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Why I Turned Down a Spot on a Reality TV Show

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology

Reality Last week I was contacted by a casting director for a major network to appear on a reality TV show.

The show has been a big hit in the UK and now they're bringing it to the US. Across the pond, it's called Secret Millionaire, in the US I believe the show will have a different name.

The premise of the show is the camera crews follow around a millionaire - someone with a big house, a fancy car and who is generally out of touch with 'the town's people'. For a period of time, they strip this person of their worldly attachments, give them a modest home and a work-a-day job.  Through this whole process, the millionaire has some sort of epiphany and writes the people at the work-a-day job a check for a large sum of money.

Seems like a great story, right? I gotta be stupid to turn that one down, eh?

It just really didn't resonate with me, personally. Doesn't mean it's not a good show...it just didn't work for ME. Here's why:

1. We all know that I am intensely private about my personal life. Cameras in my house just would NEVER work. I don't tell *anyone* where I live and if it means that I'm not on a reality show, then so be it. My long-term safety is worth more than 15-minutes of fame.

2. The elitist air of the show bothered me. My parents did not rear me in this manner. I have always worked and a solid work ethic is a source of pride in my family. My parents don't have to work, but they get up everyday - except Mondays- and open our family restaurant without fail. I'm not stranger to hard work OR to giving of my time...not just my money. So, being on this show would, in effect, give the appearance of someone I'm not.

3. I don't live in a fancy house. I split my time between North and South nowadays and that works for me just fine.  So, if they're thinking that I live in a palace with servants and a private driver, they need to understand that I still fly coach.

4. I think there's enough emphasis on capitalism as is. We live in a consumer-driven society. I don't want to do my part in making it worse by glamourizing a high-end lifestyle that taxes the environment. I drive a Saturn and I'm proud of it.

5. They do some ridiculous background check. Thanks to the dude from The Bachelor, who pretended to be someone he wasn't...and to the woman who lied about her husband dying in Iraq to win Hannah Montana tix for her daughter, they have to do some in-depth background check. The idea that some of the same people who would chase Brittany Spears around would have access to my financial records scares me.

I was honest straight away with the casting director. I wasn't feeling it. I told her that if they wanted to do a show on someone who is successful, but honors the environment and her dreams (by living some time in the North and some in the South), then I would be more than willing to partcipate - provided the cameras didn't come to my home.

Of course, this would do absolutely zippo for the ratings and doesn't make me a good candidate for the show - so I bowed out gracefully. I can say that several years ago, I would have sold my soul to be on this show. It's nice to see my personal growth. The true measure of a person's character is what they do when they think no one is looking.

This would have been a great way to showcase my business. Who knows where it could have led? But, ultimately, I have to be true to myself. Scarcity thinking makes us think, "AuthenticI'll never get this opportunity again. This is once in a lifetime." I had to step away from that mindset to tap into how I truly felt about being on the show and what my participation would say about me and my personal character.

Authenticity - it's the best marketing there is.


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Lena West

Thanks for the support, Yvonne.

I got a lot of 'flack' about not going on this show.

And, even though I know I made a sound decision, I'm human and it feels good to be validated.


Yvonne DiVita

Amen, Lena. You are real enough to me. It's dang hard to be authentic in a world that rewards dishonesty - until it bites them in the rear.

Keep the focus - YOU have the right attitude. One knows, right away, where you stand, and where she stands with you. If only more of us were as strong and forthright. If only...

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