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Ty Pennington exclusive interview

Joel D. Amos is a Los Angeles-based writer, and the Senior Entertainment Editor here at SheKnows. He has interviewed numerous celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl, Rachel McAdams, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaw...

Ty: heart-filled home-builder

Ty Pennington is back doing what he does best, helping families rebuild. But, this is exactly what Pennington and his Extreme Makover: Home Edition team have been doing for years now -- bringing hope through home to hundreds of families in need. Extreme Makover: Home Edition airs tonight with a special guest in Ashley Tisdale.

Ty asks Pennington got his TV start on the hugely successful TLC show Trading Spaces. Often times, Pennington was the most entertaining aspect of the show. But, it was the cries of horror from homeowners shocked at their new homes that drove Pennington to seek a television building venue where the tears arose from joy.

Ty took a few moments from building another home for another episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition guaranteed to create tears to exclusively chat with SheKnows.

An Extreme exclusive interview

SheKnows: Congratulations on being back for another season.

Ty Pennington: Thanks! I'm really excited about it. I'm just glad that we're still going (laughs). In the economy that we're in, in the building industry that we're in, it's amazing to still find builders.

SheKnows: It appears with the show helping hundreds of people like you have, it is safe to say it's been life changing for you, Ty?

Ty Pennington: Oh, absolutely, my God. You definitely start to realize, more and more, how many things we take for granted. You cannot be part of this show and not have it affect you in some way. This show makes you realize not only we take for granted every day, but also what's important in life. That's what so great about the whole experience. It's all sort of built by other families volunteering and giving their time for some other family that is in need. To see that many people come out and really volunteer, roll up their sleeves, what a great thing to be a part of something that changes lives. It makes you realize that there are really good people in this world. It gives everybody hope that with everything going on in their lives, there are people that will stand behind them.

SheKnows: That's probably the key to the entire show's success.

"We're all...connected"

Ty Pennington: I think that's what it is, it's about the larger, broader family community of us all. Wherever we are, it takes that community to stand up and take care of its own. If you think about it, we're all in small communities that are connected. It's great, man, if you look at the really big picture. I love seeing the family's reaction. It's like Christmas morning, you know?

Ty Pennington lives for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition reactions

SheKnows: Yeah, and then some…

Ty Pennington: Everyday up to that point is basically Christmas Eve (laughs). You're trying to make it just that perfect. The collective reward is so phenomenal. To see what change looks like on someone's face.

Ty's ever-building career

SheKnows: Could you have ever thought -- my wife and I were big fans of you on Trading Spaces -- that your contracting work would lead to something as altruistic as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?

Ty PenningtonTy Pennington: That's part of the reason why I did it. I had so much on Trading Spaces. I think I was much more of a comedian on that show (laughs), but it was interesting because sometimes people would cry – but for the wrong reasons. Even though we got great shock value and a good reaction, I thought wouldn't it be nice if people were crying for the right reasons? I definitely wanted to do a show that was more of a positive. Initially, the show was not designed or meant to be the show we're on now. It was more Survivor meets Monster House and we see if we can pull this thing off in the time we have. But, I think it was because…I don't know. I believe that the best things in life find their way by themselves.

SheKnows: It was truly organic the way the show evolved and became this incredible hit.

Ty Pennington: That's the best thing is that the show just happened -- it found itself. It was the family's' reaction, it was the 120 guys in T-Shirts helping out. We looked around and realized that this is what this show is about. It's not about us arguing all week. It's about a family changing. That's why I think it's so phenomenal is that the show found itself. I think maybe we just lucked out, but…you couldn't help but notice the reaction. Then, we thought, 'what else can be done?' That's what I thought was amazing is that on this show, everybody wins. Who would have guessed that you could do good things, make a difference, and it would get ratings?

SheKnows: For you, was the downturn in the economy particularly in the home building industry, did it create any challenges for you finding contractors.

Ty Pennington: That is exactly what has been blowing me away. Some of the builders we've used in the past, they might not even be in business anymore because it's hit so hard. But, to still find builders that want to be involved in something like this, even though their trade has taken its, but to think that they still want to step up and help their community -- that's what blows me away. People still, even the volunteers -- everyone's hurting during these times. They could be off making extra money, but people turn out and help. It just blows me away.

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