The HGTV star opens up to PEOPLE about wrapping up the long-running HGTV show, the challenges of working with family and what's next for her
When Mina Starsiak Hawk recently announced the end of her long-running HGTV show Good Bones, she expressed her gratitude for the ability to make a series she feels was “super representative” of who she really is — the wins, the losses and everything in between.
Still, she says, there's much more going on behind the scenes than can fit into a 42-minute TV episode. Starsiak Hawk opened up to PEOPLE about the biggest challenges of making the show, like accurately portraying everything that goes into her major home renovations, from building woes to personal drama.
“There's a lot more construction people don't see. There's a lot more contractor issues people don't see. There's interpersonal family dynamics that people don't see," she shares.
When filming the series’ eighth and final season, she says, “There were definitely some challenging [moments] because my mom and I were in some of the most challenging places I felt we've been.”
In the season premiere, which aired Aug. 15, for example, she says she and her mother and co-star, Karen E. Laine, had just had “a knockdown drag-out [fight] during demo.”
“I was like, ‘I wonder if anyone's going to be able to tell,’” she says. “And of course, you can't because that's the idea. People . . . that's not why they're tuning in to watch Good Bones. That's not what they want.”
Starsiak Hawk has made a point over her career to be more candid than other stars might about her life offscreen, from documenting her fertility journey to, most recently, sharing the struggles of combining business, family, finances and fame on her podcast, Mina AF.
After revealing that she and and her mom were “not in a great place” on a recent episode of Mina AF, she tells PEOPLE that taking this journey together throughout the show’s eight seasons has been “really hard.”
Starsiak Hawk started her Indianapolis-based company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, with her mom in 2007. While Laine stepped back from the company in 2019, she still appears on the show alongside Starsiak Hawk and their team.
“I think family business is hard enough on its own,” she shares. “And from what people know from the show, my mom and I are thick as thieves, best friends, and because they just don't know anything else, they assume that's how it's always been. And I think a lot of people really aspire to that, so they don't want to know other stuff, which is fine. But my mom and I have had a very rocky relationship since I have memories.”
Starsiak Hawk says the pair got really close from the time she was in college to when they started their company.
“It was maybe eight years of my now 39 years that we were extremely close,” she says. “And [I’m] not expecting anyone to know all the other stuff. There wasn't a show about the other stuff. But it's very challenging when you aren't working from a super stable base to then throw in TV, which will just completely f--- your world up if you let it. And it's really, really hard for people not to let it.”
With her podcast, Starsiak Hawk says she’s trying to share the “non-pretty parts” of her life and have an outlet separate from her social media, which she keeps more neutral.
On one recent episode of Mina AF, Mina and husband Steve Hawk had a candid conversation about their decision to give up alcohol.
She says the overwhelming majority of commenters thanked them for talking about the sensitive topic, though there was one rude comment.
“Someone was like, ‘Oh, this makes so much sense why he's so weird in all the episodes, he had a drinking problem,” she says. “I'm like, ‘What the f--- is wrong with you?’ So there's definitely some dumb people like that, but the vast majority of the episodes, as well as that one, are just people saying, ‘Thank you for saying the thing. I experienced the thing and it made it easier for me to talk about the thing.' And the sobriety one, I think, really did that.”
On the Aug. 28 episode, Mina opened up about a dilemma she faced over whether to address conflicts with her mom and brothers, Tad and William, ahead of her 5-year-old son Jack’s birthday party. (She and Steve are also parents to a 2-year-old daughter, Charlie.)
“That was a tough episode, because I got so many comments back,” she says. The standard ‘You only have one mom. You only have one family. Figure it out, bury the hatchet.’”
While she ultimately didn’t invite those family members to the birthday celebration, she says the rift wasn’t caused by a single event, but was more about her feelings that Laine “never really played the mom role.”
“And so while you can let those things go and say everyone's doing the best they can when they can, also, some people's best isn't good enough, and that's okay too,” she says.
“We've all moved past it,” she adds. “But when we became close, we became close as friends. We never were really close as ‘You are my mom; you take care of me. I'm your daughter; I look to you to be a safe place.’"
She adds, "And all my siblings have much stronger relationships than her and I do.”
While Mina currently has three home renovations in the works, she says if her team was rolling into another season of Good Bones, they’d likely have 12 projects “going gangbusters.”
As the show comes to an end, she sees herself being part of the HGTV family “as long as they want me to be there."
“It's the best place to be for what I do,” she says.
Mina and Steve are currently filming the renovation of a lake house they bought this summer. She also hopes to continue appearing on other HGTV shows, like the star-studded competition series Rock the Block.
“While I'm sure at one point I would've said, ‘Never again am I doing my own show,’ I would in a heartbeat if it was something that I think I could maintain while also maintaining my sanity,” she says. “I never tried to be on TV. I didn't apply for this, but when it was good, I'm good at it. I like it. I like the whole process. It's really interesting. So I'm definitely open to it.”
“So much has changed in the world since we started," she adds. “So the fact that the show hadn't changed in eight years and so many other things in life had — it's a miracle that we got as far as we did.”
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