Backyard EnvyBravoEntertainmentGamesGarrett MageeJames DeSantisManscapersQueerty

The boys of Bravo’s ‘Backyard Envy’ on reality TV, getting hit on, and queer body image / Queerty

The boys of Bravo’s ‘Backyard Envy’ on reality TV, getting hit on, and queer body image / Queerty

James DeSantis and Garrett Magee have been hoeing it up all season on Bravo’s Yard Envy. Every week, the besties and enterprise partners put their inexperienced thumbs and impeccable eyes for design to work on rooftop oases and secluded gardens all over NYC and its surrounding suburbs, making their rarefied world just a bit bit lovelier.

The pair have recognized each other for years and began their landscaping design company Manscapers with pal Melissa Brasier back in 2014 after their picture-perfect garden events start gaining buzz. With superstar shoppers like Meryle Streep, Dian von Furstenberg, and Ladyfag, it wasn’t long before Bravo got here calling.

Forward of Backyard Envy’s first season finale this week, Queerty checked in with DeSantis and Magee to see how reality TV stardom has changed their lives. The pair received actual about taking their enterprise to the subsequent degree, giving back to the group and coping with the downsides of all this attention.

It doesn’t sound like either of you set out to have a career in landscaping. How did you get interested within the area and how do you know that switching careers was the best thing to do?
Magee: I grew up with a household that did landscaping, so it’s all the time been one thing that I used to be thinking about. However I went to school for graphic design and video modifying. After shifting to New York and doing that work for a couple of years, I simply acquired to the purpose the place I used to be like, I can’t work inside of an office anymore! I used to be tired of working in a darkish cave modifying. I just needed to be outdoors once more.

DeSantis: Mel and I have been each in inside design. We’d type of seen that there was this gap out there with panorama design, especially in New York. It was not highly competitive. There was nothing younger and urban-based. Every thing was conventional, granny, Connecticut-feeling. So, once we started Manscapers, we needed it to be really marketed towards LGBT, middle- to upper-class clientele—those that we knew who work in style and design. Once you’re hiring us, you’re getting that design lens, and our shoppers really notice that.
BACKYARD ENVY — Pictured: (l-r) James DeSantis, Garrett Magee, Melissa Brasier — (Photograph by: Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo)

However did you could have a moment like Garrett had, the place you knew that making the change from interior design to landscaping was for you?
DeSantis: Yeah, I needed to make more cash. Doing interior design in New York Metropolis is extraordinarily aggressive and there’s a degree that you simply reach and you variety of stay there. However I noticed that if we started one thing that was really new and totally different, that had the potential to have a very broad clientele in New York, we might begin to make a lot more cash. Owning your personal business is all the time a danger, but I feel that danger is value taking for a very huge reward.

I consider Melissa talked about something on social media about watering crops at Meryl Streep’s house. Who’re your different celeb shoppers? Any enjoyable anecdotes—or nameless filth?
DeSantis: I don’t really wanna identify any of our movie star shoppers, truly, because they really don’t prefer it. But once we work with celebrities we all the time should cope with their handlers or their home managers. There’s all the time multiple shopper. You must report to 3 or four totally different individuals and be sure that the work is basically impeccable. So, whereas it’s great to have superstar shoppers and they will refer you to different individuals, typically it’s difficult.

Magee: Also, we get some very fascinating requests from some of our more high-profile shoppers. One of our shoppers, he owns a bit of paintings at a cabin and he needs to crane it as much as his rooftop. So, we’re making an attempt to facilitate how to try this. And one of our shoppers—very, very gay—he needed to create a full runway down his rooftop, making it appear to be it’s virtually an airport runway.

