2018-09-13 / Living

Swartz Creek grad wins Emmy

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK — On a glass tabletop in Joe DeShano’s home in the hip, artistic enclave of Bushwick, in Brooklyn, there sits a shiny, new testament to his talent and skill.

On Sunday, the 1994 Swartz Creek High School graduate won an Emmy for outstanding picture editing for a structured or competitive reality program for his work on the Netflix reboot of the reality makeover program, “Queer Eye.”

“When I found out I’d won, it’s a blur,” said DeShano.

DeShano grew up on a five-acre farm in Gaines. When he was 10 years old, the family moved to Swartz Creek.

He played baseball, as many Swartz Creek area youngsters do, and he played tennis for a couple of years in high school.

“I was in Youth in Government for a while; I was treasurer in my freshman year,” he said. “I thought maybe I wanted to be a politician. I have no problem sharing my thoughts on things.”

Instead of going into politics, DeShano headed off to Eastern Michigan University, where he majored in telecommunications and film, and minored in journalism.

“I was very fortunate,” he said. “I got an internship at Fox Sports Detroit. I had a very tough, but incredibly smart producer. That was the beginning of it.”

There, he worked as a production assistant and feature producer before accepting a job with ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut.

“I went through the ranks at ESPN,” DeShano said. “ESPN was kind of like a bootcamp for editors. They have very high standards. I’m appreciative of that.”

After five years at ESPN, DeShano moved on to freelancing.

“I put my resume out there to a lot of different places, and MTV News contacted me,” he said. “One thing led to another and I accepted a job offer from them.”

The job meant another move, to New York this time, and a bit of a culture shock.

“Everything is more expensive, and you don’t need a car anymore,” DeShano said. “There was definitely a period of adjustment.”

But working for MTV News changed his life, he said.

“MTV became my family,” he said. “They’re absolutely wonderful people. I felt very accepted there.”

DeShano spent five years with MTV then went back to freelancing, eventually landing a job with ITV America and a contract to work on “Queer Eye.”

He said he got a little teary-eyed when he found out he was up for an Emmy award.

“I was working on a different show and my husband (Leo Toro) sent me a text message and it said, ‘Congratulations’,” he said. “I texted back with a question mark. He responded, ‘You’re nominated.’

“I got a little emotional. I excused myself and said, ‘I’m going to go downstairs and have a moment.’ When you hear people say it’s an honor just to be nominated, it really is. To be nominated by your peers in the Academy is really, really special; it’s special that they think your work is worthy enough.”

“I’m very proud of him, absolutely,” said DeShano’s father, Wayne, of Swartz Creek. “I’ve always been proud of him. He’s worked very hard.”

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