Kirmani on Season 2 of Top Design

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Shazia Kirmani, who gave a solid introduction to interior design in “Decorating 101,” made her Bravo debut last night in “Top Design’s” second season. The TV series, hosted last time by Todd Oldham who transitions to a mentor role this season, follows 13 interior designers through various challenges as they compete to win $100,000 and a four-page showcase in Elle Decor magazine. (One member of the judge’s panel, Margaret Russell, serves as editor-in-chief of Elle Decor.)

Kirmani and the 12 other designers featured on the show have diverse backgrounds. The group includes a trained countertenor, an artist, a Yale-trained architect, a real-estate developer, a set decorator for film and TV, a former fashion designer, a magazine style editor, and several decorators who already run their own firms. Kirmani falls in the latter group. After graduating from the Art Institute of Dallas, she and her roommate designer Jesse Neargarder had their East Dallas apartment featured in D Home. Today she helms her own design firm, EgoSpace Interiors.

In her 60 Second Life Story video, Kirmani says that she was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Pakistani parents, and that she has lived most of her life in Texas. According to her show bio, after her first semester at University of Texas at Austin studying biochemistry, she realized she was “more passionate about redesigning her bedroom than anything that was going on in the classroom.” In a Star-Telegram.com interview, the designer shares details from behind the scenes at “Top Design.”

Did you get to sleep?

I realized that the human body can function on four hours of sleep. The energy level was so intense that you just keep going and going and going. It was very intense.

Americans think TV is glamorous. Was it for you?

Parts of it were glamorous, parts of it not so much. I remember on the first episode I wore shoes that I probably shouldn’t have because I wanted to look good, and I probably should have worn tennis shoes. It’s a show where you work with your hands and you get sweaty.

Was the interaction between the contestants closer to camaraderie or cut-throat competition?

It was pretty much like high school, actually. Certain people did not get the memo. I certainly didn’t get the memo. I’m not cold and callous. I guess because I’m an outsider, I’ve been an outsider my whole life growing up Pakistani in small towns like Huntsville. That kind of thing just doesn’t bother me.

You’re featured a lot in the first episode. Were you comfortable being on camera, or were you scared?

I was terrified of being on camera. After a while you forget the cameras are there.

September 4, 2008
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