With the proliferation of anonymity, bots and internet trolls, social media has turned into a cesspool at times of negativity, with comments flung here and there meant to bring others down. But while some more than others become targets for critics, reality TV stars Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen E Laine have proven their down-to-earth humbleness and honesty bring out the best in their fans. In an exclusive with PopCulture.com ahead of the Season 6 premiere of Good Bones on HGTV and discovery+, the dynamic mother-daughter duo recognizes and appreciates their fans but also knows how to, respectfully, keep keyboard warriors in line.
"There's definitely a way to do it. I don't know if Tad [Starsiak's] mastered the way to do it [but] my personal take on it is, if you want to be a troll, there's probably other things going on in your life and that's fine," Starsiak Hawk said ahead of the season premiere on June 29. "I also don't think you just get to be a troll privately. I want you to at least know what you said was not cool."
The 36-year-old reveals how she manages to call out a critic taking to the comments section to mom-shame or dump on her work by screenshotting the comments and then covering up the individual's name. "Usually make a little bit of a joke about it. […] After I do that, the amount of comments that are, 'Who said that? We're going to get them!' No, no, no — you don't need to get them," she laughed. "They've been privately called out and shamed. I'm sure they're probably very sad at home for what they did. Probably not. I just try to make it humorous."
Laine recalls when one of the less-than-kind critics was "very upset" about a color the two had featured on the show. "What I recognize in people who you might say are trolls is they want to be heard, too," the 59-year-old said. "They have an opinion, and it seems to me that a lot of them have felt powerless in other areas of their lives. I feel like the first step is to let them know they're heard."
Understanding and acknowledging how "color is very personal," Laine admits she can understand why someone would feel so passionate about something, on the surface, appears trivial. "It's not for everyone. If I start from a place of understanding and someone feels heard, that's where communication and relationships starts. Their lashing out doesn't mean I have to lash out. I can receive that and say, 'That's okay. If you watch this show and you didn't like the color, then our show has been useful for you because you learned something you didn't like. We're not here to just make people like things. These are just ideas."
"I like Mom's take on it," Starsiak Hawk interjects. "She'll just talk to them until they're either not mad anymore or just not responding. Just reasonably say things over and over and over, and she's like, 'I won. They stopped.'"
Joking how it's the only way to "wear them down," Laine says she considers it a win when she feels someone has been heard. "That's a win for me [too]," she said. "I think that's important because I hear all the fans who support us. Why shouldn't the fans who are upset about something also get heard? It seems fair."
Good Bones Season 6 premieres on HGTV Tuesday, June 29 at 9 p.m. ET and is available to stream on discovery+. For more on Mina and Karen, and all your favorite reality shows and stars, keep it locked to PopCulture.com for the latest!