Monday, August 11, 2008

Mikey V - The Interview


Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with DavidDust Design Star favorite Michael Verdugo. Mikey V, 34, is sweet, funny, open and honest – and it was so nice of him to talk to a little-ole blogger like me. And you should all be proud – I hardly stammered at all when I heard his deep voice on the other end of the phone. Well, maybe a little…

One thing we did NOT talk about was the infamous “movie” situation – which has caused him to be suspended from his job as a police officer. Since there are legal proceedings pending, Mikey could not discuss the situation – even though I sensed he would have liked to clear the air.

My first impression of Mikey was of someone who is still learning how to handle his newly found celebrity. “It’s new to me”, Mikey said, sounding a tiny bit shy about it all. Unlike fellow contestant Matt Locke (who described himself to me as a “media whore”) – you get the sense that Mikey is a little more hesitant to jump into the spotlight. Especially since the trip so far has been a bit bumpy.

Mikey’s journey to becoming a cop-slash-interior-designer began at a very young age. As a boy growing up in South Florida, he identified with “Ponch” on the television show CHiPs – played by Erik Estrada. He would dress up like Ponch for Halloween, and from the earliest age wanted to become a police officer. I remember Ponch from my childhood also – but only because of his extremely tight pants. Just sayin’…

At the same time, Mikey also had an interest in design. His Mom would often come home from work to find Mikey’s entire room redesigned and rearranged. Verdugo’s interest in design increased when his mother remarried a carpenter – who specialized in installing kitchens. By helping his stepdad, Mikey learned the ins and outs of carpentry, building, and design. Verdugo says he was “constantly building something” during this time.

After becoming a police officer, he began “flipping” houses as a side job (think Flip This House). His flipping experience led him to create his own staging company (think Sell This House). And it was just a short jump from staging homes for selling, to designing homes for living (think every show on HGTV).

Although Mikey isn’t working as a police officer right now (according to media reports, he is on ‘administrative leave’), Mikey says he “loves” being a cop. He “wants to succeed” at everything he does – and I got the sense that this interruption in his policing career frustrates him somewhat. Verdugo has been a cop for ten years – including time as an undercover officer and a stint on the Beach Patrol. “Mikey V on Beach Patrol” – now THERE’S a visual I hope stays with me for a while…

But, as Mikey says, “Everything happens for a reason” – and he has been extremely busy juggling multiple design projects and clients. He has even gotten some interest from Los Angeles-based television producers – who recently flew to Florida to meet with him. And there is talk of a signature furniture line, among other things.

I told Mikey that when he first appeared on Design Star, myself and others had no idea he was gay. Mikey claims that he made no effort to hide his sexuality, he was just being himself. In real life, Michael has been with his boyfriend for four years, and they are registered as domestic partners. He said he’s been out to his friends and family “forever”, and during one of our preliminary phone calls he referred to his boyfriend/partner as “my better half”. Awwwww…

Mikey called his experience on Design Star “designer boot camp” because of the hectic schedule and lack of down time. It was also difficult living with roommates – which he had never done before. He was used to living with his boyfriend, but not with a bunch of crazy decorators. And Mikey confirmed that Matt Locke indeed snores like a foghorn.

Verdugo said his best friend on the show was Trish Beaudet – who he bonded with immediately. In fact, they would love to have their own television show – which I think would be fabulous. It would be like Will & Grace – only with REAL decorators. In fact, Mikey calls Trish “my Karen Walker”. Since the Finale aired, they talk on the phone all the time and he loves her “to death”. Mikey also confirms Trish’s observation (first told to me by Matt) that Carter Oosterhouse has enormous feet. “They are huge!”, Mikey laughingly told me.

Mikey and Trish


Besides the “movie situation”, Mikey also wouldn’t discuss being un-invited to the Design Star Finale/Reunion show. Mikey only had good things to say about his experience on the show, and of the other designtestants. But after all, Mikey spent 2 ½ years undercover pursuing major drug cases – so there is an innate cautiousness about him. On the night the finale aired, Mikey and his boyfriend actually went to the George Michael concert in Ft. Lauderdale, and “had a great time”.

Finally, I asked Mikey about his weakness on Design Star – the hosting segments. Mikey said that his media skills have improved greatly since his first appearance in front of the camera. Especially considering that the Design Star producers put them in front of the cameras with very little prep, just to see how they would handle it. With a little coaching, I bet Mikey would be phenomenal – after all, he is handsome, intelligent … and did I mention HANDSOME?!?


