This Black Sibling Duo Is Bringing Diversity, Design, and DIY to HGTV
The phrase “representation matters” rings true now — maybe more than ever — and the home and lifestyle industries are no exceptions to this rule. Over the past decade, stars like Joanna Gaines and The Property Brothers have become household names, and while HGTV’s lineup is full of talent, it’s often been lacking in racial diversity. Well, all that is about to change, since the network announced 16 new series coming to the small screen in 2021. Sure, there will be a bunch of familiar faces but a bunch of new ones, too. The show I’m personally most excited about has two Black women at its center, and it’s time for the design world to meet sisters Courtney Robinson and Leslie Antonoff and know their names.
“Sister Fixers” will follow Robinson and Antonoff as they work with clients to identify their “struggle spaces” and help decorate them on a budget. The twist is that the sisters have to share a budget and agree on what to spend on in each home! In every episode, Robinson will overhaul the homeowner’s main space, while Antonoff will focus on affordable DIY upgrades and projects to inspire viewers at home.
As far as their backgrounds go, Robinson is an interdisciplinary designer and founder of Materials + Methods Design, a design firm focusing on interior, exterior, and set design. Antonoff describes herself as “a multi-hyphenate in every sense of the word.” She’s a TV host, writer, producer, and lifestyle content creator. Both sisters are proud alumnae of Howard University.
Their show is set to air this fall and has the potential to be a fan favorite. “I believe the most unique aspect of our show is seeing how we use our intuitive sense of style to show others the beauty in their own spaces,” says Robinson. “I can’t wait for viewers to experience our point of view.” As Black millennial woman, this show will bring more diversity and better representation to HGTV’s programming. Antonoff says she feels like this type of cultural acknowledgement is “long deserved.”
Although they grew up together in Los Angeles, Robinson and Antonoff have different styles that complement each other in life and in their work, both on and off screen. Antonoff loves to decorate with books and style with tchotchkes. “Our mom is the queen of small trinkets, so I find myself gravitating toward small pieces that bring character to a space,” she says. Robinson, on the other hand, collects candles, pillows, and vases she finds at Target and Perigold. Both agree that joy is at the helm of their design decision-making when shopping. “I have taught myself that there is no price tag on creating the ambiance and aesthetic you want in your home,” Robinson says.
The fact that Robinson and Antonoff are sisters certainly links their show’s format to that of The Property Brothers and the Fords, but “Sister Fixers” will have its own unique voice, premise, and point of view. When placed in the spotlight, Black celebrities can choose to quietly assimilate or engage with their audiences authentically and unapologetically, and the latter is what the sisters aim to do. “I think I can speak for both of us when I say, we don’t believe our Blackness has to be quieted in order to shine,” Antonoff says.
For Robinson, the goal is always to celebrate their culture in every business venture, including this new show. “We want to shine light on the fact that Black people, in general, care for their spaces the same as our counterparts that have different cultural backgrounds,” she says. “We are stylish. We are family-oriented. We are business-savvy. I want Leslie and I to represent how well-rounded Black women are, and that’s what matters most to me — the representation!”
Antonoff agrees. “Being Black is something we take so much pride in,” she says. “Blackness is the pinnacle of creativity, tenacity, and impressiveness.” Having both attended a historically Black university, Antonoff believes she and her sister, “have been steeped in a rich sense of self and feel rooted and empowered.” Most importantly, knowing the history of Black people in America, she feels like they’ve been endowed with “willpower” that won’t allow them to ever give up on their dreams.
This show will be more than just a new pilot. It will serve as part of a cultural shift in an industry that has been too white for too long. They’re not just providing representation for Black girls but also millennials and HBCU graduates, too. Honestly, the fall can’t come fast enough for this HGTV fan, and I can’t wait to see more from this dynamic duo.