Actress Comedian Author Rhonda Shear on Publishing: 'It's a long journey, not a race to the finish'

Actress. Comedian. Award-winning entrepreneur. Builder of a $100 million apparel brand. Television star. Former Miss Louisiana. Candidate for elected office. Philanthropist. And now, author. There aren’t many hats that Rhonda Shear hasn’t tried on, and she’s worn them all with style, moxie, southern charm, and a persistent will to be the best.

A New Orleans native, Rhonda started her journey to the spotlight by dominating local, state, and national beauty pageants from the time she was sixteen—including three turns as Miss Louisiana. In 1976, in the wake of a Playboy modeling scandal that cost her a coveted crown, she became the youngest person ever to run for office in Louisiana, losing her fight for a New Orleans post by only 135 votes.

After that, Hollywood called, and she quickly moved from Bob Hope specials to guest appearances on hundreds of television shows, from Happy Days and Married With Children to appearing on classic Chuck Barris camp-fests like The Gong Show and the $1.98 Beauty Show. Rhonda’s big break came in 1991 when she became the sultry-smart hostess of late-night movie show USA: Up All Night, a gig that lasted until 1999 and made her nationally famous.

After Up All Night ended, Rhonda pursued her love of comedy and quickly became a headliner in Las Vegas and at top comedy clubs like The Laugh Factory and the Improv. At the same time, she reconnected with her childhood sweetheart, Van Fagan, who she hadn’t seen in twenty-five years. After a whirlwind, storybook courtship, they married in 2001.

Rhonda’s latest chapter began when she appeared on the Home Shopping Network to sell women’s intimates. Her appearance was a sensation, and she and Van quickly started a company, Shear Enterprises, LLC, to design, manufacture and sell Rhonda’s own line of women’s intimate wear. Today, that company has grown to more than $100 million in annual sales, and Rhonda has won numerous entrepreneurship awards—though she still refers to herself as a “bimbopreneur.”

Today, Rhonda and Van live in a magnificent house in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she engages in many philanthropic projects, supports numerous charities for women, and works on new books.



Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I have written most of my career, mainly as a stand up comic. I had been wanting to write about life experiences for years. Up All Night was written a few years after I won entrepreneurial awards. I felt I needed to share my eclectic journey and life. I wanted to inspire people that you could change careers mid life and become very successful, and find love and marriage after 45!  Not only autobiographical, but the book shares honest tips that I learned along the way. 

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The ideas were all there. But my life and career is full circle. Putting it all in an order that makes sense to the reader was the most difficult task. Also, writing sports would happen, then a few weeks would pass with nothing. I think that is typical when you have a career other than writing. 

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Mascot. I found them with my talented ghost writer Tim Vandehey. 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

It’s a long journey, not a race to the finish. I feel more comfortable that it is done, it is a wonderful vehicle and voice for my brand as well as telling my story. 

Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

Looking forward to writing a book about women’s image of their bodies. I will be taking a serious topic and writing it with honesty and levity. Women are so hard on themselves about what they see in the mirror. We have so much more to offer than our reflection. 

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

I’m not a natural blonde. 

Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

You can take a step backwards to move many steps ahead. 

About the Book:

Author: Rhonda Shear
Publisher: Mascot Books
Pages: 275
Genre: Memoir/Women’s Self-Help


Up All Night combines memoir and self-help to follow Rhonda Shear’s incredible journey from modest New Orleans girl to bold, brassy, beautiful entrepreneur and owner of a $100 million Florida lingerie company.

Along the way, Rhonda has been a beauty queen, a groundbreaking candidate for office, a Playboy model, a working actress, a late-night TV star and sex symbol, a headlining standup comedian, an award-winning “bimbopreneur” and a philanthropist who uses her success to help women of all ages be their best and appreciate their true beauty.

Up All Night is also a love story. Rhonda reconnected with her first love, Van Fagan, after 25 years apart, and after a whirlwind romance in The Big Easy, they married in 2001. Now they share a fantasy life of luxury—but it hasn't come easily. In this book, Rhonda shares the lessons she’s learned along the way: never let anyone else define you or tell you what you can’t do, make your own luck, and do what you love.


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