'Sweet Home' star Jennifer Welch explains show's rebrand: 'I wasn’t going to move forward without' Pumps
Welcome back to Oklahoma!
Jennifer Welch is back on Bravo with "Sweet Home," a new show focused on her interior design business Jennifer Welch Designs premiering on Friday, November 2. After two seasons on "Sweet Home Oklahoma," Welch returns alongside the likes of her partner, Josh, and BFF Pumps, taking viewers along for the ride with some of her high-roller clients in the Oklahoma City area.
When the show's production company first came to her with the idea of a new show, Welch was expecting them to tell her she was being cancelled -- so going into her third season on the network, the 44-year-old had some stipulations before committing. Among them? Not disclosing how much her clients were spending and making sure that Pumps would be involved.
After all, Welch told AOL, "Pumps is the crowd favorite."
AOL's Gibson Johns recently caught up with the interior designer to talk about all things "Sweet Home," her unconventional relationship with her husband and respecting her clients' privacy.
Check our excerpts from our conversation with Jennifer Welch below:
On how "Sweet Home Oklahoma" became "Sweet Home":
It was proposed to me by the production company, like, “Hey, we want to keep you guys around, but we think maybe focusing on your design business and having some of those shenanigans in there might be a really great fit for us.” If you think about the shows that are successful on [Bravo], that made sense to me. But, when the producer called to tell me that, I thought they were calling to tell us to say that “Sweet Home Oklahoma” was cancelled. That’s what I thought. I was expecting it, because I thought we did okay, but weren’t the best fit for the network. The people who watched it loved it, but it takes a lot to get people to watch a new show. And I was okay with that. But then he told me about doing a new season based around my design business, and I was speechless. And it takes a lot for me to be speechless. I never saw it coming.
My gut instinct was "no," because I’m the primary breadwinner for our family. But then I started talking to some people and tried to absorb it. They all told me to do it, so I came around to it. It was definitely different having them there in the office and at work sites, and there was a transition with that. A lot of the stuff I do is just me sitting there sketching or at a computer, so it can be kind of boring, but the job-site camaraderie is fun to watch.
On not disclosing how much her clients are spending on the show:
That was something that I knew would be a huge issue. Oklahoma City has around a million people in it, and the area that I work in is a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a small town, and I did not want to start talking about how much money my clients spend on national television. No. 1, I couldn’t imagine calling them and asking them that favor and No. 2, I did not want to disclose that out of fear of future clients not wanting people to know what they spend. They spend a lot of money -- they all spend at least six figures -- and I don’t take a project on period unless it's hundred-thousand spend or more. That’s just where I’m at. In Oklahoma City, it’s kind of considered uncool to talk about money like that. We’re a bit more traditional in that sense, so that overt materialism is a turnoff in my community.
On making sure Pumps would be on the show:
I said I won’t go forward without her. Pumps is the crowd favorite, and I always joke around and call her that, and she goes, 'F--k off!' But that’s just who she is. I wasn’t going to move forward without her.
On her conventional relationship with ex-husband, Josh:
The biggest question is always, "Are you going to get remarried?" Younger people of course ask us that, but sometimes it's older people, too. It’s just like, "No! We’ve already done that." I see the tradition aspect of it, but I bought into the whole fairytale and it didn’t come out the way I wanted. I’m really happy now, though. I like this now. I don’t feel at 44 years old -- and Josh is going to be 50 -- that we have to get married. I’m not a religious person, so I don’t feel any kind of burden.
I did receive a ton of handwritten letters and Instagram messages from people, who were drug addicts or in a relationship with someone who was, about how inspiring it was to see our relationship on television and see us air it all out. People were very, very receptive to how open we were about his addiction, our marital problems, our divorce and our reconciliation.
On what she gets told on social media:
When I decided to do this, I just told myself that I can’t give a sh-t about what Doris in Cleveland, Ohio, thinks. I can’t. That’s Doris’ problem. For me, the bigger thing is that we feel true to our authentic selves and what people think is what they think. Josh gets a little more upset. [Laughs] People would tweet all the time -- this is so good -- that they thought Josh was gay, and I would just retweet it and at the top I would just put, “RETWEET” in all caps. So I get the biggest kick out of people who are just so wound up on Twitter. I am in tears and dying laughing. It cracks me up.
"Sweet Home" premieres on Friday, November 2 at 10 p.m. EST on Bravo