What Jonathan and Drew Scott were like before the fame

Jonathan and Drew Scott are idols when it comes to home improvement and renovation reality TV shows we love to binge. The twin brothers host three of the HGTV network's top series: Property Brothers, Buying + Selling, and Brother Vs. Brother. They also host a mock renovation web series for HGTV called Toddler Vs. Toddler, and will host another TV endeavor, Property Brothers: Forever Home, come the end of May 2019.

Since Property Brothers first aired in the United States in 2011, the Scott brothers have become household names. In a piece for The New York Times, Kathleen Finch, the president of DIY Network and HGTV, called the pair "the cable equivalent of box-office movie stars." And judging by their respective Instagram followings, it's a pretty fair assessment. But Jonathan and Drew haven't always been the kinds of guys who, according to Drew, "only get home two or three weeks a year" on account of their busy filming schedules. Here's what the HGTV twins were like before they hit it big on the small screen.

They were born and raised in Vancouver, British Colombia

Jonathan and Drew Scott were born to James and Joanne Scott at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, British Colombia on April 28, 1978. In the brothers' book It Takes Two: Our Story, their parents describe the shock of being told by their doctor — mid-labor — that they were having two children. "Within the span of four minutes … our family of three had become five." After Jonathan and Drew's births, the family decided to move to a horse farm in Maple Ridge, about 30 miles outside of Vancouver. According to HGTV, the boys began riding horses by the time they were 3 years old. 

In spite of being identical twins, that four-minute difference between their births has followed the brothers throughout their entire lives. In an interview with Real Style Network, Drew stated that Jonathan holds his older twin status over his head everyday, while Jonathan countered, "We're really close, and I don't think me being older affects our relationship… Me being better looking does! It's harder for Drew." 

They started working together at a young age

Jonathan and Drew have always had a strong entrepreneurial drive, which their parents, James and Joanne Scott, instilled in them at a very young age. In an interview with Glamour, they opened up about their father's influence on their work ethic. "We turned seven and our dad said we had to get a job," the twins told the magazine. So, of course, they did what any other well-adjusted 7-year-olds do. They started their own business. 

The brothers explained that the business, which they called JAM Enterprises ("for Jon, Andrew, Mom") involved the pair hand-crafting nylon-wrapped clothing hangers and selling them around town. Jonathan told The New York Times, "We went door to door. People thought, 'That's cute.' Then we hooked up with this woman who had a chain of stores in Japan." They wound up selling thousands of the hangers overseas, which they had decorated with little roses. From that point on, the brothers were in business together for life.

They made money as "apprentice clowns"

Following their childhood success as nylon clothing hanger entrepreneurs overseas, the 8-year-old Scott twins decided to take their business know-how straight into the entertainment industry. The Scotts reminisced about their 1987 clowning experience to People, with Jonathan explaining, "At 8 years old, we started getting hired out as apprentice clowns, and we did that for years, until we were making like fifty bucks an hour."

For Jonathan and Drew, whose alter egos were "Dimples" and "Curly," respectively, $50 an hour was an incredible amount of money. "It was crazy," Drew said. "We were just sitting there buying candy for all our friends." The clown business was short-lived, however, as the effort required to get ready began to take its toll. In an interview with Real Style Network, Jonathan said, "I didn't like doing all the makeup and all that, so eventually when I was around 13, I segwayed into doing more magic as opposed to the clowning and it built from there."

They took karate seriously

Being 6'5" certainly has its athletic bonuses. As part of a video series that Jonathan and Drew participate in called BroCam, the two talked about sports they participated in while they were growing up. While they both played basketball (or, as Drew likes to point out, Jonathan "played with a basketball, I actually scored points"), their number one sport was actually karate. 

The brothers spoke with Us Weekly in 2017, and Jonathan told the publication that he was a "national champion second–degree black belt in Shotokan karate." In their BroCam video, Jonathan explained how the pair used to compete nationally in tournaments, but they would always wind up being the last two fighters. "We knew each other's moves. It was like watching a mirror image fight against each other." They still can't agree on who's the better fighter, though — Drew excels at kumite, or sparring, while Jonathan has the upper hand with kata, the technique.

