Here's How to Become an HGTV Star - Apartment Therapy

Here's How to Become an HGTV Star - Apartment Therapy
From The Kitchn - November 24, 2017

Whether they are interior designers, stylists, contractors or realtors, HGTV personalities really are at the top of their game. And though it might feel like it to you, the faces you see on the network definitely did not get there overnight. If you have ever thought about what it takes to make it to HGTV stardom, read on, because we found out.

Take Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, for instance, the New York-based husband-and-wife duo behind the AphroChic brand, and most recently, the HGTV Facebook Live series "Sneak Peek with AphroChic." They have been at the blogging game since 2007, have their own line of decor products ranging from pillows to wallpaper to paint, wrote a design book"REMIX: Decorating with Culture, Objects and Soul"and recently started their HGTV series, which is currently in its second season, earlier this year.

If you have not tuned in yet, check it out. It streams live on HGTV's Facebook page on Saturdays at noon EST but also lives on the AphroChic YouTube channel. If you love a good house tour (and c amon, of course, you do... you are reading Apartment Therapy, after all), then you will love this show. It's basically 30 minutes of vicariously snooping around a super personal, creatively curated home and eavesdropping on the conversation Jeanine and Bryan are having with the homeowner. But like I said, this cool couple has been at it for a long time, so a series was not just handed to them. I chatted them up for their expert tips on how you can forge your own way in this super competitive industry.

Tip 1: Pivot when necessary and follow your passions

Jeanine's a former lawyer, and Bryan spent time in school earning various master's degrees. But they both have always had a love of design and personal style, especially as it relates to interiors and people of color. They nurtured that passion on the side when Janine started their blog, and as the audience grew, they were not afraid to go full time with this new career path. They now work on a variety of things, from writing for the blog (and other places) to product development with their home decor line and even working with interior design clients. Their HGTV series is the newest part of their business, and they are loving the flexibility of being able to write, direct, produce and host a show where they can share different peoples' eclectic interiors with the rest of the world.

Tip 2: Long before you are in front of the camera, have a point of view and talk to an audience that is not part of the conversation

Jeanine and Bryan identified a major gap in the marketno one was really talking to women (or men) of color with an interest in modern interiors with a touch of soul. So they made it their mission to seek out people of color killing it in their respective fieldsand homesand feature their spaces. A little while after starting the blog, they hunted down a pillow featuring the silhouette of a women with an afro, and after not finding a single one, they made it instead. Their textile business was born. Lesson learned: if you do not see something out there you think other people would want or be interested in, do it yourself.

Tip 3: Self-publish the heck out of yourself

Sure, the market is saturated now, but back when AphroChic was first founded, the blogosphere was up for grabs, and Jeanine and Bryan carved a niche out for themselves by being different. Tastemakers and influencers seem to be driving things now, and it can feel like every good blog idea already exists. But you ca not get discovered by anyone (HGTV scouts, brands or otherwise) from the blog you do not have. Self-publishing is the best way to get yourself out there. Remember that every blog had no audience at the beginning.

Tip 4: Be social

Tip 5: Do not expect a series or show to just be handed to you

Tip 6: Be open to new formats

Tip 7: Break the mold


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