Architecture and Design

Design Star Gazing: Dallas' Leslie Ezelle On Breast Cancer, Reality TV and Bachelor Pads

It may not be on Bravo or have Andy Cohen's head talking after it airs, but HGTV's Design Star is just as addictive as any of the Top Chefs, Platinum Hits or Work of Arts out there.

The latest season of Design Star premiered with the same panel of expert judges (Vern Yip, Candice Olson and Genevieve Gorder) a new host (Tanika Ray) and new mentor (the disturbingly happy David Bromstad, who not-so-incidentally was the first ever winner of Design Star), and a new slew of contestants.

For four episodes, we've watched the designers battle through designing their own living space, the great White Box challenge (this time with restaurant supplies as their only decor options), a neighbor challenge and renovating a bed-and-breakfast. In just the first episode it was clear who fit all the categories: among them, Cathy, the hard-to-work-with, condescending snarler; Karl, the mural magician; Kellie, the perky spitfire; Mark and Tyler, the guys who were silently competing the moment they met; and Leslie, the Dallasite who dropped the f-bomb and did two push-ups in the first half of the premiere episode -- the exception to the category rule.

Whether or not any of those other assumptions are correct, what is completely true is that Leslie Ezelle is stealing the show. She may not have won big challenges yet, but she cracks us up, her talking head segments are stellar and her banter with her fellow contestants is honest and refreshing. Also, she blogs about the show, covering what you see as well as what you don't see.

She's the one of the few designers on the show you'd actually want to hire or hang out with in your home -- which will hopefully bode well for her given the prize for winning Design Star is a show on HGTV (so we could all hang with her all the time).

The Mixmaster caught up with Ezelle -- local designer, artist, mom of four (not including all the pets), wife, former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, breast cancer survivor, advocate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, fan of soulful music (Adele is a favorite), and someone who finds the television production rule "Don't sing while you work" to be exceptionally difficult to follow -- while she was out in LA working on a friend's home, and learned about life on camera, her take on pink, who her favorite clients are in Dallas, and how you can de-lame a room in minutes.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin