Get to Know Veronica Valencia Hughes of HGTV's 'Revealed'
For years, Veronica Valencia worked behind the scenes as a design expert on more than 500 home makeover shows. Now she’s the one in front of the camera on HGTV's new series Revealed.
When Veronica Valencia was 6 years old, she picked out new paint colors for the exterior of her family's home — "a chic gray for the shutters" — and, with a paintbrush in hand, got to work.
“From an early age, I loved design," Veronica tells HGTV. "My dad and I would drive around looking at model homes on the weekends because I was fascinated by their staging and architecture. We would pretend we were interested in buying a house just so I could get in and have a look."
In high school, when the rest of her friends were going to parties, Veronica stayed home and rearranged her bedroom furniture. She may not have realized she was destined for a career in design, but her childhood best friend Lauren did. In fact, Lauren enrolled Veronica in an interior design program without her knowing.
“After a few classes, I became obsessed," says Veronica. "I would stay up all night working on presentations.”
Veronica’s new HGTV show Revealed takes a fresh approach to home renovation by focusing on her clients' ancestral heritage. “I’m both Mexican American and Native American and very proud of my cultures,” she shares. “And so are the families we feature on Revealed, where we incorporate personal artifacts into their home design to help bring their histories and stories to life."
Ahead, some more insight into the designer who knew her husband was “the one” soon after they met, who has a weakness for large hats and who credits her team for helping her achieve her professional successes.
She’s Close to her Family
Veronica is the oldest of four siblings and her parents and still live in the West Hills, California, house where she was raised. “I grew up in the same neighborhood as my parents did. My grandma lives down the street, and during my childhood years my aunt was our mail lady!” she says. “I owe my parents everything."
She Named her Son After a Famous Baseball Player
Veronica and her husband have two children, a son named Hunter (age 4) and a daughter named River (age 2). “We always loved the name Hunter and knew it was going to be Hunter whether he was a boy or girl,” notes Veronica. “We’re a big baseball family and Hunter’s middle name is Babe, in honor of Babe Ruth, which also happens to be my grandfather’s name.
She’ll be Forever Grateful to her Best Friend
“After I finished up design school, I became an assistant to a California-based interior designer. Lauren’s grandmother was friends with Extreme Makeover Paige Hemmis' mother, and Lauren ended up as Paige’s assistant. Then one day I received a call from someone on the show asking to set up an interview — Lauren had submitted my resume for a job working on the design team. I got the position and was told I would have to be on an airplane in a week. I’d never been on an airplane before!”
Veronica paid Lauren back for all her help over the years by making over her home on Revealed. “The hardest thing was not being able to talk about the project with her because we’re normally in touch base 100 times a day,” says Veronica.
She Credits Extreme Makeover for Changing her Life
“I loved that job,” says Veronica. “It’s where I met my entire crew: Dave, Tommy and Josh. On the show, we were a tight-knit, behind-the-scenes design team. We’d come into communities and take over a town. We worked on more than 1,000 projects in 34 states."
She Still Works With her EM Crew Today
Yep, David Bohler, Tommy Rouse and Joshua Smith are all on Revealed. Here's the breakdown: Tommy is the design guru, David is the master builder, and Joshua is the artist. “We are such a collaborative group. I value their friendship as much as their knowledge and expertise. They just make all of the projects I work on so much better, and they mean everything to me. I honestly would be nothing without them.” Fun fact: Tommy officiated Veronica and her husband's wedding.
She Met her Husband on the Job
Veronica met her husband, Kristopher Hughes, 11 years ago in New York City on a television show. “He was the show’s production manager,” she shares. “When the show ended, I said, 'Come to Los Angeles, and I promise we can get on a show together!'”
And She Loves Working With Him
Veronica and Kris started their interior design service, The Design Hunters, almost 10 years ago. “The best part of working together is that Kris and I have so much combined professional experience. The hard part now is managing our professional lives and being parents. I don’t remember the last time we went on a date night!”
She’s Incredibly Decisive
Many of the renovation projects Veronica has worked on were designed and built under accelerated production schedules. Whether she was picking out a paint color for a wall or countertop material for a kitchen island — she had to make quick decisions.
She Was Born on 9/11
This Virgo turned 16 years old on the day of the terrorist attacks. “The date is very personal to me because at the time, my dad was a captain in the Los Angeles fire department. So we make it a point to always give back on my birthday,” says Veronica.
