Anyone who watches home decor shows knows Candice Olson as the tall, blond-haired designing dame who can crack jokes — often at her own expense — while coming up with fabulously appointed spaces on television’s Divine Design.
She’s definitely a celeb in certain Toronto circles. Whenever the 41-year-old mom takes one of her two kids in for a checkup, women at the doctor’s office are more than happy to let her hold court as she jokes about the craziness of raising children, having a husband and doing a television show.
But Olson’s fame in her home town is nothing compared to her star power south of the border.
“The show is much bigger in the States, which is actually kind of a treat because I can go to the liquor store in my hockey pyjamas and not have it reported here,” she said from her office.
She tells the story of one of her crewmen, Chico Garcia, who was on a plane beside Evander Holyfield. A smiling flight attendant walks down the aisle to the pair with her autograph book in hand and Holyfield gets ready to sign. Sure enough she slaps the book in front of Garcia.
“‘Oh Chico, I just love you on Divine Design!”’
In addition to taping the fifth season of the series, which airs on the W network as well as HGTV, and creating a line of furniture, fabric, carpet, lighting, wallpaper and linens, Olson has put together designing tips available on Proctor & Gamble products in Wal-Mart, which will contribute to a donation to breast cancer research.
“I’m not just doing sort of the Charlie’s Angels endorsement. I’m actually, stupidly doing all the design work on this,” she said, adding that she often works 16-hour days. No small feat, as her youngest is eight months old.
“It’s a really, really, hectic, crazier-than-ever time,” she said. “The idea of a third child, when I mentioned it to my husband, he just said `Are you on crack?’ and then Googled self-vasectomy dot com.”
It’s that off-the-cuff humour — comments by her and a crew of craftsmen — that causes a lot of the show to end up on the cutting room floor. Some of the off-colour remarks make it to W Network viewers, but HGTV patrons get a cleaned-up version of the show.