Nina Ferrer, Meana No More

For those of you that have been faithfully watching this season of Design Star, the name Nina Ferrer probably rings a bell. From the very first episode, Nina was vocal, strong-willed and fairly demanding without sugar coating much that came out her mouth. It goes without saying that had she been a man, these traits would have given her an edge and she probably would have been seen as the one to beat. But of course being a woman behaving in this way brought out much stronger emotions in the viewers who immediately dubbed her "Meana". I gladly hopped on this bandwagon...I mean no one actually reads this little blog, right? Um, wrong. First Emily Henderson commented and I nearly peed myself and then following my review of Episode 4, Nina commented on the post. I was mortified knowing that she had read my unkind words and after I closed my mouth that had been agape, I simply chuckled. "Yeah. Good one. Like this is REALLY Nina...THE Nina...that commented. I'm sure it's just someone playing around", I thought, "and if I just click on her name next to her comment to see her profile, surely it will just be some random""Oh, Shiznit. It really IS her."

 After that little click took me directly to her blog and after I read some of her posts and found myself grinning at her verbiage I realized...yikes...I think I had her all wrong. I think I forgot that these are real people with real feelings who are placed in a really challenging situation and wow...I kinda suck. So, I left her a comment thanking her for visiting my blog and wishing her well and low and behold, do you know this terrible person...this "Meana" emailed me within the hour and was so kind and funny and went so far as to say she'd be happy to do an interview to post right here on Ohmigosh!? So, I'm really proud to give you the following post where we'll learn who this person really is.

1.  Nina, we were introduced to you on the HGTV show, Design Star, but can you give us a bit of background on who you were up until you joined the show? Are you a professional designer, an architect or simply a design enthusisast and what kind of education do you have in your field?
"I had been working for Ralph Lauren when I heard about the open audition for the show.  I had been with the company for years.  I graduated from Pratt institute with an Architecture degree but also studied Interior Design and fine arts with their study abroad program in Tuscany.  I was very happy with my life and where I was at professionally."

2.       Where did you grow up and where has life taken you so far? When did you know you wanted to work in the interior design industry?
"I am born and raised in Brooklyn and still live there.   I have traveled all over the world and lived in many places but the culture of Brooklyn is just so relateable to me.  I am not saying I may not be moving away soon like to LA (wink wink)  but I have respect for the culture of where I come from."

3.       Tell us who and or what you are influenced by. Is it the high profile designers or have you found influence in your own surroundings? 
"I am always influenced by my clients.  I look at the job of a designer a little like a psychiatrist,  I am there merely to pull out of the client what already exists.  A client usually hires me because they have seen my past work so a little of me and lot of the client always equals a beautiful end result. I have never had an unsatisfied client."

4. Before you joined Design Star would you have considered yourself successful in the design field? How do you measure success?
"I measure success by the projects I have been a part of corporately and the projects I have been awarded as an individual business.  My professional work experience and background proves my success in the corporate world.  The jobs I have done on my own have drawn a lot of positive attention and generated more business so I guess I would say yes I consider myself successful."

5. Had you watched the previous seasons of Design Star or any other similar shows? What were your thoughts and did you have a favorite?
"Truth be told I had never seen an episode before auditioning.  I watched a few before going on the show, but there was only two days between resigning from Polo and starting the filming so you can imagine how many episodes I watched.  Lol, not that many." 

6. When did you decide to try out for the show? How did you find the information you needed to apply? What was the process like and how long did it take? Tell us how you found out you made the cut and how you felt.
"My family encouraged me to audition. They are  HGTV fans and thought I would be perfect.  I am a risk taker and I love a challenge so I figured why not.  I was excited when I found out I made the show.  I looked at it as,  'hey my life is going to change good or bad, but it is definitely going to change'. 
There is no way to be prepared for being creative on TV and being on top of your game with 12 other people 24/7.  LOL,   it was intense but it was so much fun."

7. What concerns did you have about joining the show? What information were you given before hand? For example, were you told what paint company you'd be using, what stores you'd be shopping and/or what power tools would be available to you? Were you able to take personal journals/look books/or other inspiration notes with you?
I really didn’t have any time to have many concerns about the show.  It all happened so fast.   I just jumped right in.

8. We'll be seeing Episode 5 tonight and so I'm sure you've had comments from viewers, friends and family. How has that affected you and has it been positive or negative in general? How do you feel about the nickname you were given, "Meana"? Having watched the episodes, do you feel like the Nina we saw was representative of who you are?
"I take my job very seriously and I think that is what the camera captured.  I am passionate and intense when it comes to creating and being a professional."

