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Colors, Prints, Gays and Good Photography: HGTV’s Design Star is Back

May 22, 2012

With just a week until the seventh season premiere of HGTV’s Design Star, it’s time we look at the new cast and make some unqualified remarks about their portfolios. Yes, I said “unqualified;” I’m certainly not an interior designer. But as that’s the way the world works in 2012, here we go…

Bex Hale’s colorful bedroom.

First off, this is the most colorful cast in recent memory. Good job to the casting department for realizing that black people know how to pick out fabric swatches as well as white people do. And someone must have figured out that gay men know something about design aesthetics as well, as you can’t pick up a brush without dripping some paint on one of their expensive shoes.

But from the looks of the portfolios, this is definitely a talented group of people. On reality shows, they always claim that “the bar’s been raised [this] season,” but let’s be honest: with each new season, people are more prepared than the previous season, as they have had time to watch others go through the process. The contestants came in ready to tackle the challenges laid out by the production team, no matter how preposterous.

According to HGTV’s site, Yuki Northington is (so-far) the runaway favorite for Fan Favorite. Interesting since the show still has seven days before it even premieres, but you didn’t hear that from me. Even more interesting is that her work seems to be almost exclusively commercial. It’s not my cup of tea, but I’m sure she’s a nice lady.

Up next is Bex Hale, who has an extensive portfolio online (20 images to be exact, many of which were taken by someone who knows how to frame a photo. Thank you, Ms. Hale, for figuring that out. Could you please tell your friends they should all do the same?), but in one picture I counted 8 dead animals. My limit is 6, so I had to move on. Three points for that Robin Hood hat she is wearing in the promotional photos. You can choose whether those points are a plus or minus for yourselves.

Mikel Welch’s Jerseylicious cast.

In third place for the Fan Favorite Who No One Knows Yet competition is Britany Simon, who likes prints. I don’t blame her; she has some nice pieces in there, including a very tasteful dining room I like a lot, with what looks like a stenciled print on the walls. So far, she’s my favorite.

From there, the numbers fall off. You folks had better get to Facebooking and Tweeting and whatever else is required to get you on top of this Fan Favorite Who No One Knows Yet competition. In fourth place is Mikel Welch, who I am quite sure was cast to be the heir apparent to Project Runway‘s Anthony. As a set designer for Jerseylicious, he certainly has some colorful shots in his portfolio, but the lines are definitely very interesting. I am anxious to see what he does when given less audacious assignments. 

from Miera Melba’s collection.

To be honest, I am getting tired now. Four designers in and I am worn out from looking and making judgements and then telling you what I think. So, I’m going to do a quick 1-2 step through the rest of them. Hilari Younger‘s design aesthetic seems to ve very colorful. I like color, so I won’t argue. Miera Melba has some gorgeous photos. Her portfolio is actually quite nice. Are people looking at these when they go to vote? Why is she at 5%? And I looked at the rest of them; no one who really blows me out of the water. I stand by my advice I gave Bex: tell your friends. Proper photography can change one’s mind in an instance.

I will be here next Tuesday (May 29th) at 9PM EST to watch the season premiere. I doubt I will do follow ups because as this exercise showed, I am not good at it and really don’t like saying bad things about people I don’t know. So this is what I have. And that’s it. 

Other contestants include:

Danielle Colding

 Jordan Cappella

Kris Swift

Luca Paganico

Rachel Kate

Stanley Palmieri


Not following me on Twitter yet? Get on the sofa: @josephrileyland

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bex Hale permalink
    May 30, 2012 7:10 PM

    Haha! Bex here. I’m with you on the deer heads. My client is a major hunter and he built that massive lodge o’ death specifically to showcase his trophies. They were already hung there when I was called to the scene. As a parting gift, I promised to hang my own trophy next to his…so I did. I beautiful mahogany plaque with a barbie head on it. He keeps it up – at least he’s a cowboy with a mad sense of humor!

    • May 30, 2012 7:12 PM

      honestly, while i don’t like them, you did a good job with the space. love the barbie story!

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