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HGTV reveals the identities of its ten 'HGTV Design Star' contestants

By Reality TV World staff, 07/08/2006 

HGTV has revealed the identities of the ten contestants who will compete on HGTV Design Star, the home and lifestyle programming network's first foray into the reality competition show genre.

Scheduled to premiere Sunday, July 23 at 9PM ET/PT, HGTV Design Star will feature ten designers, architects, decorators and artists competing to win what may be the ultimate designing prize -- their own HGTV television show. Included among the ten finalists are a former beauty pageant queen and single mother of two, a former professional skier, a pair of identical twin brothers, and three Harvard graduates.

"The HGTV Design Star competitors come to the show from all over the country and from all walks of life, but they all have a passion for designing and a fierce desire to star in their own television show," said James Bolosh, HGTV's vice president of original programming. "Not one of these finalists wants to be eliminated, so each week viewers will see the incredible lengths they will go to in order to showcase their design expertise and develop a television persona, while holding their own among formidable competition."

An eight episode series, each of HGTV Design Star's first six episodes will feature weekly competitions, after which the show's Project Runway-like three member judging panel will determine which finalists make it to the next round. However unlike Project Runway, the show's judges won't determine HGTV Design Star's winner -- instead, once the show's seventh episode (scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, September 3 at 10PM ET/PT) airs, home viewers will be able to jump onto either or their wireless phone and vote for whichever finalist they feel should win the competition. Voting will last three days, after which the show's Sunday, September 10 finale will reveal HGTV Design Star's winner.

Former Trading Spaces designer Vern Yip, renowned designer Cynthia Rowley, and In Style executive editor Martha McCully will serve as HGTV Design Star's judges.

The ten contestants who will compete on HGTV Design Star (also with their network supplied biographies) are:

David Bromstad, a 32-year-old from Miami, FL

This handsome and often shirtless finalist is a trained and talented artist who attended Ringling School of Art and Design. That, coupled with his youthful energy and out-of-the-box thinking, makes David a great contender to become the HGTV Design Star. Earnest, passionate, talented and creative, David creates awe-inspiring work on many platforms including custom art, furniture building, and interior design, primarily for children’s rooms. He describes his design POV as “a blend of styles incorporating realism and fantasy…transporting you to another reality.”

Vanessa De Leon, a 25-year-old from Fairfield, NJ

Vanessa is a self-proclaimed “trend setter,” who describes her style as “Glamilistic.” She is a confident young designer, with a great deal to back it up. Only 25 years old, she has already been published eight times, and is not shy sharing information about her success. As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC) and Berkeley College (NJ), Vanessa favors eclectic and contemporary design, but also has a strong knowledge of Feng Shui, which she brings to many of her projects. Vanessa, who grew up around the family furniture business, now has her own design firm and teaches an interior design course part-time at Berkeley College. She has little tolerance for people without serious design experience and says that, “those [people] who do not have any professional design experience should not even be considered for the show.”

Tym De Santo, a 46-year-old from Fort Wayne, IN

Tym has excelled at many things in his life and calls his current job “Artist/Designer/Entrepreneur.” As a pro-skier on the Audi Quatto Pro Tour; competitive snowboarder, skateboarder and tennis player; singer/songwriter; award winning photographer; sculptor and business executive, Tym brings an atypical design background to HGTV Design Star. He attributes his success to his vision and energy -- two traits he applies to everything he does, including fatherhood. Tym follows his passions and says he and his wife are, “both artists and are not starving.” While Tym has a Bachelors Degree in Art and Business, much of his design knowledge came through his own study and pursuit, beginning with building his own house when he was 28 years old. His specific art and design skills are most evident in his work as a good builder and executor for everything from furniture and houses to skate parks and Photoshop files. Tym believes, “Texture is the magic ingredient—don’t overlook it.”