So, how do you go from small enterprise house owners to reality TV stars? What was that course of like?
DeSantis: We have been approached to do the present. It wasn’t something that we have been reaching out to do. I feel as the process went along, we obtained more into it. However it wasn’t something where we have been like, Oh, we desperately need to be on television! It was actually a method for us to show our business to a broader audience so that we might develop into a household identify. We’re working on creating totally different product strains proper now. We’re working on a number of totally different e-book concepts. Our appearances on totally different exhibits like Rachel Ray—all of that stuff in all probability wouldn’t have occurred as shortly if we didn’t have major publicity on television. Dwelling on this day and age, you need to set your model aside and it’s a must to do it very quickly. That’s why we did it and that’s the trajectory we’re hoping to proceed.

Manscapers is a legit, real business that you simply’re still operating. How do you make this second career of the show work while nonetheless operating the enterprise?
Magee: We are still figuring it out. On no account has this ever been a challenge that we have now completely just managed. It’s an ongoing factor, making an attempt to determine the way to handle our enterprise and do the television show, and it’s a studying course of. I’ve come to comprehend we’ll proceed to continue learning alongside the best way.

By now individuals are conversant in exhibits like this—Flipping Out, Pregnant in Heels, Blow Out. Was there anything about these exhibits that made you hesitant to do Backyard Envy? Was there something you needed to be sure to did in a different way?
DeSantis: Yeah, excellent query. The new course, the sort of present we’re on, could be very totally different from Flipping Out, which known as a “follow occu-series.” Our show is a design renovation show, which is something new that Bravo’s making an attempt. They’re making an attempt to get away from being recognized just for Housewives and dramatic business occu-soaps. Our show is one of the primary of its type inside the Bravo House class, which features extra family-friendly approachable content. That was a serious part of our determination to do it because we needed to maintain our audience really broad. On the finish of the day, there’s drama in our show, there are little fights, little hiccups by means of the shoppers, via our relationships. But whereas we have been filming, it doesn’t matter what, World of Marvel, the manufacturing company, was very specific: each drama needs a decision. There needs to be a constructive end result in the long run.

Magee: Yeah, by no means did we need to be on a present that was going to be pitting us towards each other and full of drama. We needed to ensure this was representative of our business and actually showcasing our friendship and our work.

Have been there specific challenges to getting shoppers and potential shoppers to seem on the present?
DeSantis: We asked a number of of our movie star shoppers if they might do it and they instantly stated no. It’s extra work than it’s value for them. Additionally, the primary season of a show, you haven’t any concept. It might be like a Flipping Out the place the shoppers are made to look dangerous or be dramatic. I feel now that folks have seen our show and how constructive it’s, perhaps they’ll be fascinated with future seasons. But even our regular shoppers, there was an element of having to convince them to get onboard. But then, the first day of filming, they’re in hair and make-up, ready to go together with three outfit modifications. I used to be like, Oh, what happened to the trepidation? All of a sudden you’re hamming it up! [Laughs]

So, the present has been on for a pair of months. How have your lives modified?
Magee: Individuals hold asking me that and I actually don’t assume my day-to-day life has changed that a lot. The principal thing that’s changed for me is our e-mail inbox. We’re at present getting flooded with emails from individuals asking us to return do their yards across the country, and proper now we still only work within the New York Metropolis area. But when individuals are like, “Are you riding the train?” I’m like, “Yes, I’m riding the train!” It’s not as if individuals are operating up to me or anything.

DeSantis: You do get acknowledged a bit of bit, which is weird. I used to be in South Florida with my mom last week and we went to the Cheesecake Manufacturing unit and there was this group of ladies who have been like, “We love your show! We have to take a picture with you!”

I’ll say this: I do really feel slightly bit totally different within the sense that we’ve got a voice and a seat at the table now. I feel it’s actually essential that we keep in mind that. We do have a brand new platform. We’re making an attempt to develop totally different method to use that in a constructive means.

Magee: We making an attempt to figure out a method to give back. One of the charity packages we’re fascinated with working with is Inexperienced Thumb, which is run by the parks department of New York City.

