Keyshawn Johnson, ex-NFL pro and current ESPN commentator, wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He might be helping people remodel rooms on his design series (Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design, Saturdays at Noon EST on A&E), but he’s a businessman, not an interior designer.
“The show is a platform,” says Johnson, 36. “I’m trying to build a brand, so I can sell Keyshawn Johnson products in stores. You know, paint, rugs, carpet, drapery, fabrics, blankets, towels, hardware, plates.”
“So you want to be like Martha Stewart?” I ask.
“Sorta,” he says.
If you think it’s odd that Johnson–who’s best known for logging 814 receptions and 64 touchdowns during his 11 years with the NFL–wants to channel a domestic diva, you’re not alone. During our 10-minute phone conversation, I repeatedly tried to find out what, if anything, would legitimate Johnson’s design show, let alone his (forthcoming?) line of custom drapes. Excerpts below:
So, you were a professional football player. Now, you’re hosting a show about design. How did that come about?
It was just something that happened several years ago. I’m trying to take everything to next level.
What initially drew you to home design?
It’s cool. You get to express yourself in an artistic way.
Do you have a design philosophy?
Not really. I go with what fits at the time.
So how would you describe your own home?
It’s clean. It’s Mediterranean. I don’t have a whole bunch of shit everywhere.
How did your old teammates react when you told them about Tackling Design?
They didn’t say anything.
Really? They weren’t even a little surprised?
No, not at all. A lot of them have been to my homes, and they’ve seen that I’m a tasteful guy. They expected this.
Did any of your football skills help you with interior designing?
Working with my assistants, the team of people, different opinions and stuff like that.
I’ve seen a few episodes of TLC’s Trading Spaces. Every now and then, someone totally hates his or her new room. Did that ever happen on “Tackling Design”?
No, everything was pretty good.
So everyone liked their rooms? Not a single person was unhappy?
Everyone was satisfied with the work in the end.
Do you have any favorite decorating tools?
No, I don’t have favorites.
Not unless they’re Keyshawn Johnson products, right?
Anything else you’d like to add?
Tune in Saturdays at Noon.