Jillian Harris did what many contestants on reality TV shows only dream of. She managed to take what could have been a brief appearance on The Bachelor and turned it into a legitimate career in television. After her role on the dating show she had her own season of The Bachelorette. She moved to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition the next year, and soon after moved to Canadian television. There, she hosted the first season of a reality game show about home design, and currently hosts a show about real estate in Vancouver.
The Bachelor & Bachelorette
Jillian Harris was born in 1979 in Peace River, Alberta, but moved to Vancouver to study at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She received certification in interior design in 2006, and started working as an interior designer in the area.
In 2008, Harris was cast as a contestant on the 13th season of The Bachelor. Jason Mesnick was the bachelor the Harris and her 24 competitors would be courting. The first single parent in the franchise, Mesnick was the runner-up of The Bachelorette‘s fourth season.
Harris was the first girl Mesnick went on a one-on-one date with during the season, and the couple even ended up going to Harris’ hometown to meet her parents. She finished the season as the second-runner-up, ultimately losing to Melissa Rycroft.
Losing on The Bachelor ended up working out for Harris’ career. In the season finale, it was announced she’d be the star of Season 5 of The Bachelorette. She was the first non-American to be cast as the star on the series, and her season was also the first where there were 30, not 25, contestants. She ended up choosing Ed Swiderski, a tech consultant from Michigan, as the winner, and the couple were briefly engaged. However, that relationship ended in July 2010.
Canada’s Handyman Challenge
After her season on The Bachelorette, Jillian Harris almost immediately moved onto ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, joining the crew during the 8th season. She worked as an interior designer, which is what her day job had been before her stint on reality television.
Harris was on the show for two seasons, before the series wrapped in 2012. By then, she had headlined the Calgary Home + Design Show on behalf of HGTV, launched her own brand of interior decor products, and hosted the first season of Canada’s Handyman Challenge.
A sister-show and successor to All American Handyman, Canada’s Handyman Challenge had contestants compete to see who could tile a floor or repair a roof, and quizzed them on their knowledge of building codes and materials. The spin-off was decently successful, and helped Jillian Harris make even more of a name for herself in the world of interior design.
After her season hosting the Handyman Challenge, Harris got her own show in 2013. Love It or List It Vancouver airing on Canada’s W Network.
The basic premise is a household presents what they would need to change about their current house. Then, Harris renovates the house to meet those needs, while a realtor (Todd Talbot) tries to find a new house for them. At the end of the episode, the family decides whether they want to move into the house Talbot finds, or stay in the house Harris has renovated. Essentially, this means that Talbot and Harris are competing each episode, which is part of what makes the show different than many similar broadcasts, and is likely why it has been successful in its timeslot.
What’s Jillian Harris Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
Jillian Harris continues to host/compete on Love It or List It Vancouver. The new season starts to air on July 6 in Canada, and July 24 in the US.
In her personal life, Harris recently announced that she’s pregnant. She’s been in a relationship with Justin Pastutto, a former pro-snowboarder, for about four and a half years. They live in a lakehouse in her hometown. While we don’t have an exact due date, the couple announced back in March, so their child is likely to be born sometime this fall.
Since she’s an interior designer, there has of course been interest in what her nursery would look like. The couple opted not to learn the baby’s sex in advance, so the room is a mix of white and brown, featuring items from Harris’ own interior decor line.