THE BLOG
12/15/2014 03:37 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2015

HGTV Star Taniya Nayak Becomes Brand Ambassador to Ellen DeGeneres

You may ask who is Taniya Nayak? If you are an avid HGTV or Food Network viewer, you'll know exactly who Taniya Nayak is. Host of "House Hunters On Vacation," "Design To Sell" and appearances on the Food Network's "Restaurant Impossible," I had the pleasure of meeting an interviewing her at a recent University of Massachusetts Lowell Alumni event.

Taniya herself is an UMass Lowell graduate of 1997. She explains how she flunked out of her first year at UML and being her first time out of the house and living in a dorm, she just didn't go to class as she explained. She was free and enjoying all the perks that come with the freedom of being a college freshman. She begged her parents for a second chance. Taniya comes from a strict Indian upbringing. Where education was of highest importance and coming home from school with a B grade wasn't good enough. "B meant Bad," in her father's eyes. Her dad being a very successful architect and where in her heritage most become doctors, researchers and scientists, a B wasn't good enough. Taniya got her second chance through a program at UMass Lowell called ReStart originally developed by now Executive Chancellor of UMass Lowell's Jacqueline Moloney. Obtaining her bachelor degree in marketing and moving on to her masters from Boston Architectural College, she began her own interior design business.

Taniya explained how her creativity comes from father. Being an architect, he would always be drawing on napkins when out at a restaurant. As a child she was always encouraged to draw in sketchbooks. Her parents were very nurturing in that way and fostered her creative talents. Around 10 years of age she developed a passion for fashion, not a career path that would be acceptable to her family. Taniya decided to break off from the pack and explore her creative juices which has proven to be no mistake.

So how did she become the chosen Brand Ambassador for Ellen DeGeneres's new decor line called E.D. On Air? Taniya explained how Ellen is a big interior design fanatic; she has a passion for it. Architectural Digest featured her passion for design in their November 2011 issue featuring Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi as they transformed a Beverly Hills estate into a home that is perfect. Ellen launched her line after her travels to Europe, gathering information and researching styles. E.D. On Air by Ellen DeGeneres was created; a home decor brand on QVC. Over 4000 people auditioned for the position of Brand Ambassador. The first audition was through the casting director via Skype, second audition was in New York City and the third audition was at QVC studios in PA where now 9 candidates were left and 5 would be chosen from there. It was announced then that Ellen herself would make the final pick to represent her products.

Taniya was flattered to say the least that she was chosen as Brand Ambassador. What does this mean to Taniya? While she explained that Ellen lives in LA and has her show every day, QVC is in PA. Ellen herself will be hosting two (1) hour specials and Taniya will be hosting five (1) hour specials. She will basically be a surrogate for Ellen DeGeneres and her home decor line. Taniya explained how she is still processing the 3 year deal with an option for renewal for 2 more years.