Going on a Reality TV show brought to light 3 realizations in my life.
#1. Apparently, I’ll do just about anything for my brand, Bare Organic Mixers.
#2. The moments where you take risks, face your fears, and even dare to look stupid are actually the moments that make up the book of your life.
#3. Despite what I’ve been telling myself, I’m actually open to falling in love.
Let’s rewind a bit…
I used to be fascinated with reality TV. I remember the first time I ever watched an episode of a reality TV show. It was one of the first seasons of The Bachelor with Andrew Firestone.
I loved that guy. Much to the dismay of my boyfriend at the time, I was completely enamored with his fantasy dates and his final roses. The entertaining drama was part of the appeal, but even more so, I was intrigued by how the show was actually created.
What did the producers have to do to make this woman lose her s*** on national television? Were the contestants playing out a scene, or were they genuinely surprised when someone started crying in her cocktail? Were the friendships real? Were the conflicts produced? What was scripted? What wasn’t? It was like a psychology assignment in the study of dysfunction.
I loved it.
And after picking up a few more guilty pleasures, namely The Real Housewives and The Millionaire Matchmaker, I was most intrigued by the people who capitalized on their newfound fan base and introduced their own products and services to the audience. I always thought it was a clever business move, and I loved watching how each would present their product in a different way. It seemed like a successful, unique way to generate brand awareness, and I had this gut feeling that eventually, I’d be able to do the same with Bare.
So, a few years later, as the universe is often prone to do, it answered my request, and it gave me the opportunity to get Bare on a TV set. It also came with the condition that I had to be on set too…
The show was The Millionaire Matchmaker, and they chose me because they thought I’d be a possible good match because I lived in the same town and I was in the same industry as that week’s millionaire, a former contestant on The Bachelorette. It seemed they would allow me to bring Bare to the set if I wanted to offer it to the crew, and they said I might get an opportunity to talk about it because I was in the same industry as the millionaire bachelor.
They told me I would be filming in 6 days, and I had 3 days to make a decision. It was a quick call, and I was kind of speechless afterwards. I had spent the last 7 days organizing a business trip across the country in Florida where I would finally meet the decision makers for two of the largest restaurant chains in the country, and they were scheduled for just a day after filming.
On top of the logistical business concerns, my ego was completely clouding my decision-making skills. I wasn’t prepared to go on national television. I certainly wasn’t prepared to go on TV framed as a “30 year old single business woman looking for love.” I was inundated with insecurities about how I would look, what people would think, and worries that the whole thing would be a waste of time if I never got to utter the words, “Bare Mixers.”
I spent the next 3 days doing what I usually do best when I have a big decision to make. I called everyone I love and trust to weigh the pros and cons, I stopped eating, I barely slept, and I might have even shed a tear or two. I was scared, nervous, excited, and in a little in awe of the universe and how it simultaneously pulls s*** together and throws me massive curve balls.
My mentor, someone who has coached me in business and in life for 5 years cut me off in the middle of weighing my options and she said, “Natalie. Stop. I just have one question. Have you challenged yourself to do this already? Because if you have, we all know you’re going to do it, so let’s stop pretending you’re trying to make a decision, and let’s start planning what you’re going to wear.”
She was right. When I challenge myself to do something, I have to do it. I have to go on the scary roller coaster, or start the business, or move across the country. It’s how I roll. I don’t know any other way. I also have to torture myself in the so-called decision making process along the way. The only good thing about this particular self-inflicted torture phase was I hadn’t eaten in 3 days, so I was all set to look skinny on camera.
My mentor closed the call with one other point that I’ll never forget. She said, “Natalie, did you ever stop to consider that you might actually like the guy? I know you were initially open to this for the learning experience and the chance to mention Bare, but did you ever actually consider the possibility of finding love?”
I was so wrapped up in the possible negative outcomes that I never stopped to take a moment and consider the fact that something awesome could come out of this experience that had absolutely nothing to do with my business.
I made a promise to myself that I would be open to engaging in what the show was actually intended for. If I was going to participate, I had to be genuine. I had to be open to finding love. This was an interesting revelation for me. I had been out of my last relationship for over a year. It was an awful break up, and while I was partaking in a pretty amazing dating life, my heart was closed off to any real serious prospects. I was having a lot of fun, but I wasn’t open to finding real love at all.
