September 26, 2020

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What These 25 HGTV Stars Did Before They Were Famous

Your favorite HGTV hosts offer everything from homebuying advice to renovation tips. After binge-watching more episodes of their addictive shows than you’ll care to admit, it’s hard to imagine these HGTV stars doing anything but doling out home advice to the masses. But these hosts had to earn a living somehow before they became reality show stalwarts.

See what the stars of these popular HGTV TV shows were doing before they were famous.

Last updated: July 26, 2019

Christina Anstead

Known for: “Flip or Flop” and “Christina on the Coast”

Then: Before “Flip or Flop” debuted in 2013, she was a real estate agent who had recently forayed into the house-flipping business with now-ex-husband Tarek El Moussa.

Now: Beyond filming “Flip or Flop,” the interior design expert is busy with her own HGTV show, “Christina on the Coast,” which premiered in early 2019 and follows Anstead as she expands her design business throughout Southern California.

David Bromstad

Known for: “My Lottery Dream Home,” “HGTV Design Star,” “Color Splash” and “Flipping the Block”

Then: The original winner of “HGTV Design Star,” David Bromstad started his career at Walt Disney World, where he created theme park installations.

Now: Still an HGTV regular, Bromstad offers a number of design services, including design consultation, interior design, furniture design, fine art and mural art.

Luke Caldwell

Known for: “Boise Boys”

Then: Before transforming homes throughout Boise, Idaho, with his partner Clint Robertson on HGTV, Caldwell worked as a professional musician. His travels around the world inspire his designs.

Now: Outside of filming “Boise Boys,” Caldwell continues to restore, design, build and sell homes around Boise through his home renovation company, Timber and Love. He’s also passionate about adoption. Caldwell and his wife, Miranda, have six children — two biological and four adopted.

Nicole Curtis

Known for: “Rehab Addict” and “Flipping the Block”

Then: When HGTV found Nicole Curtis, she was already a realtor who rehabbed historical properties. Before that, she worked as a waitress and a housekeeper.

Now: Curtis wrote the book “Better Than New,” which published in 2016. She also continues to renovate homes in Minneapolis and Detroit. As of April 2019, Curtis told People she was no longer filming new episodes of “Rehab Addict,” but was working on a developing a new show for HGTV.

Tamara Day

Known for: “Bargain Mansions”

Then: Tamara Day started fixing up homes out of necessity. She and her husband Bill purchased a 5,000-square-foot home in 2008 that needed a total renovation to be liveable. When the recession hit, Day had to figure out how to do much of the fixing herself. Her hands-on approach and knack for design got the attention of the local press, which helped her launch her design career and eventually landed her an HGTV show.

Now: You can catch Day on season two of “Bargain Mansions.” Fans of her aesthetic can shop her Growing Days home goods, which include area rugs, art, candles, bedding, decor and more.

Tarek El Moussa

Known for: “Flip or Flop”

Then: He got his real estate license at age 21, and found success selling multimillion-dollar houses in Orange County, California. This turned into flipping his first house in 2005.

Now: “Flip or Flop” will kick off its eighth season in August 2019 following El Moussa’s divorce from his wife and co-host Christina Anstead, and the cast salaries are expected to be sky-high. One of the top HGTV stars, he also runs real estate company Tarek Buys Houses, LLC. In January 2019, HGTV announced that El Moussa would be getting his own show on the network.

Hilary Farr

Known for: “Love It or List It” and “Brother Vs. Brother”

Then: Before HGTV fame, Farr served as president of her eponymous interior design company Hilary Farr Design. She also had a small role in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Now: She’s still running Hilary Farr Design and is an active supporter of Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife, which employs veterans to help stop the illegal poaching of African wildlife.

See: What These 21 Food Network Stars Did Before They Were Famous

Leanne Ford

Known for: “Restored by the Fords”

Then: Leanne Ford has always been a creative, though she hasn’t always worked in interior design. Ford started out in the fashion industry, working for nearly 15 years as a stylist and creative director in New York City and Los Angeles. She gained acclaim as an interior designer when she and her brother Steve restored and designed a 1907 schoolhouse in their hometown of Pittsburgh.

Now: “Restored by the Fords” wrapped up its second season in May, but Ford has kept busy outside of the show. She and her brother co-wrote a book, “Work in Progress,” which is now available for preorder. She’s also set to star in the upcoming HGTV competition show “Rock the Block.”

