Move over, Rocco. There's a new reality stud on the scene and his name is Jonathan Antin, hubba-hubba hairstylist to the stars. The hottie at the center of Bravo's Blow Out (premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET), Antin has only 28 days to open and staff his very own Beverly Hills beauty salon — and that's just in the series premiere! Suffice it to say that things get hairy for our hunky hero, who along with executive producer Ben Silverman, took a breather from hectic schedules to plug their project and dish on the beauty biz.
How did Blow Out come about? Ben Silverman: I wanted to do a show around a character like Jonathan even before The Restaurant [which Silverman also produces] went on the air. I had been having conversations about doing a show in a salon following a straight, single hairdresser as he went about pursuing his dream. And then it took 18 months to find that guy and it was Jonathan. It took probably around six weeks to find a stud single chef but to find a stud single hairdresser was a much longer process.
Jonathan Antin: I was a fan of The Restaurant and was impressed with Ben. He wanted to shoot something very similar to what my dream was. This was the perfect opportunity. I just really trusted Ben.
Why was it so important to find a straight hairdresser? Was Bravo concerned about another gay-themed series? Silverman: Bravo had no concerns one way or another. I was definitely wanting to do a show following a straight guy because I felt that the salon is such an intimate environment and people are so open and there's so much physicality in a salon, I thought it would be great to have that sexual tension.
Did the producers edit to emphasize Jonathan's heterosexuality? Silverman: No. As you get to know Jonathan, it's unavoidable knowing he's straight.
Conflict makes for good reality TV. Did the producers have any influence on the hiring process? Antin: There's always conflict among the best. If you go out and find 12 of the best artists in Los Angeles you're going to have conflict whether you like it or not. I said [to Ben], "Listen, not only am I going to have conflict with them, but you're going to have conflict with them because they're not easy. They hassled me, they hassled production, they hassled everybody.
How did you get into the hair biz? Antin: I ended up at a beauty school one day picking up my grandmother when I was 16... and I ended up drawing a picture of a haircut and the head of the school saw the photo and gave me his business card and I went home that day and asked my sister if she thought it would be a good idea if I was a hairdresser. She asked me if I'd ever seen the movie Shampoo. I rented it and I went to my sister the next day and said, "I want to be a hairstylist."
What would a haircut cost at the Beverly Hills salon? Antin: [Laughs devilishly] From me it would cost somewhere between $300 and $500. From one of the other stylists it would cost anywhere from $125 to $175, depending on which stylist cuts your hair.
What's the biggest mistake people make with their hair? Antin: Probably trying to cut and color it themselves. And then, having said that, looking at a photo in a magazine and not realizing that that's not [just] a haircut and a color. I do Kate Bosworth's hair and a lot of people bring in photos of her to other stylists and say, "I want my hair to look just like this." But not only do they have to realize that I cut and colored her hair, but I also stood there blowdrying it for two hours before that photo was taken. It's all about a great cut but you have to learn how to style your hair as well.
Which is the bitchier biz: restaurants or beauty salons? Silverman: [Laughing] Without a doubt the beauty-salon business. People care about their food, but people care a lot more about how they look.
In your opinion, which Queer Eye guy really needs a cut? Antin: They're all good-looking dudes, but maybe at some point I might be able to sit Carson down and give him a little freshen-upper.