Teman Evans, a 26-year-old from Brooklyn, NY

Teman is one of identical twin brothers who have literally done everything in their lives together. Yet for the first time, in front of a national television audience, the 6'4" pair will not be a team. Teman, the brother with the dreadlocks, has been described as outgoing, “driven and confident.” He and his brother Teran are Harvard-graduate architects and world-traveled scholars of architecture and design who jointly own a firm and live together. Currently their design company is producing textile/fabric design and interiors, as well as jewelry that is available at a leading retailer and has been featured in national magazines such as O and Essence. Their design style is primarily minimalism and they both agree, "a space is never done. It will always be a work in progress."

Teran Evans, a 26-year-old from Brooklyn, NY

The other half of the twin brothers is Teran, who has been described as the “inventive” or “quiet brother who is always getting things done.” Teran has shared all of his life experiences with his sibling, from their three years at Harvard to time living and working in Europe for the renowned Dutch architect and designer of the Prada boutiques, Rem Koolhaas. In addition, he and his brother Teman are classically-trained musicians who play five musical instruments between them. Since there can be only one HGTV Design Star, Teman and Teran must compete against each other for the coveted title.

Alice Fakier, a 31-year-old from Temple, TX

Alice loves lavish, accessorized, almost over-the-top design and is the finalist who was selected by viewers and online users during a week-long February vote on She has a degree from Louisiana Tech School of Architecture and owns a freelance design business that features her mother as the only employee. A former owner of other related businesses, Alice is both wickedly smart and amazingly graceful in all social situations. She takes great pride in her work, believes in the truth, but is never a push-over. Newly-married and recently relocated to the small town of Temple, Texas, Alice's design tips include, “fewer and larger accessories” and “resist the urge to overly coordinate.”

Ramona Jan, a 49-year-old from Damascus, PA

A self-described renaissance woman, Ramona says she does everything “fine.” In fact, this mother of an 11-year old daughter has had a rich and varied life, doing everything from restoring windows in historic homes to writing an ASCAP-winning song and holding a position as the Art Controller for a major financial institution's multi-million dollar art collection. Ramona is not formally trained in design, but with such a diverse background it is not surprising that she loves to turn trash to treasure - what she can't find, she makes. Her friends think she is eccentric, entertaining and endearing.

Joseph Kennard, a 41-year-old from Boston, MA

Joseph is an intellectual designer who plans everything and thinks deeply about every step of his work and his life. An entrepreneur with 14 years of professional experience, including six years running his own design business, Joseph is risking it all to join the cast of HGTV Design Star. This single, self-made man has Masters in Architecture from Harvard and is described by a friend as “the nicest guy you will ever meet with the charisma and empathy to turn a stranger into a friend in seconds.”
Joseph believes, “good design should reveal the personalities of the people who occupy the space.” He also likes to “infuse items with multiple functions;” for example the moveable shelves in his own apartment that also serve as room dividers when needed.

Temple McDowell, a 30-year-old from Farmington, UT

A former Miss Utah and a semi-finalist for the title of Miss USA 1997, Temple is a single mother of two boys. She lacks formal design training but after being around her father, who was an art dealer, she makes up for it with a natural eye for design, energy, hard work, and "in it to win it attitude." She has only completed home design projects for friends and family, but some have been ambitious, like turning the bedroom of the two girls for whom she was a nanny into a hidden garden -- complete with a picket fence and rope swing from the ceiling. Temple's design premises include, “say no to clutter” and “don't sacrifice style just because kids are in the home.”

Donna Moss, a 49-year-old from Arlington, TX

A part-time airline stewardess, socialite and interior designer, Donna is the mother of grown daughters and a teenage son with a disability. She believes that hair and make-up done well will help in any situation. Completely self-taught, Donna has no formal design training but has been working at her own business for 20 years.
Among the many unique experiences that make up her life, Donna served in the Army immediately after high school which may account for her devotion to hard work. Her 20 years working as a flight attendant has made it possible for her to travel -- and shop -- in every city. Donna is a big fan of faux finishes, animal prints, and decorative painting. In her design and, it seems, her life, Donna strongly believes that "beauty is in the details...Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize!"

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