Guess who I met with this week?
I am a huge fan of HGTV’S Design Star and I’m always amazed at the contestant’s backgrounds and inspiration. We watched season 4 where the magnificent Jason Champion worked his design magic all the way to the top 3. Though he didn’t win the competition, Design Star has provided Champion with many new opportunities from which to choose.
Well, guess who had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Champion himself? Yours truly! Yep, that’s right; I had the honor of meeting with Jason Champion downtown Tuesday for coffee. I must say right off that he is just as animated and fabulous in person as he is on television. We talked for nearly two hours about design, trends and he shared some hilarious backstage secrets about what really goes on behind the scenes of the show. We also shared and compared stories about clients, the interior design industry in Sarasota and more. By the time I left, I felt like I had known Jason for year, he just has that charisma about him.
Out of the many things we talked about, Jason took the time to answer a few questions for all of my fabulous readers… Oh, and they weren’t in interview/note taker style… we just chatted and I took everything he said to heart…
Q: What was Jason doing before the show? What made him decide to try out for Design Star?
A: Jason had his own design business before pursuing Design Star. He also had a fantastic radio show where he interviewed interior designers, artists and more. He actually interviewed Larry Thompson, the President of Ringling College of Art & Design (where I graduated). He had started his design career by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree of applied arts from Southern Institute Division of Virginia College. From there he went on to work for design powerhouses such as Stark Carpet and JANUS et Cie (just to name a few), then he took his experience and started his own company. He also stepped out and created his own outdoor furniture line called Jason Champion Outdoor.
As far as Jason’s desire to be on Design Star, he always knew he was qualified and meant to showcase his work on TV. He is still very much working on building his video resume while still designing for his furniture lines and clients!
Q: What would be some advice you would give designers trying out for Design Star?
A: Be yourself! Be yourself Be yourself! Practice in front of the camera and know how to explain things in a hundred different ways using your hands and keeping your eyes on the camera!!
Q: What has Jason been doing since the show and what has life been like? Well, he is actually still under contract with HGTV until this December. Jason created his own furniture line, Jason Champion Outdoor, and is looking forward to his new indoor line. He also contributes on air at Fox News Tampa Bay (want to see a couple? Click here & here.) Jason has clients that he is designing for right here in town! (Check out these fun videos too… here and and here for his audition).
Q: Does he still keep in touch with his fellow contestants?
A: Absolutely… all but 2 who kind of dropped off the face of the earth! Antonio and Jason bonded over the course of the show and have remained really good design buddies. Also, the contestants visit each other frequently… Jen just came for a visit, Jason is flying out here shortly to make a visit… they truly developed friendships that will last forever.
Q: What were some of the craziest parts of Design Star?
A: Never sleeping! They actually put you in a hotel room for 4 days where you only get to go out of the hotel room for an hour a day! They want you to get as much rest as possible because life in Design Star is crazy busy! They do their one on one interview with the camera guys from 2 AM to 6 AM. Jason learned to do his in 30 minutes and was back in bed… the others weren’t so fast!!
Q: What is his fashion style?
A: A great pair of shoes, jeans and a nice shirt… He doesn’t dress up for appointments all that much anymore. Jeans and a fab pair of shoes is his thing and he is all about being true to himself!
Jason asked me what my journey has been in design… I told him my design experience in high-end residential, hospitality, healthcare and boutique design. We compared stories about projects and the joys of being an interior designer! I walked away with some great tips for my business here in Sarasota (A Design Story, LLC.)… Charge for your services by the square foot, if they don’t want to pay… walk away. The other thing I took from him is confidence is everything. He truly is confident in who is he, his talents and in what his future will be. I am confident in my ability as a designer, but there is always room for improvement!
Jason is very personable and he really comes across as sincere and just an all around really nice guy! He even bought my Latte… what a nice guy! I am really excited about the future and the new friendship I have found in Jason! He mentioned potential collaboration opportunities in the future and I truly look forward to it! I will keep everyone up to date on the happenings as they occur! Oh, also guys… he also mentioned following my blog… gosh love him!
Isn’t it fun when you meet someone you have been inspired by and they truly met every expectation you had? Loving it! Hopefully I will be getting some fun commentary on Design Star this season from Jason… so stay tuned for that and more fun behind the scenes of the show…
I shared this fabulous post with The Inspired Room… click here.