A jewelry maker from Myrtle Beach added quite the sparkle to her year by winning the inaugural season of “JTV Rock Star Designer.”
With the announcement on the two-part finale episode on the Jewelry Television, Ashley Hoffman said won a $5,000 cash prize and the gateway to create a jewelry collection for national exposure on the shopping channel.
The Myrtle Beach native, with a private studio in Surfside Beach (ashhoffmanjewelry.com), said the series, which JTV premiered Aug. 31 with five finalists, was filmed in June in Knoxville, Tenn. Then, the eight episodes of jewelry design competitions and gradual elimination of contestants, culminated with final round airing Sept. 18 and won by Hoffman.
She said details on the series – www.jtv.com/jtv-2015-rockstar-designer.html – were broached in March during Charleston Fashion Week, and thanks to a friend’s encouragement, she entered, making the first cut of 100, which later got narrowed down to 50.
“I actually received an email that I was contestant,” Hoffman said, “on May 8, my wedding day. Then we each of us, as individual contestants, had to basically advertise ourselves through own social media, so the top 10 people with the highest number of votes made it into the top 10.”
Hoffman said she toted “that fine line of not being annoying” for a month, asking everyone through social media and email to kindly cast a vote daily for her. Once in the final 10, Hoffman said, that showed “where our personalities came through,” because producers “got to know us as individuals” each with a week of “ground footage” gained through GoPro cameras.
Hoffman said her camera followed her daily routine with such activities as her “boot camp” fitness and yoga classes, and work in her art studio, and the finalists each sent in photos of their work to illustrate respective skill levels.
“The on-air presence,” Hoffman said of filming of the episodes, “that was easy for me, because it was very easy for me to be myself in front of the camera.”
She found “being on the other side” on a TV show “wild,” but not intimidating, because filming wasn’t in front of the “85 million households” that JTV reaches, but only “those eyes” at the site of taping.
“Watching myself,” Hoffman said of seeing herself on telecasts, “is a whole, another story. I’ve learned to laugh at myself for sure.”
She said all the “Rock Star Designer” episodes are viewable in full on www.youtube.com/user/jewelrytelevision, with various “bonus reels” and extra footage.
With a degree in architecture from Clemson University, the Myrtle Beach High School alumna said creativity has always flowed in her veins, and that a four-month stay in Uganda “sparked it all” – from where she brought home $1,000 worth of jewelry from a missionary to craft into wares for necklaces sold for $7,000 collectively to help a cause there that trains pastors.
Hoffman then went on to study and complete the “Master Jewelry” program at the American School of Jewelry in Sunrise, Fla.., which on its website, had a congratulatory message posted this past week for the win on JTV.
Taking ear rings and bracelets and “making something new with them” through tinkering has tickled Hoffman’s artistic energy.
A sterling silver ring given from her great-grandmother, a Sioux Indian, still shines as inspiration for Hoffman as her first cherished gem.
Having gained this national exposure for her art has only enhanced “a wonderful life” Hoffman described as “making beautiful things every day ... with my aesthetics ... that people enjoy wearing”
Hoffman also called married life, to Enoel Hidalgo, a Spanish teacher at Conway High School, “wonderful.” Their honeymoon included visits to about 10 national parks out west, even prompting contemplation of relocating to Colorado, she said. The next big tour on their wish list: Cuba, her husband’s homeland.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.