Melissa McCarthy & Cousin Jenna Perusich On New Home Makeover Show: 'We Are Not a Mellow Energy!'

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Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV
Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV

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Melissa McCarthy and her cousin, actress Jenna Perusich are doing more than their fair share when it comes to giving back.

The two women, who consider themselves "design obsessed" have teamed up for the new six-episode series The Great Giveback (premiering June 13 on HGTV and discovery+), in which they'll offer surprise home transformations to nominees who have gone above and beyond to serve others.

"It was a great reminder that there is so much good, so much kindness in the world. It's out there," McCarthy tells PEOPLE. "We just wanted to celebrate these amazing people. And be reminded that we all can really make a difference."

They were inspired to make their own show after their first HGTV cameo back in 2020. McCarthy, 51, was tapped to nominate loved ones for a home makeover on Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott's star-studded series Celebrity IOU. She asked Perusich, 33, for ideas. Together they decided on Perusich's parents, who are retired police officers in Chicago. The renovation, says Perusich, "just changed their life in every aspect."

Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV
Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV

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Teaming up came naturally to the pair, who became closer after Perusich graduated from college, where she had studied theater, and moved to L.A.

"I thought well if she wants to act, she should come out here and see what a set's like," recalls McCarthy. "It took approximately three seconds, and we were completely connected at the hip."

Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV
Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV

hgtv

"It really is true," adds Perusich. "We are so similar, but different, but weird. We're not a mellow energy—I'll leave it at that. You notice us in the best way."

As for their respective design styles, "We definitely have a similar aesthetic," says Perusich. "We love vintage. I feel like we both are very inspired by vintage colors and fabrics."

Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV
Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV

hgtv

"We do have different opinions, but usually it's a red flag," McCarthy explains. Addressing Perusich, she adds, "If you would really not like something I wanted to do, I would be like, 'Oh, wait, why?' instead of fighting for it. I would be like, 'Well, if you want green, and I want blue, maybe it's lavender."

Being able to hone in on each of the deserving nominees' style was even more of an appeal.

"It wasn't about us doing these houses for us. It's really about how we make these renovations feel specifically catered to these great people," McCarthy says. "And it was tremendously fun, because it's kind of like when you build a character in acting, you don't think of it in terms of yourself; you think how these people might think. What would make them really happy? What's the little thing to put on the shelf that might surprise them?"

Working together has made the two even closer. "I think her integrity is remarkable," says McCarthy of Perusich. "She's always true to herself. And I feel like each day she will do what's harder in order to do the right thing."

Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV
Melissa McCarthy and Jenna Perusich: HGTV Show The Great Give Back 2022 credit: HGTV

hgtv

McCarthy "stays true to what she believes in, and she does not waver and she doesn't compromise. That is really inspiring," adds Perusich. "We're also super honest with each other. If one of us is having a bad day, I don't think either of us would lie. We see each other."

The cousins are also adept at making each other laugh, especially if Perusich pulls out her "cotton-eye Joe dance" moves.

"Her doing 'Cotton-eyed Joe' out of nowhere, I defy anyone not to laugh," says McCarthy. "It's just so weird. And she kind of does a club version of it."

"I drop it low," says Perusich. "I drop it very low."

"She hurt her hips doing it," adds McCarthy. "And then my kids [Vivian and Georgette] come in, and they're like, 'This should not be happening!'"

The Great Giveback premieres June 13 at 9pm ET/PT on both HGTV and discovery+.