DeSantis: And we’re doing an enormous occasion with Housing Works, and we’re getting involved with the New York Botanical Garden. So, we’re making an attempt to provide our skillset to historical preservation.
BACKYARD ENVY — “To Bee or Not To Bee” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Garrett Magee, James DeSantis — (Photograph by: Kathy Boos/Bravo)

James, you’ve talked elsewhere about wanting to deal with male body image issues. What do you hope to convey about that on the present?
Magee: It’s something I’m nonetheless getting snug with, but I’ve truly been talking to some—it’s truly referred to as “brawn” modeling. It’s this new movement of greater males which might be half of this category of modeling. Not that I’m considering of taking over modeling, but I’ve related with a number of of them and I feel I’m going to do that podcast about it. It’s something I’ve been scuffling with. I’ve had a number of fat-shaming incidents occur already on Twitter. Individuals have despatched me links to Spanx and bodysuits. It’s arduous. It’s a must to have robust skin, especially being on TV for the primary time. I’m kinda working by means of that.

Proper now, we’re actually putting the enterprise first, but I’ve written a number of issues. I have a blog publish for Bravo that’s going to return out quickly.

You and Garrett are longtime pals and I’m curious what sort of conversations the 2 of you have got had?
DeSantis: Yeah, we have now, but I don’t understand how much I need to get into that.

Magee: Till we obtained this nationwide platform, it really hasn’t ever been a problem between us. I’ve by no means observed it’s a problem between our groups of associates as a result of at the finish of the day James is clearly a really handsome guy and it’s never been an issue till you’re in this nationwide spotlight. It’s one thing that I feel each of us are learning to cope with.

DeSantis: Nevertheless it’s two totally different journeys.

Nicely, Garrett, I’m wondering in case you’re experiencing one thing parallel: being sexualized and objectified.
Magee: It’s more identical to, typically just a little too vulgar and gross. But, I really feel like my state of affairs is totally different. I assume all we will do is block individuals. [Laughs] Instagram was round before out TV show. That’s what individuals do on Instagram.

What have you observed about the best way gays are responding to the show?
DeSantis: It’s specific. As Garrett stated, we get vulgar feedback and things like that on Instagram. I don’t know. I don’t actually know tips on how to reply the question truly.

Magee: I have to say, for probably the most part, aside from issues associated to our our bodies, so far as the group goes I feel it’s been extraordinarily constructive. Not that we’re purported to be on the lookout for comments on Twitter or anything. However for probably the most part, individuals have been very supportive of the present. Individuals have stated that it’s so good to see gays on TV that are not representing just being homosexual. We’ve had individuals which might be closeted in Tennessee message us and say that it’s so inspiring to see gays on TV doing heteronormative jobs. It’s just two gay guys on TV doing landscaping and it’s not one thing like Queer Eye that focuses on the gay facet.

Do you watch the present? What’s that like?
DeSantis: I watched the first 4 episodes and then I ended watching the present. The emotions that it was mentioning were not value seeing the completed outcome at this level. But I feel I will watch it sooner or later. I must be in, like, slightly bit higher head-space to observe the whole thing. Nevertheless it’ll occur.

Magee: We’ve watched most of the episodes collectively. We’ve a viewing get together virtually every week, but we’re watching it in a gaggle setting so I assume you’re not watching it super intently.

DeSantis: Precisely. I haven’t watched it on my own. Sitting alone and watching yourself is absolutely weird.

Magee: However we lived it. It’s fun to observe it back, however there are moments where I’m like, Oh, God! Why did they need to put that in!

Favourite flower, plant, tree?
Magee: I’m pretty positive James is aware of what I’m going to say. It’s my drag identify: Liatris Gayfeather! Liatris is the flower, the widespread identify is gayfeather.

DeSantis: It’s a ravishing purple flower. Mine are crops that don’t really stay in New York. More tropicals. I really like palm timber and agaves. Something that can survive in heat climate.