As a interior design student and leader, I think it is important to get over the nerves, push yourself, and go for what you want. Over a year ago, I joined a Facebook group of design professionals and came across Mikel Welch. He's the top 4 finalist of Season 7 of the Design Star, personal designer for Steve Harvey, on-screen set designer for the Steve Harvey Show and founder of Mikel Welch Designs. After following his work for a few months, I reached out to him and asked him if he would be my virtual mentor (as I had only met him through Facebook at this point). To my surprise, he agreed! We would connect via social media a few times over the year and and December of 2015, I thought I'd go out on a limb. I told him that I loved his work and would love to be his intern. He replied, "You sure can! Email me!" Wow! Anxiously I sent him an email outlining my academic achievements and experience as a student member and leader with ASID. 5 minutes later, he called me to discuss the internship and two days after that, I was hired! I have been his intern since January, and the opportunities have just thrived since then, including a recent opportunity to be on the Steve Harvey Show.
My experience with the Steve Harvey Show has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! The opportunity to see snippets of my hard work come to fruition and aired on television, all because of, and along with the amazing Mikel Welch and the Steve Harvey Show! The hustle and bustle during the taping of the show and being able to participate in the behind-the-scenes aspects gives me a new-found respect for set designers and television designers. As students, we don't realize how much goes into the field of design until we begin to take design courses. Mixing the profession of film with design is even more chaotic, but still fun! It's so hectic! Mikel not only had to manage us (his design team), but he also had to manage the design project as well as handle taping for the show. He's definitely a pro and handles his responsibilities well. And luckily, as his intern/design assistant/PR assistant/project manager (as you can see, he has me dabble in many things for this company!), I was able to gain experience in project management, taking a design concept from start to finish, and learn the ropes of designing for television.
As Mikel's senior designer and project manager for this installation, I was given a number of tasks. About a month or so prior to the installation, Mikel and I collaborated on the design concept. He sought my assistance on furnishings, wall coverings, and accessories as well as putting together a digital presentation. Of course, most of the finished product is Mikel's design, but it was so cool to see what it's like to go from the start to finish of a project. I had to search for and purchase window treatment accessories, nursery furniture, lighting fixtures, upholstery locations, and I had to pull together trusted design volunteers that knew how to keep a secret! When you're designing for television, you have to keep vital information under wraps until the show airs, and even then, you still have to be selective about the information you share. Signing the waiver documents was a huge reality check! A week before the install, Mikel and I went to upholstery shops to see the finished product of the custom upholstered daybed (in which I helped choose fabric for) and custom window treatments. A few days before the install, one of Mikel's other interns and I went shopping! This is the fun part! We picked out accessories for the window treatments, purchased nursery furniture and accessories, and put custom artwork in the gold picture frames. We hang the curtains, constructed the crib, I managed the placement of the picture frames as well as the temporary interns I recruited, and I personally wrote the blessing tree cards for the family and Steve Harvey! Between the lunch breaks with Ben and Karli Harvey as well as the production team, we still had to work on organizing and decorating the space. There were so many odds and ends to this project, delivery issues for the crib (the most important furniture piece!), furniture layout (my job), measurements (my job), matching paints to fabrics (my job), meeting vendors (my job again!), getting trade outs and other things in between, but the end result was beautiful!
Getting the opportunity to meet Mikel in person and work on this project has been a thrilling experience. It has been a blast to get to know the amazing production crew, the moving company, painting company, and even Karli and Ben. They are such a genuine and sweet couple and it was a pleasure to connect with them! Congrats to them on their new baby boy. Take a gander at photos from my experience during this project above. You'll see me when Mikel talks about the design crew! The moral of this story is: Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, because the result may be an experience you'll treasure forever. Enjoy!