Tobin Green was looking for work when he stumbled across an ad on the Internet two years ago. Sunday night, viewers will get to see the what that ad was all about as Green, 36, a urban designer from Tampa, joins the cast of HGTV Star in the reality competition's season premiere. He'll be one of 11 contestants vying for the chance to have their own show on Home & Garden Television.
Before the fight begins, Green talked to tbt* about what being on reality TV is really like and his love for taking photos of other people's buildings.
You studied architecture. How did you end up in competition that features interior design?
I don't advertise myself as an interior designer, so this was a unique experience for me. I'm more into architectural photography. I thought of this as a chance to throw myself out there. I've previously dabbled in interior design. I actually did the design for the old Mangroves Restaurant in Northdale on North Dale Mabry. But that was maybe five or six years ago. Since then I've done some interior work for local people but nothing commercial.
How did it feel competing out of your element against professional interior designers?
I knew that it was a challenge. It was a lot of fun and obviously somewhat very humbling to put myself up against people that this is what they do every day.
What's the most difficult challenge you faced on the show?
Actually, it was the shopping. The time constraints that they give you make it very hard to work with. You get limited to two three stores per excursion. I used to think that watching these shows, "Oh, they've got time to shop." But they give you two hours. If you have something specific you want in your mind, you can only get to two or three stores, so you have to go into challenges with a Plan A, B, C, and D in case you don't find exactly what you were looking for.
Did you learn of any weaknesses in you work through the competition?
I am not a trained interior designer. I learned that there are a lot more technical sides to interior design that I learned to appreciate. When I talk about architecture, I talk about styles influential architects and things like that. With interior design ... there is just as much of that stuff, style of furniture for a room, influences, famous designer names, etc. It was a lot of fun to see that side of it. The fact that I have seen it, has made me take a more strong notice of those things.
If you win the show, what will your HGTV series be about?
With my architectural background, I'd like to try to expose more people to the way that architecture affects our everyday life and have them look at architecture as pieces of art. So, it would have a bit of educational side. Maybe, it would be fun. The crew would follow me around as I take my pictures from my unique angles and talk about the beauty of architecture.