brothers who have literally done everything in their lives together. Yet for the first time, in front of a national television audience, the 6’4" pair will not be a team. Teman, the brother with the dreadlocks, has been described as outgoing, “driven and confident.” He and his brother Teran are Harvard-graduate architects and world-traveled scholars of architecture and design who jointly own a firm and live together. Currently their design company is producing textile/fabric design and interiors, as well as jewelry that is available at a leading retailer and has been featured in national magazines such as O and Essence. Their design style is primarily minimalism and they both agree, "a space is never done. It will always be a work in progress."
The other half of the twin brothers is Teran, who has been described as the “inventive” or “quiet brother who is always getting things done.” Teran has shared all of his life experiences with his sibling, from their three years at Harvard to time living and working in Europe for the renowned Dutch architect and designer of the Prada boutiques, Rem Koolhaas. In addition, he and his brother Teman are classically-trained musicians who play five musical instruments between them. Since there can be only one HGTV Design Star, Teman and Teran must compete against each other for the coveted title.
Alice loves lavish, accessorized, almost over-the-top design and is the finalist who was selected by viewers and online users during a week-long February vote on HGTV.com. She has a degree from Louisiana Tech School of Architecture and owns a freelance design business that features her mother as the only employee. A former owner of other related businesses, Alice is both wickedly smart and amazingly graceful in all social situations. She takes great pride in her work, believes in the truth, but is never a push-over. Newly-married and recently relocated to the small town of Temple, Texas, Alice’s design tips include, “fewer and larger accessories” and “resist the urge to overly coordinate.”
A self-described renaissance woman, Ramona says she does everything “fine.” In fact, this mother of an 11-year old daughter has had a rich and varied life, doing everything from restoring windows in historic homes to writing an ASCAP-winning song and holding a position as the Art Controller for a major financial institution’s multi-million dollar art collection. Ramona is not formally trained in design, but with such a diverse background it is not surprising that she loves to turn trash to treasure – what she can’t find, she makes.&nbs