HGTV Host Speaks Out: ‘The Most Misogynistic Work Environment I’ve Ever Been In’

Mina Starsiak Hawk

Getty Mina Starsiak Hawk Addresses Work Environment on New Show

To celebrate the premiere day of her new HGTV spinoff series, “Good Bones: Risky Business” host Mina Starsiak Hawk took over the official HGTV Instagram Tuesday, September 6 to answer fan questions. During her Instagram Live appearance, Starsiak Hawk spoke on her experience with sexism in the construction and renovation industry.

While this is not the first time Starsiak Hawk has spoken about the challenges misogyny poses in the construction field, fans were surprised to learn the degree to which this issue existed in the new series.

“I guess I’d really never noticed [misogyny in construction] ’til I started getting asked that,” the Two Chicks and a Hammer co-founder said, “And this show – I mean at least the first couple episodes, I’m sure – it’s the most misogynistic work environment I’ve ever been in in my life and it was very challenging.”

Starsiak Hawk read a comment that had been posted during the live video about her appearance: “Need makeup to cover freckles. And braces.” Starsiak Hawk was quick to move on, but not before telling the commenter, “That’s very rude.”

Tensions Build in Premiere Episode

The “Good Bones: Risky Business” premiere aired on both HGTV and Discovery+ on September 6. During the first episode, in which Starsiak Hawk takes on her biggest renovation project to date, tensions rose between Starsiak Hawk and her project’s site superintendent, Thomas.

Things first came to a head when Thomas refused to demolish the concrete steps leading up to the 6,700-square-foot Victorian home and carriage house (which Starsiak Hawk is hoping to convert into a multi-functional bed and breakfast/event space over the spinoff’s six episodes), claiming the concrete that Starsiak Hawk was ripping up was not part of her approved demolition plan. Starsiak Hawk continued with the demo work, however, while Thomas conferred with the head contractor on the project, Shawn, saying Starsiak Hawk “ruined the city sidewalk.”

In a recap for the Indianapolis Monthly, Kristen Sims initially corroborated Starsiak Hawk’s claims of misogyny, saying, “My first thought was, ‘Would Mina get such grief if she were male?’” Sims was quick, however, to note that Thomas was doing his job by sticking to the pre-approved plan. “Overall, I didn’t like the way Mina and new guy Thomas spoke to each other,” she wrote.

Starsiak Hawk’s stress continued to grow toward the end of the episode, when she watched as windows were installed in the carriage house where she had planned to install doors and two Juliet balconies. Thomas was quick to show that the windows had been signed off on, which Starsiak Hawk denied while trying to call Shawn and sort out the matter.

Do Fans Prefer ‘Risky Business’ to ‘Good Bones’?

Although “Good Bones: Risky Business,” much like its predecessor, follows Starsiak Hawk as she renovates homes in the Indianapolis area, the spinoff features some format changes from “Good Bones.” As Starsiak Hawk told House Digest, “Risky Business” will feature a more holistic view of the renovation process, as the entire six-episode series will focus on the same large project, rather than looking at multiple smaller projects over the course of a season. This, along with the more constant filming, which Starsiak Hawk has compared to the television series “Cops,” allows for “a much more raw footage format, which means more of the tragic or awesome reactions.”

“Good Bones: Risky Business” also sees Starsiak Hawk working alone, without her mother Karen Laine, brother Tad Starsiak, or the usual Two Chicks and a Hammer crew. Starsiak Hawk mentioned in the premiere episode that this is due to ongoing work for their company, as well as for their show “Good Bones” that would not allow them to work on this project.

Fans have taken to social media to share their opinions on the new series, with one fan tweeting, “It’s official. @hgtv Good Bones: Risky Business is a must watch. I can’t believe I have to wait another week to [watch] this play out.”

While many are enjoying the more in-depth view into the renovation process, some are sad to see that a few of their favorite faces are missing from the new spinoff. “The Thomas guy was a tool but I think Mina is so used to getting her way within her team that she is coming across as unlikable since there is no buffer (no Tad, Corey, or Karen for lightheartedness),” wrote another fan on Reddit.

Luckily for those fans, “Good Bones” will return after the six-week run of “Risky Business” ends, allowing the Two Chicks and a Hammer team to wrap up construction after supply chain issues caused delays in a few of their projects.