There are some definite ways I approached the Design Star competition, hoping to stand out from a very talented, diverse group of designers. The first aspect was remaining versatile. I never wanted to be that designer who’s style could be easily defined. Each challenge required a different approach and different solutions. I believe that the great designers are those who can solve the problem at hand with inventiveness and ingenuity. The other aspect that helped me in the competition was taking direction on the camera challenges. The judges emphasized the importance of being yourself and communicating useful tips to the viewers. And while I never felt 100% comfortable in front of the camera, I did improve over the course of the competition. The last attribute I brought to the table was an ability design for clients and solve their particular problems. It is so important as a designer to listen to the homeowners you work with and create spaces that reflect who they are.
2. What do you think are some attributes of yours that could have contributed to you losing the show, had you lost?
By far, the thing that I struggled with the most was time management. It was a big leap to design a space in two or three days when in my regular life I complete projects over weeks and months. I really battled with my inner perfectionist and had to learn how to come up with solid back-up plans for every challenge. Being too attached to one outcome for a space could have definitely led to me going home early.
3. Who was you toughest competition on the show and why?
I think I had stiff competition on a few fronts. Britany was a formidable opponent because she is the master of time management and can create beautiful, graphic spaces that really pop on camera. Hilari, too, was tough competition. She has an infectious personality and an ability to make incredibly lavish, glamorous spaces. It was a tough competition all around and really I believe that many of us from this season could have had our own shows.
4. Why did you decide to become an interior designer?
I decided to go to design school after a career as a modern dancer. When I decided to stop dancing, I thought through all of the things I was naturally good at and all of the things I absolutely loved to do. Design just seemed like a natural fit. I have always liked working with people, was a natural problem solver, and have had a penchant for beautiful things. Its is also, a career in which no two days are ever the same. And did I mention I get to shop for a living???
5. Do you believe there’s something about being born in Queens, NY that gave you an advantage over some of your contestants?
I’m not sure if being born in Queens gave me an advantage per se but I will say that when you grow up in New York City you are exposed to the arts and culture at every turn. My entire childhood was dominated by dance, music, and trips to the museum. Its just something that we do here. And I thrived in that environment. The other advantage to growing up in New York is that you are exposed to so many cultures- diversity is just second nature. I grew up with a certain understanding of the richness of other cultures and a desire to bring that to my work.
6. What will the title of your show be and what is it’s significance?
The title of the show is Shop This Room. It is all about designing a space around one or two inspirational items that speak to who the home owners are. Sometimes I find the item in their home and sometimes I shop outside the home for something that captures their design point of view. The title explores the various approaches to shopping for a space- from literally pounding the pavement, to doing custom projects, to shopping within the house itself for great items that can be given a new life.
Hosting a show is a very different job than being a designer. I think the toughest part is having to be on a lot of the time. I am not used to being in spotlight or frankly having to talk so much! Making a show is about making a show- regardless of the subject. I have been so focused on design only for so long that this is a real change.
8. What are some of the long term goals you have in mind for your show?
One of the main goals I have for my show is for it to be a place to showcase the artists and craftsmen that I work with on a daily basis. Its such a quirky place filled with all kinds of characters doing interesting work. And, I love the idea of sharing my New York City with the viewers- a kind of backstage pass to my world. To me, that is the most fun and rewarding part of making my show.
9. When can we expect to see it?
Shop this Room airs Saturdays at 8pm! There are two back to back episodes so make sure you tune in!
10. Do you have any other endeavors that you’re involved in that our readership might want to know about you?
I am filled with so many ideas and hope to always be evolving as a designer. I have goals of writing, although I’m not sure in what capacity yet. I’d also, love to design a product line- that is definitely a life long dream.
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