Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tufaro Dartmouth '97 Consults the Stars for HGTV Series

Sig Ep Consults with Stars

By Hannah Plotkin, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Thursday, July 20, 2006

When Greg Tufaro '97 decided to follow the pre-med track as an undergraduate, he never expected what "the stars" might have in store for him nine years after graduation. He certainly did not predict a career in television, let alone astrology, he said. However, as fate would have it, Tufaro recently became the resident astrologist on HGTV's new series, "What's Your Sign? Design," which premiered July 1.

The show, which has already filmed the 26 episodes of its first season, follows a different couple with design-related differences of opinion each week. Tufaro creates an astrological chart for each of them, then designer Nicole Facciuto works with Tufaro on designing a room for their specific personalities. Each episode ends with the room's revelation to the couple, who have not witnessed its makeover.

Tufaro, a psychology major and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity while at the College, became involved with astrology through his father, who studied the subject for many years. Although he does not hold a degree or any professional training, he calls himself "self-taught" and believes that astrology is his "birthright."

"It's one of those things that I think comes to a person, and they know it and get it ... to me it's more of a math and science with an intuitive vibe," he said.

One Dartmouth experience that stuck with Tufaro over the years was from his sophomore summer when he took an introductory astronomy course. During one class, the professor briefly mentioned astrology and started discounting its theories. In reaction, one student stormed out of the classroom, enraged by the professor's lack of respect for the subject. Although Tufaro himself was not upset with the professor, he says it is one moment he always remembers.

Tufaro was in the process of receiving a Masters degree in biophysics and physiology at Georgetown University when he realized that a future as a doctor, which had until this point been his chosen career path, was not right for him. Inspired by little more than a "typical love for television," Tufaro drastically changed professions and took a job selecting participants for the television show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire."

"I honestly don't know when it hit me that that's what I wanted to do," Tufaro said. "I kind of fell into it, and when I fell into it I realized that this is what I love doing."

Although Tufaro has now worked in television production for years with industry veterans such as Jane Pauley, John Walsh and Ananda Lewis, "What's Your Sign? Design" marks Tufaro's debut in front of the camera. He said that his experience as a member of the Dodecaphonics a cappella group helped prepare him for performing.

Tufaro was producing "Operation Homecoming" on television network TLC when his colleagues, aware of his experience with astrology, approached him about the new design show that was in the works. Tufaro then did a screen test and "the rest is history," he said.

Currently, Tufaro is producing HGTV show "Under One Roof," in which a life coach and a designer work alongside a couple to redesign a space of their home. For the future, he hopes to go back and forth between producing and working on screen.

"It's a neat experience," he said of his new professional role as an astrologer. "If it's a chapter in a new book, that's great. If it's just a chapter in my whole story, then that's fine too."

"What's Your Sign? Design" airs on HGTV, Saturdays at 9 p.m.