Steve Ford

Known for: “Restored by the Fords”

Then: Steve Ford worked as a contractor part time and took on seasonal construction gigs while pursuing his athletic passions, which include skiing, snowboarding and rafting.

Now: Although he’s gained acclaim as a contractor through “Restored by the Fords,” Ford hasn’t given up his love of outdoor sports. He teaches East Coasters how to wakeboard through his Surf Pittsburgh initiative.

Chip Gaines

Known for: “Fixer Upper”

Then: Before he was famous, Chip and his wife, Joanna Gaines, were renovating houses through their construction business Magnolia Homes.

Now: Season five of “Fixer Upper” was the last, but the Gaines have several businesses, including Magnolia Market, their Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line at Target, vacation rentals and the restaurant Magnolia Table. Although the Gaines have officially left HGTV, they will be launching their own television network with HGTV’s parent company, Discovery Inc., in 2020. 

Joanna Gaines

Known for: “Fixer Upper”

Then: Before deciding to fully focus on their home construction business, Joanna and Chip Gaines opened the first iteration of Magnolia Market back in 2003. They closed the business after having their first two kids but decided to reopen Magnolia Market in 2014.

Now: In between working on renovation projects and running Magnolia Market, Joanna enjoys life on her farm, cooking and gardening. And she’s likely very busy working on her new television network with Chip.

Jillian Harris

Known for: “Love It or List It, Too” and “Love It or List It Vancouver”

Then: One of the most recognizable HGTV stars, Jillian Harris starred on “The Bachelorette” during the show’s fifth season. At the time, she had a successful restaurant design career.

Now: Harris co-hosts “Love It or List It Vancouver” on HGTV Canada. She balances co-hosting with a career as a busy interior designer. She also works with many brands, including her JH for Melanie Auld, JH for Sage and JH for Etsy collections.

Karen E. Laine

Known for: “Good Bones”

Then: Karen E. Laine was working as a lawyer when she got bitten by the home renovation bug. She continued working as a lawyer full time and taking on renovation projects with her daughter and co-host, Mina Starsiak-Hawk, on the side until HGTV discovered the mother-daughter duo and gave them their own show, USA Today reported.

Now: In addition to starring in season four of “Good Bones,” Laine continues to rehab houses around Indianapolis through her and Starsiak-Hawk’s company, Two Chicks and a Hammer.

Mario Lopez

Known for: “Supersize My Pool”

Then: Mario Lopez is new to HGTV stardom, but he’s no stranger to the camera. The actor and host first gained fame as A.C. Slater on “Saved by the Bell,” which he starred on in the ’80s and ’90s.

Now: In addition to helping families upgrade their backyards on “Supersize My Pool” — which he both produces and hosts — Lopez is the co-host of “Extra.” He also hosts two radio shows, a boxing podcast and the travel food show “Food Quest” on A&E. In September, Lopez will become the host of “Access Hollywood” and “Access Daily,” Deadline reported.

Grace Mitchell

Known for: “One of a Kind”

Then: Before starring on HGTV, Grace Mitchell already had a following through her blog, A Storied Style. The Forth Worth, Texas-based mom of four started the blog in 2012, and when her kids were older, she began consulting with design clients again, helping them to create personalized homes.

Now: “One of a Kind” premiered in March 2019, and Mitchell is currently filming season two. When she’s not filming, she helps clients transform their homes with her unique eye for design.

Ben Napier

Known for: “Home Town”

Then: Prefame, Ben Napier and his wife and co-host, Erin, were running general store Laurel Mercantile with four friends, in addition to his woodworking company Scotsman Co.

Now: Largely considered the new Chip and Joanna Gaines, Ben and Erin are staying busy with “Home Town” and their store, Laurel Mercantile, which sells heirloom wares and durable goods. The fourth season of “Home Town” premieres in January 2020.

Check Out: 30 Ways To Upgrade Your Home for Cheap

Erin Napier

Known for: “Home Town”

Then: Before getting married and running several businesses with her husband Ben, Erin Napier was an art student at the University of Mississippi, which is where the couple met. Pre-HGTV fame, Napier started her own stationery company Lucky Luxe.

Now: In their downtime from filming, the Napiers are working on a renovation of their own home, House Beautiful reported in March 2019.

Clint Robertson

Known for: “Boise Boys”

Then: Before teaming up with his best friend, Luke Caldwell, to transform homes in Idaho’s capital city, the licensed contractor obtained law and business degrees and pursued a number of entrepreneurial ventures. He also worked as a business attorney and CPA and carries a brokers license in addition to his contractor’s license. “Boise Boys” actually isn’t Robertson’s first time on reality TV — he previously appeared on “The Apprentice.”

