Emily Henderson Named HGTV’s Newest Design Star

Emily Henderson, 30, a prop stylist originally from Portland, Ore., has been crowned the season five champion of the hit reality competition HGTV Design Star.  During last night’s season finale, judge Vern Yip, along with judges Genevieve Gorder (Dear Genevieve) and Candice Olson (Divine Design), delivered the life-changing prize to Emily — a contract for her own show on HGTV.

“I’m so happy! I’m in shock,” said Emily about winning the competition. “It’s shocking to know that I — Emily Henderson — will have my own television show. I am the HGTV Design Star!”

Emily will star in a one-hour special, Secrets From A Stylist, premiering on Sunday, August 29, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. During the special, Emily will work with Ian Brennan, the co-creator of the hit series Glee, to style his new home. Unsure of how to furnish and decorate his place, Ian will rely on Emily’s “style diagnostic” to help define his style. Armed with Ian’s preferences, such as his favorite fashions and decade, Emily will pinpoint her client’s true style as she fine-tunes each layer of the room design.

“Emily’s natural hosting skills and unconventional design approach made her stand apart from the other competitors,” said Olson. “She creates signature looks that are highly stylized, yet inviting and comfortable.”

In the HGTV Design Star finale, Emily and her final competitor, Michael Moeller, battled to create their ideal TV show segment, which involved designing a one-bedroom New York City apartment. To begin the challenge, Emily and Michael selected their teammates and their “design client” from this season’s former finalists. While Michael completed a beautiful makeover filled with innovative storage ideas and bold colors for his client, Nina, it was Emily’s inventively stylish and modern design for her client, Tom, that impressed the judges.

“Emily demonstrated that she not only has the design chops to create an amazing space, but that she can intuitively interpret and execute the design her client wants,” said Gorder. “She also possesses an affable and accessible personality that translates beautifully on-camera.” Yip added, “Emily’s talent as a stylist and her enthusiasm make her compelling to watch.”

This season of HGTV Design Star was shot in New York City under the direction of Mark Burnett Productions. The iconic city inspired several of the series’ design challenges, including the fire house makeover and the flower market challenge. The finalists also designed a model apartment in the new Trump property, Trump Plaza Residences Jersey City.

“Emily started the competition as the underdog,” said Freddy James, senior vice president, program development and production, HGTV.  ”But our viewers loved her earnest approach and cheered for her as she became a more confident competitor. In the end, her strength as a designer propelled her to win the competition.”

This season, viewers will again have the opportunity to select a Fan Favorite designer who will win his or her own online show on Viewers can go online at to vote up to 10 times per day for the designer they believe is the best of this season’s talented finalists. Voting ends at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 25, and the winner will be announced immediately following the voting deadline.

From its premiere on June 13 through last night’s season finale, HGTV Design Star generated strong ratings. As of Sunday, August 15, more than 23 million people had tuned into the fifth season of the series. Additionally, it was a huge hit at with millions of weekly page views driving visitor traffic and video plays.

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