9. In episode 4 you were in the bottom 3, do you feel that was fair?
"As some of the viewers are noticing,  there seems to be a lot more pressure on me then any other contestant,  I win one day and the next, there I am in the bottom because they expect more of me.  I think there were other people in both episode 2 and 4 that did a lot less and they were not in the bottom.  I take it as a compliment that the judges looked so closely at me and I think I showed that I work well under pressure."

10. If you were the one selected as the winner of this season, what kind of show could we look forward to on HGTV? What would be your concept? Is hosting a tv show scary to you or exciting?
"If I were to win this season you could expect a fun show that you could learn something from."
14. You have recently begun your own blog, can you tell us about it?
"I started a blog as an outlet to share my upcoming projects and art work.  I have traveled to so many places,  I have a lot photographs and art work I am proud of and I thought a blog would be a great place to share that.  I have been writing about the show lately because that is what is going on in my life at the moment but once the show is over I will be back to posting my art and design work.  I am actually working on a fabulous residence in the French style that I am very excited about.  The client likes French but with an edge of modern so it should come really nice."

15. How can people contact you if they're interested in hiring you or purchasing one of your paintings?
"If anyone is interested in buying any of my photography or paintings they can email me at  or you can check out my work @  and read my blog at"

Nina, I want to thank you so very much for taking the time to let us get to know you and the Design Star process a bit better. We are excited to see where the process takes you and the other designers and will look forward to hearing your continued commentary on your blog. We wish you the best of luck and hope you'll stop by Ohmigosh! often and share your insights!

All photos are the work of Nina Ferrer and in some cases in collaboration with other Design Star contestants via HGTV.

Tune in tonight at 9pm central time to watch episode 5 of Design Star on HGTV and check out my blog tomorrow for my full review AND the winners of the Stella & Dot giveaways!!!!


Amy Nelson said...

What a great interview, and I just really love how it came about. :)

And I really dig that couch in the pic next to question #8!!!!!!

Jen of All Trades said...

Thanks, Amy! I love hearing your comments. Yeah, that is a great sofa. I wonder if that's Nina's home? Cute pups, too. Have a great Sunday!

Amy Nelson said...

Awww, thank you! :) If that is Nina's home, I would really like to see more of it, it looks beautiful!

If I ever make it up that way, I AM coming to see you! I think I need to come up to shop your store!

Carrie DeVine said...

Great interview Jen!!!!

Candy Collins said...

Wow...GREAT JOB Jen...not that I'm surprised! You truly are a Jen of All Trades! :)

nina said...

Hi Jenn,

Thanx for the interview. I love all the photos you posted. I am reposting this for everyone to read becasue i think you did such a great job.

don't be a stranger

Jen of All Trades said...

Thank YOU for doing the interview! It was great to learn a bit more about you and I know I'm a big dork...but I'm seriously a bit blue that you were the one to go last night. I was shocked! What are we going to do without our Nina? You added so much to the show! Ugh. I will be watching via your blog and facebook page which I just became a fan of what great things you'll do in the future and I know I'm not alone in wishing you all the best! Please stop by anytime...we'd love to hear from you! Take care, Jen

Anonymous said...

That's funny, you've changed your opinion about her just because she visited your blog. She's really a meana and her 'talent' not good enough to be a design star winner and no one would love to watch a witch host. That's good finally the judges saw her real 'talent' and let her go. To be a good designer not only need to be creative but also need to respect other people that they work with and nina not only has tacky 'talent' but also not respect other people at all. So glad she's gone from the show.

Jen of All Trades said...

Oh, Anonymous...what can I say? I actually read another blog today that had an interview posted with Nina and it was full of nasty things about her and was really, really blunt and scathing. I actually thought it was a fabulous interview and I guess I'm just not that brave. Really though, it's just more in my personality to try not to judge people too harshly for how they behave in a situation I've never been in and also, I truly believe that had she been a man we wouldn't have made such a tadoo over it. Take Tom in the last episode...he was exactly professional, but I don't hear anyone talking about him. So, yes, I did get excited to hear from her...I'm a small time designer from Iowa and so, for me, that's kinda exciting and I'm not ashamed of that. I, personally, wish her well and all I can do is judge her on my personal experience with her and that, taken by itself, has been nothing but positive. Thanks for your comment!

Jen of All Trades said...

If anyone would like to read the above mentioned interview you can find it at on the Room Fu blog. It was done via phone and believe me when I say, "Deeeeeeaaaummmmm", it is somethin' you'll be talking about. Obviously, that interviewer had a whole different experience with Nina than I, you be the judge! Actually, that link didn't seem to come through so just click on my name attached to this comment in blue and it should take you there.

Anonymous said...

No one on the show was as unkind as Nina, man or not. Unkindness is unkindness, regardless of the gender. Period. Why make excuses for it?

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