She’s the Lady in the Hat
Viewers of Revealed get to see how much Veronica loves her hats, which she started wearing to combat her insecurities. “Hats were my alter ego,” she shares. “Then, when I was on a job site, they became my calling card. People were always like, ‘Find the girl with the hat!’ Now they’re just my thing.” Veronica is obsessed with Janessa Leone hats. “I splurge on a couple of them every year, usually after I book a big job. I’m like, ‘Kris, it’s Janessa Leone time!’”
She Lives for her Gardens
She tends to three different gardening beds. “One I call Italian Summer, where I grow my tomatoes, cherries and basil," says Veronica. "Another is named Green Goddess, which is made up of things like kale and spinach, and then I’ve got a third I call the Random Garden where I grow all my experimental stuff like corn and broccoli.”
She Loves to Cook
“I pride myself on being an experimental cook,” shares Veronica. “I love finding random recipes on Pinterest and then making them my own. I’m a chef in the kitchen with no rules!”
She's Empathetic and Hard Working
“I feel very deeply,” Veronica says.
She Cried at This Compliment
“Hunter [my son] knew I was nervous prior to an appearance on Rock the Block,” says Veronica. “He asked, ‘Why are you so scared?’ and I replied, ‘Because a lot of people are going to see mommy on television.’ And then he said, ‘Don’t worry mom. They’re not going to like you, they’re going to love you because you’re fun and amazing and a really good mom.’”
She Used to Have a Stutter
Growing up, Veronica was shy and struggled with a stutter. “I literally couldn’t say Veronica Valencia because I would stutter on Valencia,” she says. “Crazily enough, my stutter stopped when I started filming the pilot for Revealed. I convinced myself there was no reason to feel insecure and that everything didn’t have to be perfect, and my stutter went away. From time to time, I’ll change a word in a script if I know it’s going to prompt a stutter.”
She Has a Favorite Color
“I lean towards green because it works with a lot of colors, whether I’m working with a pastel green or a hunter green. Plus, there are just so many beautiful shades to choose from,” says Veronica.
She Loves her Coffee
“I go to bed thinking about my next day’s iced coffee with cream,” says Veronica. “And then I dream about it!”
She Relies on her Show’s Historians
“We worked with historians from Ancestry.com to help our clients figure out their past so we can fill their houses with meaningful items,” shares Veronica. In one episode, Veronica created a gallery wall for a Jewish couple whose family survived the Holocaust. “It included a passenger list showing their names as they traveled to Australia to resettle at the end of World War II. We were also able to discover an old newspaper article featuring their grandmother’s favorite recipes. These historians add that magical component to the show.”
She Does her Homework on all of her Clients
“I always say I need to feel a homeowner before I start designing their home. That said, I ask clients to fill out a lengthy questionnaire so I can get to know them better,” says Veronica. “I’ll also talk to the people in my clients’ lives, including relatives and friends. A lot of research goes into each project.”
She Avoids Traditional Design Rules
“People tend to follow what they perceive to be mandated guidelines: a dishwasher has to go here, a fridge needs to be there. I always tell my clients to keep an open mind,” says Veronica. “For example, I love putting things like floating shelves and hoods over windows. Think about how you want the room to function and know everything doesn’t have to be by the book.”
She Appreciates a Good Gallery Wall
Veronica and her team often use gallery walls to display personal mementos from their clients’ past. “Gallery walls are often the first thing a visitor sees when they walk into someone’s home,” she says. “Finding and displaying items that are meaningful to your family only enhances your environment. And you don’t have to complete it in a day. Take time and curate something beautiful.”
She Asked for her Own Show
Veronica started working with HGTV in 2019 when she was hired to run the design team for the reboot Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. “Several HGTV network executives saw how I could perform and asked me to work on some of their other shows. Then during the pandemic, and with newfound confidence, I called up one of the executives to see if he would give me a shot at my own show.”
And She Cried When it Got Picked Up
“I got on a Zoom with all these amazing ladies from my production company (RTR Media) who revealed the news," Veronica remembers. "Kris was standing right behind me, and I just cried.”
She’ll Never Forget This Moment While Filming
“At the first reveal, I turned around and saw Dave, Tommy and Josh and thought, ‘After 15 years behind the camera, here we all are, in front of the camera,’ Veronica says. "I just walked around soaking in the win while my sister, our photographer, took lots of photos. It had been a long process — a full year and a half going from the sizzle to the pilot to the show. Yet at that moment I knew it was all worth it.”