5.23.2014

That One Time We Auditioned for HGTV

It was early last October when I got an email from a casting agency that was looking for some couples for a new HGTV show. They were looking for "dynamic friends, couples or family members with big dreams and a love for renovation and design. Handy teams of two who think they have a superior eye for design. Although home renovation experience is a plus, it is not required."

"Hey, I know a dynamic duo with home renovation experience!" I thought to myself. I emailed her back and indicated we would be interested, and before I knew it I was talking to the casting assistant on the phone.

During the phone interview, she asked me some basic questions about our lives, our home renovation backgrounds, the basics. She was super friendly and told me they needed to finalize the audition videos quickly: Would we be willing to do a Skype interview as a couple?

Of course!

It's important to note that at this point, we knew nothing about the show. I didn't know the rules, the requirements, how long we would have to be onsite, anything like that. I just figured that we don't get the chance to audition with HGTV every day, so what did we have to lose?

I did more digging and eventually found out it was a competition show where teams of two would battle for the big prize, $50,000. I still didn't know the timelines, which was a concern because we both have full time jobs. Though it may seem like a lot, $50,000 is not really enough to justify quitting your day job. It's probably only $30k-ish after taxes, right?

That being said, I was totally curious about the process so I wanted to see it through. I was hopeful that the timeline would magically fall into place and we'd be able to make it work if we were chosen for the show.

So, like the goobers that we are, we sat down in front of our laptop for a Skype session with a casting person from NYC. We promptly started making goofy faces because that's just what we do when we're uncomfortable. Are we the only ones?


Our interviewer was a young guy wearing a red hoodie and some facial scruff, and you could tell he did these Skype interviews all the time. The interview was scheduled to be exactly one hour, and they took the entire hour. The first 30 minutes were a joint interview, and then they quizzed us each separately for 15 minutes/piece.


I jotted down a few of the questions they asked us:

• How did you meet and fall in love?
• What's your day job?
• What type of home repair or renovation skills do you have?
• What's the most impressive home project you've completed?
• What do you love about your husband/wife?
• What makes you two the perfect team for our competition?
• What would you do with the prize money?
• What's the hardest thing you've ever been through? 
• What is it about your partner that would probably drive you crazy while on the show?

They probably asked us that last question right before we started making these faces. That's my
"Don't even get me started" face. Nonplussed.


Our pitch to the interviewer was somehting like, "We are your average couple. He's a teacher; I work for a non-profit. We have an average income and are incredibly normal. We represent the regular couples out there who want to have a nice home but don't have a ton of money to spend on furniture or extensive renovations."

Here we are with our "normal people" faces:


You could tell what the casting folks really wanted our story to be: the young couple who really needs this money to get off the ground. They kept trying to get us to act like we desperately needed the cash to live better lives, and I was not comfortable with that narrative at all. I mean, we have a perfectly nice life. We're middle class. We're not just starting out; we've been married a few years and are on our second home already.

I felt like it would be dishonest to paint us as a poor young couple who is just getting started. Those who read this blog and our friends who know us personally would eventually watch this on TV and feel like we were lying about our circumstances.

The funny part was, Scott and I did not prepare for this interview at all. We didn't think about what questions they might ask and how we might answer them. What would we do with the prize money? I have no idea – I just think it would be fun to be in an HGTV competition with my best friend/husband/personal handyman! We had to really scramble to come up with decent answers on some of the harder questions.

It was really sweet to sit in the kitchen and listen to him being interviewed individually. He said some adorable things about our relationship that I will cherish forever. That alone was worth going through the process! He's a keeper, that boy.

Once the interview was over, we both decided we were too boring for HGTV. Our story wasn't compelling enough. And I guess we were right – HGTV never called again!

I don't think they ever made that show. At least, not yet. I haven't seen any previews, and I can't find anything that resembles it on the website. They may be filming it right now– I guess we'll find out eventually! I actually emailed the casting people to make sure I could post about this, but they never wrote me back. I decided that silence = permission.

So, that's the story of the one time we auditioned for HGTV. Maybe we'll get the opportunity to try again one day, but who knows? It was still a pretty fascinating experience, and I'm glad we got the chance to sit through an interview. We'll be more prepared next time – if there is a next time!


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