They were both competitive bagpipe players

The Scott brothers come from Scottish heritage, and they take their background very seriously. In 2017, they made an appearance at Roots Tech, an annual family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah. KSL, the local NBC affiliate there, covered the convention, where the brothers spoke to the crowd about learning to play the bagpipes at a young age. "My dad told me that girls like musicians, so I thought, 'Then I'm learning the bagpipes,'" Jonathan said. "It did not get me a single date."

Their love of all things Scottish doesn't just end at music, though. The pair, who used to share a home in Las Vegas, Nev., also share a collection of medieval weapons that could put even the nerdiest of collectors to shame. Drew told the audience at Roots Tech, "I'll come home and I'll hear this clinking metal sound, and Jonathan's just walking around in his suit of armor by himself."

They could have been the next big country music act

Growing up on a ranch left an indelible mark on Jonathan and Drew. During a 2014 interview with MyFixItUpLife, the Scott brothers brought up their father, who used to be a cowboy. "He had the old logs set up around the fire," Drew said. "We'd play the guitar around the fire and sing." In fact, not only would they play music around a fire, but they almost tried to do it professionally.

While Jonathan and Drew are certainly the most well-known in the Scott family, they're not the only Scott kids. There is a third Scott brother — JD — who is the oldest of the group. And once upon a time, JD, Jonathan, and Drew were in a "country pop boy band called Western Union." When asked by MyFixItUpLife if there was video evidence of the brothers' music venture, however, Jonathan was quick to say no, joking that he had destroyed the evidence. There could be some hope for a reunion tour, though. "Maybe one day we'll do a rendition," he said.

Jonathan is really into magic

Once the brothers decided they were done with being apprentice clowns, Jonathan turned his attention toward a different kind of performance art: magic. Initially, performing illusions was a means for him to get over his awkwardness with girls. On Netflix's Chelsea in 2016, he told host Chelsea Handler that Drew used to give him a hard time about it, saying, "So we'd be at a party and he'd be like 'you're not going to talk to anybody.' And I would have this swarm of girls around me because I was doing magic."

For Jonathan, magic isn't just a hobby. He told Real Style Network that his illusions are "a full Vegas-style show," complete with some killer dance moves. He's so good, in fact, that he's won several awards along the way. But no amount of talent could save him from some magic-related hardship. In It Takes Two: Our Story, excerpted for City Pages, Jonathan explains that he nearly lost everything he had when he was "scammed out of [his] magic props."

Drew played college basketball (sort of)

The Scott twins grew up around sports, and athletics were a big part of their early lives. In a segment for BroCam, the pair reminisced about their high school glory days. "We used to play on the senior boys basketball team. We were the Thomas Haney Thunder," Jonathan said. "We also played on the volleyball team. All around, we were pretty athletic." They didn't just play sports, either. Drew explained, "We also coached. So we were coaching volleyball, basketball, you name it."

While both Jonathan and Drew excelled in sports during their time at Thomas Haney, it was Drew that went on to pursue athletics after graduation. In an unfortunate turn of events, however, he was forced to quit playing basketball when he suffered an injury during the off-season. In a Q&A video for OK! magazine, the brothers were asked if there was anything they regretted "not doing when they had the chance." Drew said, "I never actually got to play a full season, and I kind of regret not going back and playing once I rehabbed."

They've spent time on the small screen

Jonathan and Drew are natural performers, but it might surprise some fans to learn that HGTV didn't present the brothers with their very first television gigs. In an interview with WGN9, the brothers talked about their success on the home improvement network and responded to those who say they're "just actors pretending to be real estate guys." Drew replied, "Well, we're both." The younger twin actually got his big break on the superhero series Smallville as Tom Welling's body double. From there, he wound up with a small part that might have "hit the cutting room floor."

Jonathan has had his fair share of bit roles, too. He's appeared on The X-Files and has done some commercial work. Ultimately, the two decided they didn't want to wind up being "struggling actors." In an interview with Parade, Jonathan said it was that fear that led them into real estate. They would have had a chance at fame before Property Brothers, however, if only there'd been a market for an American Idol-style real estate series. According to Jonathan, "Drew was approached for a first show called Realtor Idol — basically American Idol for realtors. It was the dumbest idea ever."

