One local family is going to be featured in an upcoming segment of HGTV's "How Close Can I Beach?"
Maggie Matthews got the call from the show's producers in early October 2017 that they were interested in her family for a possible filming.
"I'll never forget getting the call," she said, remembering that she was in the back of a taxi in New York City on her way to Bridal Market the first weekend in October.
At the time, she was still living and teaching school in Mississippi, but preparing for a move to South Walton where her husband had just taken a job.
"They wanted to see us, including my 2-year-old son, Deaton, to see how we would be on camera," she said.
So the Matthews family interviewed with the producers over a Skype call and heard shortly after that they were accepted.
"I wanted to do it to help the business I was about to open, so we agreed if our Realtor could do it with us," she said.
Matthews is not sure exactly how the show's producers found her, but she suspects the connection came through her mother, who already lived in South Walton and knew someone who knew someone who had been on the show or was trying to be on the show.
The producers wanted to move quickly, so the Matthews family came down one Wednesday in late October and filmed for four straight days.
"Fortunately, that was my fall break as I was still teaching at the time, so it worked out perfectly," she said.
Matthews said the show's premise is set up similar to "House Hunters," showing what you can get for your budget.
The family was shown a small condo on the beach, a house a block or two from the bay, and their home, which is near the bay and near County Road 30A, with the family critiquing each one.
"We filmed all over," she said. "We did a fishing excursion, we kayaked at WaterColor, we filmed at Grayton Beach State Park, and at Bud & Alley's, and they filmed my little boy on the beach. It was exciting, tiring, and fun. We spent four full days with the film crew, starting early every morning and went through a full day of filming until 6 p.m."
The one place filming could not take place was at Maggie's new shop she was readying to open -- Margaret Ellen Bridal at Inlet Beach -- as the space was not ready, but producers did film at the family's new home with her showing samples and talking about her shop. She opened Margaret Ellen Bridal Jan. 3 at 30Avenue on the second floor above 30A Olive Oil Company.
The family has not been allowed a preview of the show and will see it for the first time along with the rest of the world, and unfortunately, not together. Maggie will be in New York City again when the segment airs.
"Our friends told us they will watch to see my husband talk, as he's very quiet," said Matthews. "I probably did most of the talking."
The Matthews' segment, titled "Something New," will air April 15 at 7 p.m. And since Maggie will not be here for the original airing, she will host a reviewing party at her store April 18 at 6:30 p.m. with the show airing at 7:30 p.m. on the 30Avenue green.
Matthews said she is nervous and scared of how she will sound on TV.
Visit HGTV at www.hgtv.com/shows/how-close-can-i-beach for more on the series.