Admit it: Every once in a while, while binge-watching home reno and design shows, you've totally thought, "Hey, I could do that." For a few seconds, you let the what-ifs take over, dreaming of hosting your version of Fixer Upper, Home Town, or Flip Or Flop. If you've ever taken those thoughts a step further, scouring HGTV's casting page to see if maybe, just maybe, you should apply, you've come to the right place.
After interviewing several stars who've landed HGTV shows, there have been a few common threads — beyond having a passion for design and, well, actually being able to execute those projects. (Most production companies are looking for people who have a design firm or construction business, so they have the means to produce content that can be filmed.) If you're ready to take the leap, get a head start on the competition by following these three musts.
1. Start Thinking Instagram First.
You're not the only one endlessly scrolling Instagram for inspo — many of the country's top producers are, too. That's how Home Town stars Ben and Erin Napier were found, as well as Hidden Potential's Jasmine Roth. Regularly posting design-related photos and projects you're working on — at least a couple times a week — can help you build an audience and show that you know your stuff.
Don't neglect Instagram Stories, either. While Instagram's algorithm can mean that some of your followers miss certain posts, Stories — which disappear within 24 hours of posting — can really let your personality shine. They're less polished, and allow you to go live, poll people, and give an unfiltered take on who you are and what you're about. Plus, every time you add something to your Story, your profile pops up at the top of the top bar on people's feeds, getting more eyeballs to your #content.
Posting your projects to a blog also helps, as well as reaching out to design blogs to see if they'd feature your makeovers. After all, it was a blog feature that made Chip and Joanna Gaines household names.
2. Maintain A Strong Hashtag Game.
Start researching popular hashtags, so you're easier for producers to find. recommends using ones like #currentdesignsituation and #housetour. It's also worth creating more niche hashtags devoted to specific projects you're working on. Jasmine did this as she chronicled the reno of her two-bedroom house in Utah, tagging every post #tinymountainhome.
Then, as she worked on beach houses, she tagged them #beachbuilds. Given how popular shows are about exotic locations (hello, HGTV's new "Beach Week"), #beachbuilds immediately caught producers' eyes. They started following her, eventually asking her to send them a two-minute video explaining who she is and what she does — AKA a sizzle reel.
Similarly, an after seeing photos of their wedding in Southern Living — and wound up thinking the duo might have TV potential after Insta-stalking Erin's #ILiveInLaurel posts.
3. Get Comfortable With The Camera.
No matter how natural you feel, something happens when I stranger points a camera at you and that red, blinking light goes on. For 90 percent of us, we change just a little — some ham it up more, becoming the funhouse-mirror version of themselves; some clam up, anxious to do anything weird that'd cast them in a bad light.
The biggest thing you can do is start recording videos now, whether it's just you and a cell phone, or a friend holding it for you. That's what Kitchen Cousins and Cousins On Call star John Colaneri did; the more practice you get, the more normal you'll feel.
"It took some adjustment, but the best advice we ever received was during our first pilot. Our showrunner, who’s one of our good friends to this day, knew we knew nothing. He stopped and told us, when it comes to talking to cameras and body positioning, we’ll work all that stuff. All I want is you to be you. We took that mantra through all of our shows," he said.
Of course, these steps don't mean anything if you don't take action. John's friend Googled production companies and just started sending the sizzle reel they filmed around, which is what eventually landed him the pilot with HGTV. Some people get lucky and get approached out of the blue, but if you really want this, start establishing your brand — making it easy for producers to see your work at a glance, and how comfortable you are on camera — then start applying, emailing, and doing whatever you can to get on the top production companies' radars (pro tip: two great ones to know are , which produced Fixer Upper and countless other hits, and , the force behind Flip Or Flop and House Hunters).
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