This moment of truth made me realize that I might finally be ready to fall in love again.
So, in the final hour of my allotted window to tell them yes or no, I picked up the phone and said “yes.” I was going to be on a reality tv show, and I was going to take Bare with me.
Early Tuesday morning, I arrived on set with my little black dress on and my Bare Mixers in tow. I discreetly set one of my bottles down in the middle of all of the action, and the producers pretended not to notice. The scenes changed, and we were asked to wait in a line to introduce ourselves to Patti on camera. I carried a bottle with me for about an hour, and when I got to the front of the line, the first thing I said was, “I brought this gift for you. It’s called Bare Mixers.” She seemed confused at first, but once she found out it was my product, she began asking me questions and even referred to me as “The Original Skinny Girl.” She connected that we were both East Coast businesswoman, and it was a great exchange.
I told her how I used to watch her show to distract me from my business stresses many years ago in my living room while I packed boxes of Bare Mixers for delivery. I used to wonder how I could ever get product to her since she often said how much she loved low-calorie cocktails, and there I was talking to her about it now on her dating show.
Life is weird. It was an interesting moment.
The Love Part…
So, while I did challenge myself to go on set with an open mind and heart, there was no actual love connection. That was okay because the realization that came to me was more valuable in this moment.
When we had to introduce ourselves, Patti asked me to tell the millionaire about myself.
I didn’t really have a ton of time to overthink it, so I just simply said , “I’ve been working like a crazy person for 7 years, and I’m finally ready to find someone who makes me want to put my computer down. I’m open to finding love. Does that sound too forward?” I heard a few people laugh at my candid answer laced with a little self-deprecation, something I tend to do fairly well. Patti moved onto the next girl.
Despite what people think about reality tv, I was actually being completely real and genuine here.
There’s something about saying a bold statement like that out loud. I had spoken my truth, and I felt good about it. If nothing else came of this crazy experience, that realization alone was worth the trip.
A Few Months Later…
So, we finished filming, and I left the set proud of myself and bare for at least showing up, and I left the rest of the outcome up to the universe.
Then a few months later, just 3 weeks before the show was set to air, I received the below e-mail. It appears that facing my fear of the unknown and taking a risk for the brand was in fact worth the effort.
“My name is XXX, and I work on The Millionaire Matchmaker. In the episode you appear in, you mention and gift your cocktail mixer to Patti. The producers have used that clip in the show and we were wondering if you would sign that attached material release that gives us permission to show the bottle you gave Patti. They would like to leave it in the show, but in order to do so, we would need this signed!”
The original reason I went on the show, and the exact scene that I hoped would air didn’t get left on the cutting room floor. What that means for the brand is anyone’s guess. It could be awesome. It could translate into nothing.
The one thing I do know for sure is that I am one lucky go-bare girl…
Life’s Little Conclusions:
Being on a reality tv show, whether its for 2 minutes or a whole season is just about one of the ballsiest (yes, I made up that word) things you can do in 2015 if you care at all about what people think of you as a person and as a businesswoman. You have little control over what happens on set, and you have zero control over what ends up on TV. You have to accept that it’s a good life story, and you have be comfortable with the fact that it may or may not work out in your favor. The fact that I did this even though I am known (on occasion) to be a bit of a control freak proved to me yet again that I’m willing to do just about anything if it will benefit my brand in a positive way. This was nothing new really. I make the decision to put my personal life on the line for bare over and over again. This time it was just in front of a whole lot more people than usual. Bare is my baby, and like a good mom, I make sacrifices for it… often.
This experience exemplifies most scary, risky opportunities in life. You often have no idea how things will play out, but you commit to doing them anyway, and you hope for the best. And, that’s just what I did.
And in taking that risk, I came to the most valuable realization of them all. My honest, vulnerable, off the cuff answer to Patti’s question brought to light what I’m actually open to finding. I went through an awful break awhile ago, and as a result, I spent the last year and a half going on dates with incredible men, many of whom were ready and willing to the possibilities of a relationship. But, I was completely disinterested in taking anything to the next level. The men were not the issue. I was. This true statement that I revealed on set in front of all those people made me see that I’m no longer in that place.
I mean if telling 2 million people on a reality show that you’re open to finding love doesn’t spread that word, I don’t know what will. Turns out I am the “30 year old single girl open to finding love,” and I’m actually just fine with that.