Friday, July 18, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Interior designer and Minnesota native Melissa Roche, now based in Las Vegas with her company Parlor 430 on East Sahara, was crowned Season 2 champion of HGTV’s “Brother vs. Brother” on Sunday night.
I caught up with Roche the Tuesday after her victory, and she talked about twin-brother hotties Drew and Jonathan Scott, excitement about SLS Las Vegas opening next month and what she’ll do with the $50,000 first-place prize.
Congratulations on winning “Brother vs. Brother.” How does it feel?
Thank you! Well, as you know, I knew about it before Sunday night, and it was tough keeping my mouth shut. It’s like the anticipation of Christmas. But it was an incredible journey and an exciting adventure. It was exciting to win; it feels unreal.
How did you audition or apply for the HGTV series?
I saw an open casting on the Internet. I applied via email, submitted a video and was interviewed via Skype. I was flown to New York, met with the producers and went through the process. But it all started with the online ad.
How was your overall experience on “Brother vs. Brother”?
I would do it again! I loved every minute of it. I was surprised, as were the other contestants, on how much goes into the production side with the challenges, research and development. It was a big and challenging experience, but I was confident and knowledgeable in my work.
The toughest moment?
The finale with my Team Drew teammate Eric (Eremita). I was a team player the entire series, but there was a realization that this was a competition in the last episode, and we are in this for the $50,000 first-place prize. It was overwhelming. There were tears and frustration.
The best moment?
The start, the introductions and production, meeting the brothers and the competitors. Definitely meeting the brothers on their show.
The biggest surprise?
Aside from all the production work, getting over the first challenge. There is so much filming and behind-the-scenes. People might think it’s staged or fake, but you give them the material — it’s still you. It’s not scripted. If you’re an evil person, it comes through. And the cameras are always with you; there is no hiding from those cameras!
And the toughest judge?
Hilary Farr of “Love It or List It.” We’re designers presenting our work to the judges in a specific time frame. Her reactions and judgment resonated with me. She has a good track record. She tells it how it is, and it’s how she feels.
What first piqued your interest in interior design?
It’s started as a child always moving my room around, moving my parents’ living room around. I loved to paint and refinish furniture. It’s my passion. It’s the best feeling to wake up for work, and I don’t feel like I’m working. You can’t shut it off.
Tell me about your interior-design business in Las Vegas.
It’s called Parlor 430 on East Sahara — 430 is the address. It used to be a massage parlor with group showers; it was a little different. But it’s my office with staging, a showroom, and it’s by appointment. Most of my clients are in Summerlin and some in Henderson, so it’s a good middle point.
I’m sort of a furniture matchmaker in helping them achieve a room and a look they want with custom drapery and accessorizing. Interior design shouldn’t be unattainable. Your home is your sanctuary, and you should love it. I’m next to SLS.
Are you excited about SLS Las Vegas?
OK, who isn’t?! I drive by it every day, and it’s exciting to see the progression. Yes, it’s good for my neighborhood, but it’s also good for an old casino.
What will you do with the $50,000 prize money?
I plan to reinvest in a midcentury modern home. I’d like to put it back into a property and sell it to someone who cares about their home.
I guess it’s technically been two days, but how has your life changed since winning?
I’m from a town of 18,000 people in Minnesota, and the support from back home has been incredible. People are coming out of the woodwork, people I haven’t heard from since high school. And it’s cool meeting new people. This is definitely a launching pad for meeting more people and letting everyone know how awesome HGTV is.
What was it like working with Drew Scott?
First of all, they are as cute in person as they are on TV! Drew is Type A, structured, always on, working, planning — he’s 100 percent professional and a great mentor with a great track record.
Can you tell Drew and Jonathan apart? If so, how?
(Laughs) You know, at one point during shooting, they switched hats and changed clothes during a break, and it was funny telling them part. But Drew is always cleaned up, and he’s a little broader than Jonathan. When you work with both of them, you realize that their personalities are different.
I’d like to meet other designers in town and build up Parlor 430. I’m currently doing research for a product line — made in the USA or locally. There are so many great artists and designers in Las Vegas.
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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