By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
ContributorYour votes can help an aspiring interior designer with local ties win $25,000 in a Web-based reality show.
Corine Maggio, 25, is one of seven contestants in the first season of “Nation’s Next Top Model Home.” It is produced in Compass Pointe near Wilmington, N.C., where the model homes are located.
The contestants, selected from more than 200 entrants, have 28 days to decorate their assigned rooms, said Susan Johnson, the show’s spokeswoman. They are limited to $5,000 provided by the show and an additional $5,000 they contribute or raise from sponsors.
The contest launched Saturday at
- The rooms - typically living room or dining room and foyer - must be completed by Aug. 28. For a month afterward, the homes will be open to the public for viewing online and in person. The winner, selected by viewer’s votes, will be announced on Oct. 3.
“I’m a born designer,” Maggio said, recalling how as a child she built houses with Legos and frequently rearranged furniture in her room. “As a teen, I would pretend that I was furniture shopping because I just inherited money.”
Maggio is a senior at the Design Institute of San Diego. She is doing her internship at id studios in Solana Beach and works at Aja Rugs in La Jolla. She lives with her father, Tony Maggio, in Rancho Bernardo.
Viewers have already taken a liking to Maggio, since their votes - based on contestants’ blogs throughout July - selected her to have the first choice of homes. She selected the Wrightsville model, which requires decorating the living room and entryway.
“I really liked the view out the window; it has an open floor plan and is symmetrical,” Maggio said. “It also has beautiful bamboo flooring, and my gut said I have to have this one.”
Over the coming month, Maggio plans on spending two weeks in North Carolina and doing the remainder of the design work from San Diego.
Because she is a student - one of her fellow competitors has been a designer for more than 20 years - Maggio said she will not be able to add any money beyond the initial $5,000. Therefore, she is contacting thrift and consignment shops in North Carolina to see if they have items she is looking for.
Reusing items follows Maggio’s preference for being environmentally friendly. That mind-set made Maggio stand out from other entrants, Johnson said.
“The producers were looking for people from across (the country) ... with varied experiences and design styles,” Johnson said. “Corine stuck out for being ecologically friendly and community-oriented.”
Maggio said she will be decorating with photos of Wilmington based on suggestions from Boys & Girls Club members.
“Winning (the contest) can help propel me into a position to make great change,” Maggio said. “I am an environmentalist and a humanitarian and believe that design can change the world.”
Maggio said if she wins, part of the $25,000 will go toward her student loans and graduate school, and part toward helping others.
Webisodes air Mondays at 5 p.m. (Pacific) at
- Previous webisodes are available online.