The day before the governor of California announced a statewide shelter-in-place order, Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, 36, a daytime talk show host on “The Real” and a YouTuber, and her husband of almost four years, Israel Houghton, 48, a gospel singer, songwriter and producer, moved to a new house in Calabasas, Calif. They were quarantined without much furniture. Renovation and décor projects were put on hold with contractors and designers. And, they were both expected to be on camera for their work, especially Ms. Bailon-Houghton, who films up to three episodes a day for “The Real.”
“We hate the reason why we’re quarantined, but we’ve really been enjoying and loving this time at home together,” she said. Mr. Houghton, who regularly travels for work added: “We both realized that we love to just wake up in the morning and have a routine.”
They jumped into action for both professional and personal projects. The couple skipped the kitchen remodel and instead painted the cabinets white themselves. They also started building the furniture they purchased online. Mr. Houghton worked on his cooking game while Ms. Bailon-Houghton has tapped her interior design skills.
For their entire relationship, each has been wrapped up in various businesses. In addition to the on-camera work, Ms. Bailon-Houghton is an entrepreneur and owns two product lines — a jewelry company XIXI and a vegan handbag line La Voûte. Mr. Houghton writes and produces his own music, but also streams worship services for various churches. Mr. Houghton said he enjoys their daily guided meditation and working out on their Peloton bike. At dinner, they concoct their own cooking competitions as if they are on the popular Food Network show, “Chopped,” pulling out a random collection of items from their pantry to create a delicious, or at the least edible, meal. Now, Mr. Houghton wants to become a chef.
The time at home hasn’t been without its challenging moments, namely how to film each other’s professional obligations. Ms. Bailon-Houghton set up the equipment sent to her by the producers on “The Real” to film from home in the only room they have furnished. The backdrop? The bed. The camera operator, production assistant, lighting technician and sound engineer? Mr. Houghton. He also films her episodes for her YouTube channel, “All Things Adrienne.”
The couple swaps roles to make videos of Mr. Houghton performing his music, footage he produces for various churches across the country. Here’s what they’ve learned since working while quarantined, and a few tips on how they make production at home work for them.
Learn to improvise.
The couple admits it’s all trial and error, because they have never done so much of their own production. Ms. Bailon-Houghton has found a knack for the aesthetics, whether it’s strategically placing a plant in the background or covering Mr. Houghton’s piano with pillar candles. “We put the whole piece together, and he’s like, ‘the sound is terrible,’” she said. They invested in gear to run an audio rig through the iPhone — not an easy task — but anyone can enhance the sound with a well-placed microphone.
Learn what works for you.
Practice makes perfect is Ms. Bailon-Houghton’s best advice. Surprisingly, she has done her own makeup for the show for the past three seasons, but never even attempted to style her own naturally curly hair. Shelter-in-place restrictions kept her from getting a professional blowout so she spent time in the bathroom embracing her “corona curls” as she calls them. The trick, she added, is to learn what works for you and what does not. Then, take time to do it yourself when you’re not in a rush.
Laugh through it all.
If there is one consistent thread to the couple’s approach to handling their new normal, it’s humor. They try to keep it lighthearted around the house, even when things go astray. Ms. Bailon-Houghton has pretended to be a yoga instructor for their workouts, and Mr. Houghton has tried to make a meal of disparate ingredients, like a banana, beans, and a keto tortilla. If things get too frustrating, they jump in their pool and relax before going back to the project.
Transparency is OK.
Mr. Houghton laughing in the background of “All Things Adrienne” is now par for the course, and Ms. Bailon-Houghton said that her audience has given her positive feedback. They prefer the unpolished footage, she said, and they respect it’s her husband behind the camera rather than a 15-person crew. “Not laughing at her jokes was virtually impossible,” Mr. Houghton said of working the camera for the show. “There’s three or four times where I couldn’t get around it. I find her so entertaining and hysterical.”