‘Battle on the Beach’: Alison Victoria, Taniya Nayak & Ty Pennington Mentor Green Reno Teams
Competition is heating up this summer on HGTV with the new series Battle on the Beach. The show sees three couples tasked with transforming identical 1,500 square foot properties in Gulf Shores, Alabama, from shack to chic. These duos face challenges over the course of six weeks as they renovate these beachfront properties using a $75,000 budget.
Expert judges Mina Starsiak (Good Bones) and Mike Holmes (Holmes + Holmes) will choose who did the best job rejuvenating their spaces in each episode. Ultimately, one team walks away with $50,000 based on how they increased the value of their beach house.
It’s a tall order, but luckily they aren’t going it alone. Each couple is paired with either Ty Pennington (Rock the Block), Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab), or Taniya Nayak (Restaurant Impossible). Here, the three stars tell us why this undertaking was no typical day at the beach.
The beach is not a bad setting to shoot a TV show!
Ty Pennington: A beach house could be something that is a gigantic mansion or a cabin in the woods that ended up on the beach. We didn’t know what we were going to find once we got there.
Taniya Nayak: It’s kind of amazing to see three exactly-the-same properties next to each other. They were beaten up, damaged from a hurricane. So it was in worse condition than you can even imagine.
Pennington: That’s what makes it so great. There were a lot of challenges right off the bat, but we’ve been doing this for a really long time. It has all the ingredients you can want to tell a truly compelling story. Nothing was easy. The struggle is when artists show their best work. In the end, it’s remarkable what these teams were able to do. It’s incredibly dramatic. And of course, I’m dramatic every day.
Alison Victoria: Ty does win the most dramatic.
Speaking of drama. You have three married couples who work together flipping houses. Now they have this big challenge where they are thrown into a high-pressure situation. Is this the ultimate relationship test?
Nayak: I can’t even decide what I’m going to have for dinner without getting into a disagreement with my husband. They were all smiling and still liked each other when we visited them.
Pennington: There was never a moment where they had a break away from each other. They also had to make all these decisions together. After working incredibly from sunup to sundown, go to sleep and be back at it the next day. It was truly amazing what these couples did.
How competitive did things get among the three of you?
Pennington: I just joined this show to make sure Alison lost some competition. That was my initial goal.
Victoria: Oh yeah, I haven’t done enough of that, huh.
Nayak: There were these weekly competitions where every time we came back with one challenge after another. We all did our fair share of losing.
Pennington: Being the mentor was a torturous thing. We couldn’t do the work. We could help, but couldn’t change the navigational direction. I’ve always been hands-on. When the three of us get together, it is beyond competitive. We’ve all been doing it so long. We wanted to put them in the right direction to make things look so much better than just okay because you can’t win with just okay.
What kind of strategy did you go in with?
Victoria: I went in thinking, “I can actually mentor instead of doing.” Ty was like, “This is the most relaxed I’ve ever seen you.” I really did embrace the role of not overstepping my boundaries. I had to say, “You know what? Just as I had to learn, this couple is going to have to learn. I can be here to offer my expertise and opinion. Though it’s their choice. There is no wrong decision. It’s more, “I’ve been there and done that, so hopefully I can give you some sound advice.” It’s beautiful to see the couples we’ve met and got to know so fast and so furious. I am still in touch with my couple and playing mentor in their lives. At the end of the day, their house was their house.
Nayak: I think you really did such an awesome job playing that role and guiding them. I was a bit of a hand-holder. There really were three different ways and perspectives. It was pretty wild to see the outcomes.
Pennington: I was really impressed how Alison really did step away. I’ve done shows with her and that is something I’ve never seen her do. But I’m a doer. With this show I jumped into the [proverbial] vehicle I wasn’t able to drive the vehicle. I was trying to do some backseat driving, but every house was completely different. Which makes it an interesting show to watch. I would say we had three different experiences. The real heroes were the teams themselves.
How was it having Mina and Mike as judges?
Victoria: I’ve been judged by Mr. Holmes, and it’s not fun and it’s not easy. But it is good I’ve been through it, so I didn’t take it too personally.
Pennington: I just love being judged. It’s the best.
Victoria: It was not your strong suit.
Pennington: I really don’t do criticism well.
Nayak: I thought Mike Holmes on the beach was a very different Mike Holmes than we’ve seen on TV. I thought he was way more laid back than normal. I thought he was tough but not as brutal as I thought he would be.
Pennington: Maybe because he took it all out on me.
Thoughts on the finished products?
Victoria: The reaction was, “Oh my God, this was happening next door to me.” That’s the coolest part. The viewers are going to have that same feeling.
Pennington: One of the things I was amazed about is since we were mentors and with our couples. So, we didn’t look into what the other was doing because I wouldn’t want to get an idea someone else had. I thought it would dilute what direction we were going in. It would mess with our heads. I heard things, but I didn’t want to see what they were doing. I think we all left feeling we would all stay in these places at the drop of a hat. That was not the case when we first got there.
Nayak: We were mama and papa bears watching them grow in just a few short weeks. It was a great feeling. The relationships we had with the teams lasted beyond the show itself.
What are your takeaways?
Nayak: Alison wants to do a beach show every episode on the sand for the rest of her life.
Victoria: Yes, I’m definitely going to give up city living and go straight to the humidity [laughs]
Pennington: It has been so challenging doing these shows during COVID because of the protocols. We jump through hoops to make it happen. It takes a lot, and a lot of people to pull this off. We all had so much fun and saw these guys work their hardest to create something magical. In the end, it’s worth it because you become a family. I wish there was a show that shows you what happens behind the scenes. I’ve heard rumors there will be a little bit of that. I hope it’s true.
Battle on the Beach, Series Premiere, July 11, 9/8c, HGTV