Two with isle ties make the cut to compete for $100,000 in“Ellen’s Design Challenge”
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Two designers with Hawaii ties are vying for the top spot in the second season of HGTV’s “Ellen’s Design Challenge,” hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.
Miles Endo and Melissa Rivera Torres were among 10 contestants selected from about 600 applicants for a shot at the show’s $100,000 cash prize. Although shooting has ended, both must keep the outcome secret until the show’s March 7 finale. (The first episode aired Monday.)
The program marks Rivera Torres’ second time on a design reality show. In 2012 she appeared on HGTV’s “White Room Challenge,” a spinoff series from the network’s “Design Star” competition. She came in second place, falling short because she didn’t use enough candy during a candy challenge that had the designers creating a bedroom suitable for children.
This time around, she said, “I didn’t think I was going to make it because it came at an awkward time in my life.”
Born and raised in Mexico City, she earned a degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001. She moved to Hawaii in 2006 to teach art and graphic design. While here, Rivera Torres, 36, opened Unleash Studio to provide design services ranging from logos to >> Second season for “Ellen’s Design Challenge.” T-shirts, furniture and interior design.
Last year she moved to Little Rock, Ark., and eight months later was in the midst of a road-trip move from Arkansas to California when word came that she had made it onto “Ellen’s Design Challenge.”
“I was passing by Vegas and thought I could take a break and chill, but they gave us homework. This was not my normal. I didn’t have a studio. I had to go to Walgreens to get something to draw.”
That homework turned out to be the first challenge in a casting special that sent Rivera Torres to the bottom three for a pinwheel coffee table that judge Christiane Lemieux saw as a potential tripping hazard. The designer redeemed herself during a final challenge with her design of a child’s sailboat chair, and two of the other designers went home.
MEANWHILE, Endo breezed through the casting episode by making a social-grill table based on the yakiniku concept. He created a picnic table with a grill running its entire length so no one person would be saddled with cooking chores
“Ellen’s Design Challenge”