My apologies to everyone who has been waiting oh so patiently for me to post my interviews with Dan and Antonio today. The truth is, I’m not ready for this little weekly phone soiree to be over, so I think I’m subconsciously drag-g-g-g-ing it out.
I thought you did a fantastic job on your house in the finale. How do you feel today? Well, thank you! Today feels great. I am really tired from everything I did in the competition. The biggest thing is I don’t have to keep any secrets anymore!
Keeping a secret like that has to be a nightmare! That was honestly one of the toughest things. This is the biggest thing that’s happened in my life, and everyone wants to talk about it every day, and I have to constantly be guarded about what I say and what I don’t say. Just being able to not hold back anymore is great.
Did you ever think in the beginning that it was going to end up being you and Antonio Ballatore in the finale? I really didn’t quite look that far ahead. I tried to approach each challenge as a game. There were a lot of people talking about that. Antonio and I were compared and contrasted by the judges and by other competitors constantly. When we finally got to the end, I can’t say that I was surprised…but I didn’t put a lot of thought into it beforehand.
I watched a morning show segment you did in your area before the finale aired and the host kept saying “I know you won! I know you won!” The way that you reacted, I actually thought maybe you’d won, too! You were a very good actor. Are you into acting? I’ve done a little bit, but I can’t say that I’m really an actor. I got a lot of practice over the past couple of months keeping this secret! It’s probably the most acting that I’ve ever done.
David Bromstad’s shadow kind of looms large over you due to so many similarities between the two of you. Is that frustrating or unfair? I think it’s just the nature of the beast. There isn’t a single competition out there like this where people look back to the original winner. David had the luxury of being on the first season of Design Star, so anytime I did a painting, everybody said, “Oh, he’s trying to be like David!” It’s not anything he has a copyright on, it’s just something he does every week and does very well. If I get compared to David, I’m taking it as a compliment! He’s a great designer–he’s one of the favorite personalities on HGTV. To be compared to him is a compliment, but it was never a goal.
Did the staff ask you to take your shirt off? No, I wouldn’t say they told me or asked me specifically, but on a couple different challenges–specifically the landscaping challenge–I was told continually, “Hey, Dan, it’s pretty hot outside if you want to take your shirt off! Dan, we have a mic set up, so if you want to take your shirt off, don’t worry about it!” The intention was understood. Uh, yeah. They want hot young dudes parading around shirtless on their network.
I did not realize you were a semi-finalist for Design Star, Season 3. Why do you think you made it onto the show this season and not last season? I think I was really blessed to make it on this year. Last year I was going through a divorce and there were just a lot of things happening. It was a huge season this year–I got a lot more exposure than I would’ve gotten last year. I think that the cards were in my favor. Suddenly they knew what they were doing and they were looking out for me when they put me on this year instead of last year.
I didn’t realize that you had been married before—I’m sorry to hear about your breakup. I did read that you currently have a girlfriend though. Can you tell me anything about her? I do! Her name is Rose and she just graduated from film school. We both work at the Portland City Grill, so that’s where we met. She’s really amazingly talented—she does her own writing and production and sometimes does the acting too, and she’s really great at all of it! We both have a wide range of talents.