So, all you television producers out there – this is your one chance to scoop up a great looking, personable, charismatic and knowledgeable television interior designer. And he comes with his very own “Karen Walker”…

Thanks again to Mikey V for being so sweet and accommodating. And please keep us informed about any and all upcoming projects. And all of YOU should check out Mikey V’s fantastic new website – complete with blog, photos, etc.:

http://www.mikeyv.com/

19 comments:

mikeinbama said...

Great interview with Mikey V.

Anonymous said...

David Dust is one of the only people to call HGTV "to the curb" so to speak. We all know that Mikey V. was wronged. He was the most talented person on the show. His Kansas City fans wish him a world of success and he'll always be our 2008 design star! HGTV couldn't function without the gays...just ask Vern Yip! Thank you David! Your blog is the BEST!
Mike M.

Tivo Mom said...

Thank you for the insight. He was one of my favorites and I am disappointed by what happened with HGTV. I live in Jupiter, Fl (about 45 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale) and I wonder where he can be "stalked". Hopefully all will work out for him in the future. Thanks again for your frankness (and humor).

Beth said...

awww Tranny,...you did Mikey V justice, which he SOOO didn't get from HGTV...gay haters...

great interview, and can that guy GET any more beautiful??? WOW!!!!

I have a few rooms he can re-design for me! Damn! I never have the right "equipment"...gets me every time!

xoxoxoxox
love you Tranny Dearest

Mark in DE said...

Fantastic! I like the way you summarize your interviews, rather than publish the word-for-word questions and answers, which make for hard reading. Here's wishing Mikey V all the best!

Mark :-)

Anonymous said...

Bestest wishes for the future.
I wonder if he'll ever be able to discuss the HGTV non-invite issue.
On their message board people were prepared to gather pitch forks and brands and storm the HGTV castle to defend Mikey V's designer reputation and let bygones be bygones.

Joy said...

Wow! What nice things he said about you on his blog! Good interview!

Love you! Love your Stars!

xoxoxoxo

shirlsd said...

wonderful interview of mikey v. and likewise, i think it's really neat that he posted a blurb on his blog about your interview of him!

manoosha said...

Mikey V rocked on the show, and the fallout from the "movie situation" is hugely unfair. I was concerned after not seeing him on the DS finale, and am glad to read that he's doing well and rolling with the punches with such gusto. Hang in there Mikey, and continue with your awesome attitude, killer looks, and incredible talent!

Dan said...

Lord, I was expecting a hard hitting expose on the underworld known as HGTV! You know I hate them bitches and what they are doing to my industry, instead you have to find one of the nicest guys in the world to talk to! DAMN YOU MIKEY V!!! Kidding, great job, nice guy, and we could always use a hot cop designer in Chicago!

Jennie said...

Good interview, David! I think Mikey is enormously talented and easy on the eyes...wow. It just burns me that HGTV woiuld do that. I've never been a huge fan of the channel, so not watching isn't a hardship, but I wish they'd issue a public apology.

Howard said...

Sorry I am late to this party, but wanted to say great interview and I hope you get to follow up once the obvious veils are lifted.

Mikey sounds like a great person and he was a good designer. I wish him much joy and happiness to come! And anytime he'd like to meet me with him handcuffs handy, I am willing to oblige.

Howard said...

And I couldn't resist, and posted on Mikey V's blog. I don't think he could get any cuter.

David Dust said...

Darling Howard -

Awwwwwww ... you are so sweet!!!

XOXOXOXO

Chris said...

Another teriffic job Mr. Dust.

Trish Beaudet said...

Love the interview! And Mikey is right...I am his karen Walker...Minus the pills and excessive booze! LOL Thanks for making me laugh each week!

Trish Beaudet

TAMmommy said...

Hey DD!

What a fabulous interview, and so well written, you are my idol!

Thank you for letting us into the world of MikeyV, I loved him on the show, and thought he was just so warm and real and honest, and I am so glad to see that I was right and that is exactly what you got when talking to him.
Thank you for sharing!!

SailorAlphaCentauri said...

This was a great interview and I'm glad I got to (eventually) read it [between staying up too late to watch the 'Lympics and pre-mom jitters, I've been noticeably MIA of late]. I liked finding out that he really is a nice guy (because I'm just so bad), and his professionalism really shines through. I wish him all the best in the world and kudos to you, David, for scoring this great interview.

Jamillah said...

Love the interview and I had no idea. He seems like a shy type and very loyal person. He was amazing on the show. Definitely him and Trish should have their own show. It would be cool to see that on any network. Keep your head up Mikey V. Can't wait to see great things from you.

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