They got paid to be in their skivvies

There's a good reason Drew Scott was hired to play the Man of Steel's body double on Smallville, and that reason, in all likelihood, was his abs. Neither he nor Jonathan have been shy about the way they look in tight clothing (just check out this Sailing with the Scotts video Drew posted to his Instagram, if you don't believe us), so it's easy to understand how they could have once been paid to pose in next to nothing. 

During their 2014 OK! magazine Q&A, the brothers were asked about their underwear modeling pasts. "You've seen the pictures," said Drew. Jonathan shared, "Drew and I both modeled for years, and we did underwear model for a while." Neither brother revealed which company they used to actually model for back in the day, but Drew did confirm the existence of the images. "Somewhere out there, there are some photos of this," he said. "Search online."

They got into the real estate game right out of high school

Knowing that they didn't want to just scrape by on their good looks and acting chops, Jonathan and Drew Scott decided to take a chance on real estate right out of high school. During a 2013 interview with Forbes, the twin brothers shared the story of how they were inspired to buy their first property by a Carlton Sheets infomercial. Jonathan told the publication, "At 18 with $250 down we bought a $200,000 home right across from the University and after a little work sold it a year later for a $50,000 profit and that's when the light bulb went on."

According to The New York Times, the Scotts continued flipping houses for several years, making small improvements themselves in order to turn a hefty profit. Eventually, Jonathan decided to go to school for construction and design, while Drew went about getting his real estate license. And the rest has been history.

The weirdest job they've ever had

In their long professional history, Jonathan and Drew Scott have worked in a multitude of industries, doing numerous different types of jobs. Having spent time as clothing hanger designers, apprentice clowns, underwear models, and body doubles, you would think the weirdest thing they've done for a paycheck would be completely outlandish. But it's actually pretty mundane, comparatively.

As part of a "25 Things You Don't Know About Us" feature the brothers did for Us Weekly in 2017, Drew confessed that he and Jonathan once worked as mall cops during the late '90s. He admitted the stint was brief, and it's certainly understandable why. After all, there isn't as much glory in chasing down teenage shoplifters as there is in something like being an award-winning illusionist. We're sure the whole mall cop thing didn't help much with landing dates, either — no matter how attractive the young athletes were.

Their odd dating history

As of October 2018, only one of the Scott twins can consider himself a bachelor (Drew got hitched to longtime girlfriend Linda Phan that May, and HGTV televised their wedding the following month). But long before Drew ever met his true love, he and Jonathan did their fair share of dating. At one point in time, the brothers embarked on one of the biggest twin dating clichés ever: they dated twins.

During a Twitter interview with YourTango, Jonathan answered a series of questions regarding love and dating, and, when it came to dating twins, he couldn't deny it. "Yes, we have," he confirmed. "Haha. It was tricky!" Unfortunately, he didn't go into specifics, but obviously things didn't work out with the twin sisters in the end.

As far as dating these days goes, the two made an appearance on the Today show in 2018, where Jonathan was asked if he'd ever do The Bachelor. His response? "Oh my gosh, I would be riddled with anxiety. I couldn't do it."

They've always been into giving back

On their HGTV shows, Jonathan and Drew Scott are regularly seen helping people create their dream homes, even with limited budgets. The compassion they have for people on screen is a complete reflection of the compassion they show to others in their everyday lives. In an interview with Guideposts.org, the Scott brothers talked about how their TV series have allowed them to bring global awareness to the issues they feel passionate about. "Our theory is that we are all put on this earth to help one another and even the smallest of voices can make a drastic difference in someone else's life," they told the website.

They also have a long history of participation with Habitat for Humanity builds in the United States and Canada. In 2017, their humanitarian efforts were recognized by Habitat for Humanity, and the brothers were selected for the organization's highest honor, securing the title of Habitat Humanitarians — making them only the fifth and sixth recipients to receive the honor. "We have seen firsthand how affordable homeownership changes lives," Jonathan said, adding that a home is "a place for families to build brighter futures."