June 22, 2007 12:33 AM by Joe Blackmon
HGTV Design Star, the network’s top-rated series, is back for a high
stakes second season in Las Vegas with 11 new finalists who are ready
to roll the dice for a chance to win the jackpot – a starring role in
his or her own HGTV show. The competing finalists, many of whom run
their own interior design businesses, are self-taught or formally
trained and include a stay-at-home mom, a video game designer, a
celebrity party planner, a landscape architect, a hairstylist and a
former fashion model. The HGTV Design Star season two finalists are
Scott Corridan, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Todd Davis, San Francisco,
Calif.; Josh Foss, St. Paul, Minn.; Josh Johnson, Hendersonville,
Tenn.; Neeraja Lockart, Palm Springs, Calif.; Robb Mariani, Orlando,
Fla.; Lisa Millard, Berwick, Pa.; Kim Myles, New York City; Adriana
Nussbaumer, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Christina Ray, Atlanta, Ga.
and Will Smith, Charlotte, N.C.
Each designer will do whatever it takes to impress the returning panel of judges – architect and interior designer Vern Yip; designer and author Cynthia Rowley and In Style magazine’s executive editor, Martha McCully. The reality competition, set in glittering Las Vegas and hosted by Clive Pearse, will premiere on Sunday, July 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, but will air weekly in its regular time slot beginning Sunday, July 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT through September 16.
The series will begin with a casting special, HGTV Design Star: Making the Cut, in which viewers will see the unique qualities and skills that made each finalist stand out from the more than 2,000 submitted entries. The series is then off to a sizzling start as viewers watch each finalist size up their competition and learn how to share a single Vegas-style condo with wildly-different personality types during the show’s nine-week run. In the end, it’s anyone’s guess which finalist will successfully navigate the clever design challenges and emerge victorious as the winner of his or her own HGTV show.
"The competition in this season of HGTV Design Star is fierce," said James Bolosh, vice president, event programming, HGTV. "We’ve raised the bar and these finalists are ready to design to win. Each episode features finalists from a variety of backgrounds and all levels of expertise, but the passion they bring to each challenge will surprise viewers who might be skeptical that HGTV can find another talent like season one winner, David Bromstad, who is both an incredible designer and a perfect fit for television."
HGTV Design Star also will invite viewers to extend their viewing experience at http://hgtv.com/designstar . Once the judges have narrowed the competition to two finalists, viewers will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite designer online or via cell phone. The virtual polls to select the winner will open on Sunday, September 9 at 10 p.m. ET, immediately after the eighth episode, and will close at noon ET on Wednesday, September 12. Viewers can vote once per day online and up to five times per day via cell phone text message to HGTV1 or 44881. Viewers also will get chances to win fantastic prizes valued at $2,500 and up throughout the series.
Meet the HGTV Design Star Finalists
Santa Barbara, Calif.
After years of owning a high-profile Hollywood event design company that caters to the rich and famous, Scott is ready for his own close-up. A California native and skilled equestrian, Scott uses his favorite surroundings, such as his expansive horse ranch, as inspiration for everyday design. Although a self-proclaimed "diva" at times, Scott’s admitted weaknesses include impatience and a temper. A talented designer with 19 years’ experience, Scott believes he can tackle any design obstacle. He sews, builds everything from homes to furniture, sketches designs, paints and installs plumbing, but he prefers to leave such tasks to his staff. Scott studied architecture at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of California in Santa Barbara.
San Francisco, Calif.
No stranger to competition, Todd is an athlete and surfer who earned a degree in landscape architecture from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design from California Polytechnic University. Now, after several years as owner of a design business, Todd is ready to compete in design – a field that fuels his passion. He describes himself as "smart, hyper-creative, dynamic and very opinionated" and says he can "build anything from chicken wire and lint in a timely fashion." Todd is unafraid to make his presence and opinions known and admits that his sometimes adventurous design style reflects his risk-taking personality.
St. Paul, Minn.
Josh, who holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Principia College in Elsah, Ill., describes his style as "metro hippie." As a builder for eight years prior to getting into interior design, Josh believes that environmentally friendly building and design doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. He prefers to design spaces that are both environmentally conscious and "ridiculously good looking." In his opinion, building "green" doesn’t mean spending lots of green. In fact, he finds that the costs of "green" building materials are often cheaper. Josh’s father, who was an intern for Charles and Ray Eames, inspired Josh’s creativity at an early age and nurtured his love of design.
This self-taught Tennessee native is a big fan of Southern glitz and glamour and is ready to expose America to the fabulous technique he calls "glamour layering." Josh, often the first one to awaken to style his hair, is unapologetic about his over-the-top outfits or his indulgent designs. He is an expert shopper with an eye for unique items and a knack for finding unbelievable bargains.
Palm Springs, Calif.
With no formal design training, this former model is in the competition to win, not make friends. As she says, "I try to get along with everyone, but I am a director and we have a tendency to step on people’s toes." Her funky, cool design style reflects her background in the fashion industry and as a photo stylist. She says her strongest areas of design include "modern, hippie chic, Hollywood regency, shabby chic and rustic." Neeraja loves to have fun and says she is "playful" and has a "flair for the dramatic."
This middle child of seven siblings never planned to become an interior designer. Robb, who earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, began his career as a video game designer for a major company until he decided to try his hand at interior design. Robb’s intense personality helps him work well under the pressure of a reality competition. In addition to learning from his design philosophies, which include "incorporating vintage pieces that are timeless into modern works," look for Robb to discuss his collection of 18-wheeler trucks.
Lisa’s passion is working with unique materials and manipulating them for her designs. In fact, this nonconformist created her own wedding dress with wax paper for just $40. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Lisa is currently designing commercial restaurant spaces with her trademark style of punk with an industrial flair. Lisa believes the keys to becoming successful are attitude and ambition and she says "Thankfully, I have both!"
New York City
Although Kim has lived in New York City for more than 10 years, it was her childhood in the suburbs that initially drove her to explore interior design as a personal interest. "Growing up in suburbia gave me an aversion to sameness," she said. This hairdresser, who got her start designing her own clothing, jewelry and hats, has no formal design education but uses her city surroundings as inspiration in her design styles, which she describes as "global urban elegance."
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Although currently residing in California with her husband and 3-year-old son, Adriana, a self-taught designer, originally hails from Mexico. Since Adriana is self-employed and does everything from designing, sewing and painting to installation and carpentry, she is comfortable multitasking. Adriana admits that she might be an "under-the-radar competitor," but she is deeply passionate about living the American dream and says she understands what it takes to win this competition.
This self-taught designer is not shy to share her love for design. Christina has been designing rooms for her neighbors and friends for more than 10 years and her experience has made her a master at using tape to create unique painting techniques. Cheerful and spunky, Christina always has a positive outlook and can design with the smallest of budgets. In fact, this stay-at-home mom says she gathered many of her design ideas from her favorite HGTV shows.
The self-proclaimed "real Will Smith" entered the design business under ironic circumstances. After a difficult breakup and a 200-pound weight loss, Will, who studied design at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, decided to re-design his bachelor pad. The result was so inspiring that it motivated him to pursue interior design professionally. Will went from being an insurance agent who charged $25 for design tips on the side to becoming a design guru in less than a decade. He now runs his own interior design business. Although he describes himself as a deeply religious person, Will can’t help using what he calls his "pimp palace" style of design, which incorporates his love of bright, bold colors.