Now: In addition to filming the show, he continues to work for his home renovation company, Timber and Love, and is a broker with Timber and Love Realty. He also teaches others how to attain real estate success through his Flippin’ on the Side program.

Jasmine Roth

Known for: “Hidden Potential”

Then: Jasmine Roth has been working in various jobs since the age of 15. Her first job was as a fitness instructor at Curves Fitness.

Now: Starring on season two of “Hidden Potential” is only one of the things keeping Roth busy. She also has an online shop that sells lighting, pillows, rugs and furniture, and manages the design of new construction projects around Huntington Beach, California, through her company Built Custom Homes, LLC. Roth will be facing off against three other HGTV stars in the upcoming competition show “Rock the Block.”

Drew Scott

Known for: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling,” “Brother Vs. Brother” and “Property Brothers: Forever Home”

Then: Before “Property Brothers” debuted in 2011, Drew Scott was an aspiring actor with $100,000 in debt. You might’ve seen him on an episode of “Smallville” in 2006.

Now: The 2017 “Dancing With the Stars” contestant stays busy with his HGTV shows. He, along with twin brother Jonathan, also co-founded the company Scott Brothers Global, has a line of home goods called Scott Living, runs the lifestyle site DrewAndJonathan.com and is co-CEO of home renovation site Casaza. The brothers’ latest HGTV series, “Property Brothers: Forever Home,” premiered in May 2019.

Jonathan Scott

Known for: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling,” “Brother Vs. Brother” and “Property Brothers: Forever Home”

Then: Before becoming one of the biggest HGTV stars, Jonathan Scott was an aspiring magician who filed for bankruptcy. Like his brother, he also dabbled in acting.

Now: Beyond hosting their HGTV shows and running the Scott brothers’ various businesses, he and Drew have co-authored two New York Times best-selling books. They also wrote two children’s books, the latest of which went on sale in September 2019.

Orlando Soria

Known for: “Unspouse My House”

Then: You might recognize Orlando Soria from a different HGTV show. He appeared as Emily Henderson’s on-camera assistant on the home makeover show “Secrets From a Stylist.” Working with Henderson inspired Soria to become an interior designer himself, and he founded the firm Hommemade Design.

Now: “Unspouse My House” premiered on HGTV in June 2019. In addition to starring on the show and running his own design firm, Soria curates the Hommemaker blog and also sells handpainted notecards and pillows on his website.

Mina Starsiak-Hawk

Known for: “Good Bones”

Then: Mina Starsiak-Hawk graduated from Indianapolis University in 2007 and wasn’t sure what she was going to do next. While she was figuring it out, she worked as a waitress. As a way to feel more “adult,” she purchased a home with a co-sign from her mother and co-host Karen E. Laine, and the two decided to fix it up together. One house flip led to another, and their company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, was born. But Starsiak-Hawk continued to work as a waitress until they got signed with HGTV in 2014, USA Today reported.

Now: Starsiak-Hawk is currently starring on season four of “Good Bones,” and will be on the upcoming competition show “Rock the Block.” When she’s not filming, she and her mom renovate houses full time in the Indianapolis area. They also rent out one of their renovation projects on Airbnb.

Alison Victoria

Known for: “Windy City Rehab”

Then: Before Alison Victoria made her HGTV debut in January 2019 as the star of “Windy City Rehab,” she was already known by many viewers as the host of DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers.” Victoria has always had a passion for home improvement — she convinced her mom to let her make over their basement at the age of 10. Before becoming an HGTV star, Victoria ran her own interior design firm with offices in Chicago and Las Vegas, and also created her own line of luxury furniture and home furnishings, the Alison Victoria Collection.

Now: In addition to being an interior designer and TV host, Victoria is the owner and publisher of Sophisticated Living Chicago magazine. She will compete against Leanne Ford, Jasmine Roth and Mina Starsiak-Hawk on HGTV’s new competition show “Rock the Block,” which will premiere in the fall.

David Visentin

Known for: “Love It or List It” and “Brother Vs. Brother”

Then: A realtor since 1987, David Visentin already had more than 20 years of experience when “Love It or List It” debuted in 2008.

Now: Fame hasn’t changed this HGTV personality, as he still works at Country Living Realty Limited in Ontario, Canada, his employer since 1987.

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Priscilla Aguilera and Laura Woods contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: What These 25 HGTV Stars Did Before They Were Famous