Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Andrea Keller (Top Design)

Andrea knew she wanted to be a designer at age seven. Now 36, Andrea already has a successful design career, but feels there is no limit to her success. Hailing from Los Angeles, she teaches restaurant design and exhibition design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, as well as at University of Southern California. She also owns a very successful design firm in L.A., Berry/Keller Architects, Inc., which specializes in commercial and civic projects. Andrea is half architect and half designer, and she has shared her expertise with the world in several television programs. Married with two boys, she is part Swiss, speaks four languages, and is in the process of learning two more.

RC: You teach at Otis College of Art & USC as well as own a successful design firm. What made you want to be on Top Design?
AK: I could answer emails from clients all day or I could be on a tv show! I had an interview & many interviews after that. There were big open calls for the show as well. Everything I went back, there were more people in the room from Bravo. The last time I was there, there were 12 people on couches with lights & cameras … and I ended up making it! And here I am.

RC: When I spoke to Goil last week, he told me that he didn’t tell anybody up front that he was an architect because he didn’t want people to dismiss him as a designer. Did you also use that strategy or did you not think it mattered what your background was?
AK: I told them that it was on my resume. I have the belief that we can do anything.

RC: Speaking of Goil, he has spoken of you extremely well both to me and throughout the show. It must be nice when you see your fellow contestants give you such high compliments.
AK: He was amazing! Goil is brilliant. I met so many great people here. I have, like, 6 friends for life. Actually, I’m in Philly picking up Erik. We’re going to a party in New York tonight.

RC: On the other hand, some contestants have not been so nice regarding your work. Is it hard to brush those things off & not take it personally?
AK: I’m used to being criticized. In architecture school, we would have public juries where a hundred people would rip apart the work I had been doing for 16 weeks.

RC: On last night’s episode, you were given a budget of $7500 to shop around L.A. & create a luxury living room for less. Being from L.A., you must have gone into this thinking you had the upper hand.
AK: We all looked up places to shop online. I told Matt & Carisa where the stores were & I only shopped at the same stores they did. I wanted it to be fair. Maybe I should’ve pulled something!

RC: When it came down to you & Carisa for elimination, were you surprised that it was you?
AK: Yes, I was really surprised. I didn’t do well in the previous episode but I didn’t think my room was horrible.

RC: Can I assume you’re rooting for Matt tonight?
AK: I don’t know … maybe a little!

RC: What are your future plans?
AK: I’m getting settled back into daily life. We have huge parties in the loft where I work in L.A. We project the episodes onto the wall & my students & clients come out. It’s great. I’d love to work all over the country & in places like Singapore & Dubai.

Thanks to Andrea for taking the time
to talk to Reality Check!
The finale of Bravo’s “Top Design” airs tonight at 10pm EST

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