From 2007 to 2018, Jeff Lewis dominated the roost on his Emmy-nominated sequence Flipping Out. Whether or not you really liked the obsessive-compulsive inside designer working with shoppers and buddies to have his imaginative and prescient realized — or liked to hate him — nobody may deny that Lewis was the final word professional, each on and off digicam.
After taking a couple of years off the reality-TV hustle to deal with his Sirius XM radio-hosting gig and being a single dad to daughter Monroe, he returns to the small display with Hollywood Houselift With Jeff Lewis. For this new sequence, Lewis and his staff work their home-renovation magic for a slew of stars, together with Anthony Anderson, Fortune Feimster, Ashlee Simpson Ross, and Mira Sorvino.
Whereas all of it feels like shiny escapism — Wilmer Valderrama’s turned a rest room right into a barbershop?! — the general outcome finally ends up surprisingly heartfelt. Fatherhood is a thread that carries by the sequence, with viewers seeing how his daughter has modified Lewis, in addition to following him on his journey to have a second youngster through surrogacy. To place it merely: Lewis undergoes an emotional trek that reveals a distinct aspect of a actuality star many individuals might imagine they already know.
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Hollywood Houselift With Jeff Lewis releases its first three episodes June 10 on Amazon Freevee; new episodes will debut every subsequent Friday by the tip of July.
Forward of the sequence’ premiere, Lewis spoke with Shondaland about rising up with out shedding his edge, the transformative energy of parenting, and his fast-food obsessions.
JONATHAN RIGGS: What made Hollywood Houselift the proper subsequent chapter for you?
JEFF LEWIS: I did a present for Bravo known as Inside Remedy that I all the time liked. I needed to do an analogous present in that it was extra about different individuals’s lives than mine. It turned out Hollywood Houselift ended up being a hybrid. I assumed it was going to be extra concerning the celebrities’ lives, but it surely inevitably turned a little bit bit about mine, in addition to the people who work for me.
JR: Of the celebrities you labored with on the present, whom would you most belief to redo your house?
JL: Folks on the whole are much more within the know relating to design now than they had been, say, 10 years in the past. So, most shoppers have fairly good concepts about what they need. Evan Ross and Ashlee Simpson Ross have nice style. I believe that Wilmer Valderrama has good style, and we labored nicely collectively as a result of he may go off the reservation a little bit bit.
Mira Sorvino and I didn’t completely see eye to eye on all the pieces. However finally, she was very proud of the rework. She made all her personal selections, though I prevented her from making some unhealthy ones. Anthony Anderson and I labored very well collectively, and we nonetheless are buddies relying on the supposed which means?] after the actual fact. Fortune [Feimster] was enjoyable, though her companion was a little bit robust. There have been no main rifts or fights, just a bit little bit of rigidity and a few disagreements.
JR: As a viewer, I used to be anticipating there to be a blowout between you and Lamorne Morris’ buddy/designer Morgan, who had a really robust — and stoic — presence in that specific job.
JL: I’ve by no means had somebody need me to work with their designer. I simply sort of accepted the state of affairs for what it was: I wasn’t going to edge her out or change her. We needed to work collectively. She wasn’t tough, however she additionally wasn’t very heat and fuzzy. Morgan is a strong, profitable lady. So, whether or not or not I appreciated her was irrelevant. I respect her, and I believe she’s good at her job. I’d somewhat be revered than appreciated any day. However being on this enterprise for therefore a few years, I do know that each state of affairs is completely different. And so I’ve been studying to adapt and roll with it.
JR: Hollywood Houselift exhibits some completely different sides to you than viewers is perhaps anticipating. How do you’re feeling you’ve modified because you first got here to prominence?
JL: I believe I grew up — it took me some time! Most individuals develop up of their 30s. For me, it was later than that. The non-public issues that occurred in my life over the previous couple of years very a lot modified who I’m, and I deal with my enterprise in a different way now too. I actually attempt to take a breath and reply rationally as a result of I’ve burned the home down so many occasions with my reactions and feelings. So lastly, I’ve determined that I’m not going to proceed to make the identical errors again and again.
JR: We see you in some actually susceptible moments in your surrogacy journey to grow to be a father for the second time, most emotionally while you get disappointing information from the fertility physician within the final episode.
