Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Local Design Star Dishes on Reality TV, his Colorado Roots and Phil Anschutz

The Celebrity Examiner stands corrected. The very kind Matt Locke, who is competing in this season’s reality show, HGTV’s Design Star, did indeed return my message and has graciously agreed to an interview. Apparently Locke was in New York for a “fun press event” for Design Star and couldn’t get back to me last week (ah, living the famed life already!).

While this Colorado Springs native (whose parents and sister still live in Colorado Springs) was careful not to give away any indication on whether he is the Design Star champion, this Air Academy High graduate did dish about life in the reality spotlight, his favorite high school hangouts and why he’d like to dine with Phil Anschutz.

CE: How did you become interested in Design Star?
Locke: I watched both seasons when I moved to LA and thought, “I’m a designer, I love TV, I should do that!”

CE: What is/was your strategy when competing on the show?
Locke: This show is about talent so I tried to focus on doing my best work. I also wanted to get along with the other designers because I knew we’d all be teammates on challenges at some point.

CE: What surprised you most about being on the show vs. watching the show in previous seasons?
Locke: It’s much, much harder than it looks. The cameras really are on us all day and there is no behind-the-scenes help with the challenges. Whatever we finish, or don’t finish, they show.

CE: There's buzz on the website that you're an early favorite to win - anything you can hint to us here?
Locke: I went all out on my design board and portfolio so I think that set a good tone with the judges; then Mikey and I rocked the first challenge with a cool bed solution.

CE: What are your favorite hang outs in Colorado Springs?
Locke: I grew up taking art classes at Bemis so I always loved downtown; the Fine Arts Center with its beautifully restrained art deco architecture and the Ritz when it opened 20 years ago before it was a nightspot. My friends and I would drive down there in high school and we thought we were impossibly cool.

CE: Do you come to Colorado often?
Locke: Not as often as I’d like. I worked in Denver for eight years in telecom and miss that city too. I love Colorado and hope to live there again someday part time.

CE: Have you been recognized in public yet?
Locke: Yesterday was the first time! I was checking into the gym and the guy who had scanned my ID for years suddenly said, “Hey, I know you from Design Star!” I shook his hand and told him he was the first person ever to recognize me.

CE: I Googled you and found out that you were on Jeopardy - how did you get involved with that?
Locke: When I moved to LA, I had a plan. One: become a full-time designer. Two: get on Jeopardy! Two was almost as hard as one! It took two tests, an audition and a year of waiting, but I made it on the show. That’s also what inspired me to go for Design Star because I absolutely choked [on Jeopardy] but still looked like I was having fun.

CE: Are you a trivia buff?
Locke: I love trivia, especially geography and world capitals. Ask me a country, I’ll tell you its capital and point to it on a map. I’m obsessed with maps and Google Earth!

CE: What did you think of Alex Trebeck?
Locke: He was a lot warmer in person than he appears on TV. I used to think he was a little snobby, but he’s really nice.

CE: What is your best talent outside of designing?
Locke: Fact-checking. I was a history major so I’m always verifying the source of everything. It’s incredibly annoying to my friends and family, but the Internet makes being a geek like that so much easier.

CE: If you could have lunch with one Colorado personality/celebrity/athlete/etc, who would it be and why?
Locke: Phil Anschutz. I love movies and he owns practically every movie theater in America. I’d love to hear all about that business from inside.

CE: What's next for Matt Locke?
Locke: I have crazy ambitions to design the world around us. There are so many amazing new technologies and processes for creating objects, interiors, and buildings that a designer can now do much, much more than ever before. The world is opening up to a new kind of designer and I want to be right there at the top.

Read More about Matt Locke at mattlocke.com
(reprinted from examiner.com/denver)

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