PITTSTON, Pa. — Her name is Anitra Mecadon. She’s done a lot in her 15-plus years as an interior designer in various parts of the country and credits her upbringing in northeastern Pennsylvania for her work ethic and creativity.
Now, she’s on a new show with a Grammy Award-winning star, helping to transform people’s homes and lives.
GRAMMY Award-winning producer, rapper, and DJ Lil’ Jon and Anitra Mecadon are the newest dynamic duo in the world of home renovations.
The pair partnered up in this new HGTV series called Lil Jon Wants To Do What? It’s one of several national shows Anitra, a popular designer and expert builder, has appeared on. She’s a network TV host who never forgot where she came from.
Anitra's NEPA roots:
"I actually grew up in Pittston, Pennsylvania. I went to Pittston Area High School, the University of Scranton, and believe it or not, I've always wanted to do Home Improvement television since I was a little kid," said Anitra.
So after learning a lot about set design at the University of Scranton, Anitra eventually moved to Atlanta about 20 years ago.
One of her first TV design gigs was on "MegaDens" for the DIY Network. She’s done a number of other shows since then before her most recent role with Lil' Jon.
"We started working together five years ago to work on his own house, and now, he’s my business partner," said Anitra.
While Anitra’s husband, Adam, and son, Nash, maybe her biggest fans, she has quite a large family in our area always cheering her on, including parents Patty and Charlie who are digging their daughter’s new show.
"I love it. I love it. It's exciting to watch her go in. Every time I see her. I'm amazed because I know her talent, I know her capabilities, and yet she goes outside the box all the time," said Patty.
"I will tell you that a lot of people think that it's just the show, but behind the show, she does a lot of physical labor and much of the construction herself," said Charlie.
Long days and a nonstop work ethic are things that Anitra credits back to her roots.
"You know growing up in northeastern PA, you first of all, you have to have a thick skin, right? In our neck of the wood. You have to know how to take a punch. I don't mean physically. I just mean in life, like you learn how to kind of dust your knees off and stand back up and start running again," said Anitra." And the great thing about it is where we come from, there are hard workers and everybody is about home and family, and there's a sense of pride in physical work, in the work you do. And so I feel like that's one of our trademarks. I don't just slap some lipstick on a pig and call it a day for TV. I make sure that these homes are beautiful and going to stand the test of time and the work we do is on point. So there's a quality control. I feel like that really I don't know if I would have been cognizant of it if I hadn't grown up where I did."
When Anitra comes back to our area to visit family and friends, she stays at her childhood home in Pittston Township.
Of course, she always makes time to snag her favorite local foods.
"I miss pizza. Really good pizza," she added. "I'm an Italian girl from northeastern Pennsylvania."
While Ryan Leckey had this Luzerne County native's attention, he just had to go there.
"So you've designed houses and renovated houses on national TV. What would you do to my office?" asked Ryan.
"Your energy is delightful and infectious. And so for me, the first thing looking at your office is my boy needs some color. Okay. All right," answered Anitra.
"I need some paint up on the wall," added Ryan.
"You need a little color!" exclaimed Anitra.
Color and creativity:
Color and creativity are now what this northeast PA native continues to bring to so many on a national level. From Pittston Area High School cheerleading captain to being featured in Times Square to now a new TV show with a Grammy Award-winning artist.
Anitra Mecadon continues to make sparks, and as she continues to expand her career, she never forgot about her foundation built in northeastern Pennsylvania.
And Anitra’s message to future interior designers and rock star home renovation gurus is to go with your gut and follow your heart.
She says her parents' dreams of her being a doctor went out the window once she got a hammer in her hand, but as you can see, it looks like she’s doing just fine.
How to watch:
Fans are invited to connect with Lil Jon Wants To Do What? on HGTV's digital platforms. Viewers can follow @HGTV and #LilJonWantsToDoWhat on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for additional show content and updates. Fans also can follow Lil Jon (@liljon) and Anitra (@anitramecadon) on Instagram.