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HGTV star and author Kelly Edwards on having the courage to follow your passion

Kelly Edwards

Kelly Edwards

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Updated: October 18, 2013 2:25PM

I like to say I’m a bit of a hybrid. I am a little bit fearless, a little bit humble. I’m a little bit Wicker Park and a little bit River North. I’m a little bit interior designer and a little bit television personality. My new book, “The Design Cookbook,” is a little bit design and a little bit cookbook. I like it that way; this works for me. Why settle for just one thing?

Throughout my life, I’ve found that the most difficult task has been narrowing down the things that I love most and then having the tenacity to pursue them. That initial leap of faith is the hardest part. We encourage our children to be fearless and to follow all of their dreams — so why do we, as adults, hesitate? What’s the worse that could happen — failure?

Growing up in Romeoville, I never thought I’d end up on HGTV or the Style Network, hosting shows and writing books. But I dreamed of being successful, and what drove me was a fear of regret rather than fear of failure — that lingering “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” So I moved to California to see what else was out there.

My first job was sweeping floors on the “Power Rangers” set. I thought it was the coolest job in the world, and that’s where my love affair with television started. One day, while sitting at my desk, a friend sent me an email asking me what would be my dream job. My answer? To work on a design show.

I was officially beginning my next adventure. I’d come home at night, watch every design show on TV and write down the production companies’ names. One company stood out in particular, so I search for every person I could find who worked there and sent them my resume. Finally, the receptionist called me saying, “Who are you? Do you know you’ve sent a resume to everyone at this company? Would you like to come in for an interview?”

I landed a job as the design assistant behind the scenes on one of the original “Design on a Dime” teams. Two years later, they were auditioning for a host and designer for the new Chicago version of “Design on a Dime.” After a few months of auditioning, I got the job and headed back to Chicago.

This was the start of my TV career. From there, I’ve gone on to host several design shows, appear on “The Rachael Ray Show” and “The Marie Osmond Show,” write my new book and endorse some of the largest brands around.

I am a firm believer anyone can do anything if they just let go of their fears and refuse to give up. For me, the sky’s the limit. I still have a list of passions and goals a mile long — but I think this week, I’ll just look into learning how to ride a scooter. Why not?

To learn more about Kelly’s projects and to purchase an autographed copy of her book, visit

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