HGTV's Design Star: Amy Sklar Interview

HGTV's Design Star: Amy Sklar Interview

I was dying to talk to Amy Sklar today. I’d sort of taken her elimination from Design Star as some kind of personal affront and I wanted to commiserate with her about the whys and the wherefores of the inexplicable decision made by the judges. She was very gracious about it. After all, she’d love to have some answers herself.

First of all, I was just horrified last night and feeling a little bit pissed off. I can’t imagine what you must be going through!
I have to tell you, there was so much anticipation of this episode, and knowing what had happened but really not being able to say anything was just really difficult. So oddly enough, there’s a little bit of relief. While I was standing there and hearing the verdict that was handed down, it was definitely a shock.

I don’t know how much reading you’ve been doing online, but the consensus is that you were completely robbed, so I hope it makes you feel good to see that. It wasn’t just you who was blindsided…everybody was. Thank you for saying that. It’s funny, I was really going to sort of try not to look at anything but it was nice that there was that level of support. I know that I put every single bit of myself into working as hard as I possibly could, so it’s nice to be appreciated on that level. Here’s what I’ve learned from this experience: I still have all the confidence in the world as a designer. However, I may not be the strongest reality show competitor. I don’t think that not being a super-strong reality show competitor is ever going to hurt me! (Right-o, but it still sucks.)

I’d actually picked you to be one of the two finalists. Oh, and I loved you so much for that! I’d picked me to be one of the finalists too! It’s an incredibly intense experience and the only way I can accurately sum it up is: imagine you wake up every morning and have to go play in the Super Bowl! (Yeah, that would definitely make me cry. I have really bad eye/hand coordination.)

I looked at your exit interview and you didn’t really know why the judges kept Tashica and sent you home. Are you any clearer on it now? Do you think it did come down to the captain of the ship thing or do you think it was the drama quotient? I have to say in my heart I would like to believe that it was the captain of the ship thing. That, to me, seems like the most reasonable explanation and the one that emotionally fits the best with me.

When I spoke to NataLee last week, she said that Tashica was very vocal during the critique and she thought that had saved her. Knowing that Tashica has a law background, do you think her ability to defend herself may have trumped you? That’s a great question. I think that I didn’t defend myself as much as I could have. I was really trying to be the team player, the team captain. In some ways I thought it would be the honorable thing to do but that is probably not great reality show strategy. It may be what’s right in the real world–if you feel like you’ve been part of a team or led a team and something went wrong, of course you take responsibility. I don’t know if I really defended myself because I think that there were a lot of things that I should have spoken up for. (Like, all Tashica did was bust up the homeowners’ wine collection!)

What went through your mind when you saw the reactions of everyone else when Tashica went back into the green room? That was really powerful. I didn’t really expect that. It felt really good to hear the rest of the team say they’d work with me again (during the judges’ critique–I guess that part ended up on the cutting room floor). I’d felt such a great connection with the people there, and it felt good that it wasn’t just talk. There were genuine interactions that I’d had with people and it was good and they were positive and they were real.

From what I read today, a lot of people–including my mom–are saying they don’t want to keep watching the show if it’s going to play out this way. Why do you think people should continue to watch? Well, I’m going to continue to watch, because I know the talent pool that is there. I know they’re going to do cool things. After all, it’ll be news to me too!

Why did you pick Tashica over Torie when you were selecting teams? I really felt like Tashica had a lot of energy and she seemed truly motivated to prove that she was so much better than (what happened last week). We were so new in the house and I didn’t know much about Torie—we hadn’t interacted much. What went through my mind was, because Tashica didn’t do well last week, she’s really going to want to kick ass!

That was something that my mom speculated about. Go, Robin’s mom!

What did you think of the other kitchen? I didn’t think it was innovative in design. It felt a little “model home.”

Well…a model home in the 80’s. In their defense, the edict that they had from their client…she asked for that sort of mélange. You have to give your clients what they didn’t know they wanted. “I didn’t know I wanted this until I saw it!” That’s what you live for as a designer. That’s when you say, *singing* “I did it, I did it!”

Do you think Jen is indeed a color expert? You know, I don’t know what a color expert is. I’m sure she is, I don’t know what exactly that entails.

Well, I’ve done a little research and it basically entails sitting through some seminars. Then yes, she’s done it! (Laughing)

Next week everybody’s working for themselves and it’s time to put up or shut up. Who do you think is going to come out on top? I can’t wait to see what happens. I think Antonio’s going to do really well. He’s always talking about wanting to do something on his own. I think there’s going to be strong showings. I think Lonni’s going to be a strong…Dan…Nathan. I think a lot of people who did really well in that early first challenge will do well. And I think Jason is going to surprise us. (He has to, or he’s going home soon.)

You all had the opportunity to vote for that last castmate. Who did you vote for? Am I allowed to say that now? I voted for Gary. So again, probably not a strategic maneuver! I thought he was really talented and a really worthy competitor. I was like, bring it on! Let’s get the most talented people in here. I liked his energy and I thought he would be a really great competitor.

Has anybody ever told you that you look like Amy Sedaris? Oh, God yes. I think she’s so damn funny. I get that an
d “a less crazy Juliette Lewis.” I’m like, okay, I guess!

Did I read correctly that you had dipped your toe into the comedy waters yourself? Yeah, I went through a few years after graduating from college where friends said, “You’re funny! You should go do some open mics!” I actually did start doing some stand-up, did some in New York and did some auditioning for a while and then I realized oh my gawd, I don’t love this enough to want to do this for the rest of my life. My husband’s a comedian. His name is Randy Sklar. He works with his brother.

Oh my gawd! They are hysterical! That’s what keeps me in a sense of humor. He’s a really great foil for when I’m in my own head. (He is also related by marriage to Austin’s own Louis Black, co-founder of The Austin Chronicle.)

What are you working on these days? I’m doing a job now where I’m selecting pretty much every stick of furniture–top-to-bottom–in a three-story home for a lovely client, and working on residential projects in Los Angeles. Now I get to relax and yell at the TV!

I don’t know how much relaxing Design Star viewers are doing this week. I think we collectively have our panties in a bunch. I’ve asked each of the judges why they made the decision to toss Amy in favor of keeping Tashica. This is the response so far:

*Nothing.*

*Still nothing.*

I’ll let you know if any of them care to share.

2 Comments

  1. frogponder July 28, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Great interview! Lots of good behind the scene info 🙂

  2. Jron7667 August 1, 2009 at 5:17 am

    I'd love to know what were in hte judges heads to. I have agreed with everything you've said about the season so far. I love Candice Olson, and hope she really thought long and hard before voting Amy off!

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