JL: That was not a cellphone name I used to be planning on taking up digicam. I didn’t count on the decision or the information that I wasn’t pregnant. We had such good luck with the primary being pregnant, like “proper off first embryo pregnant.” I used to be shocked, they usually requested me if I needed that reduce. I elected to depart it in as a result of it’s vital I keep open, trustworthy, and susceptible. I used to be so harm, I advised myself I wanted six months earlier than I may even discuss it, however you grieve, and then you definitely bounce again.
Lots of people have gone by this course of and know what it’s like. I’ve a detailed buddy that has gone by it round eight occasions. It was actually, actually tough, however finally, they had been profitable. So, I’m making an attempt to be hopeful. I solely have one different embryo. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’ll do, as a result of I’d have to begin re-creating embryos, and, let’s be trustworthy, I’ve obtained a low sperm rely. If this one works, I’ll be blessed. If it doesn’t, I’ll take into consideration what the following steps can be. There’s all the time adoption.
JR: In some ways, the present feels extra like a documentary than a standard design actuality present.
JL: I like that it turned a lot much less formatted than what I had anticipated. There wasn’t a producer telling us what to do or say. I used to be similar to, “Guys, comply with me.” I’ve a buddy that’s on Promoting Sundown, a really, very produced present to the purpose the place they’re giving individuals strains. I like that this present is the precise antithesis of that. Whether or not they’re celebrities or not, I’m all the time within the individuals who dwell within the properties I’m engaged on. I wouldn’t thoughts doing a spin-off of this present with out celebrities.
JR: Though she’s not within the solid, we hear quite a bit about your 5-year-old daughter, Monroe, and her massive persona — threatening to fireplace individuals, asking to modify rooms with you. What’s her sizzling tackle the present?
JL: I haven’t proven her something but. Her different dad [Gage Edward] doesn’t need her on tv in any respect. I want she could possibly be within the present a little bit bit extra; I’d love for her to see what I do. She’s obtained a extremely humorous persona and could be very fast to recollect all the pieces. I’m curious to see who she’s going to develop as much as be, however I do know she’ll stay robust and opinionated. She jogs my memory of my grandmother a lot, I believe that she’s been reincarnated. I’m terrified for when she turns into a youngster. One motive why I need a second youngster is to assist Monroe notice the world doesn’t revolve round her — though mine does.
JR: It actually resonated with me while you and Mira Sorvino had been having a dialogue the place she mentioned her concern of letting go of family issues. As a seasoned home flipper and frequent mover, what’s your philosophy on separating feelings from objects?
JL: I may be materialistic, however I’ve by no means had an attachment to issues. What I noticed, like with Mira and different shoppers, is how individuals can have an emotional somewhat than a rational attachment. I perceive having a few vital possessions, like a hoop out of your mom or sure photos, but it surely’s a distinct story when you could have a three-car storage crammed together with your mother and father’ furnishings.
I had to assist a shopper in that state of affairs, and although he knew he was by no means going to make use of the furnishings or put it in his house, it was painful for him to let it go. Mira was very candy, and listening to how her behavior of holding on to issues got here from this emotional place gave me an emotional tug. I acknowledged the unhappiness she felt, however I additionally appreciated attending to see how comfortable and loving her marriage, house, and household are.
JR: The place do you hope the following season of the present goes?
JL: I wish to see extra of the undertaking managers. I do know that for lots of people who watched Flipping Out, in the event that they didn’t like or relate to me, there was all the time someone else within the ensemble they did. The undertaking managers are artistic individuals with massive personalities, and I’d prefer to see them get extra love.
I all the time really feel just like the extra time I spend with shoppers, the higher, as a result of that’s while you break the floor and get to know them. You may inform the distinction with a shopper who allowed me a number of entry. I had nice relationships with Fortune and Anthony, and I believe it confirmed within the work.
JR: Lastly, is it true, as acknowledged on the present, that the Chick-fil-A drive-through employees know you by title?
JL: I imply, not each worker, however there are a couple of that know me nicely. It’s embarrassing, however I’m very obsessive. If I eat Chick-fil-A at present, I would eat it 10 days in a row. I would eat it for 2 months, after which I’m carried out; I transfer on to a different restaurant. So, that specific part in my life, I used to be obsessive about Chick-fil-A. In the present day, I despatched my assistant to In-N-Out 20 minutes early as a result of I do know the road will get so lengthy. I’m in my In-N-Out part, which is nice hangover meals. I simply do a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, no onions. And I really like the fries.
Jonathan Riggs is a contract author and former managing editor of the LGBTQ+ way of life journal Intuition.
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