January 28, 2005 02:15 AM by Joe Blackmon
Shawn D. Nelson, the winner of The Rebel Billionaire was recently kind enough to take a couple minutes away from his job as President of Virgin Worldwide to give us an update on life since The Rebel Billionaire.
Reality TV Magazine – How has your life changed since winning the Rebel Billionaire?
Shawn – Winning the Rebel Billionaire has undoubtedly changed my life forever. Regardless of the show’s popularity next to other reality TV shows, one of the coolest things about it is that this show actually IS reality. Right now I am in a hotel room in New York City, working with, learning from, and contributing to some of the Virgin businesses here in the US. Last week I was in London meeting with Richard Branson and his top team. This group of Virgin companies produce billions (yes, double digits in revenues each year–and I now have a part in that!
Reality TV Magazine – What do you plan to do with the million dollars?
Shawn – Of course, I am still CEO of my own company, LoveSac, which is doubling in size each year, and is well past the $10 million dollar mark itself. I am investing every penny of my million dollar prize money into LoveSac to fuel growth and stability in a company which has never had any real financial support and has still grown despite itself. There have been many along the way who have given years of their lives to push the great LoveSac cause along–at times foregoing paychecks or just taking small salaries to help it along. I owe it to them now to make their lives more comfortable.
Reality TV Magazine – Are there any unusual moments or regrets that you would like to share from the show?
Shawn – The only thing that I am disappointed in regarding the show is this: I feel that in an effort to make the ending suspenseful, the producers really had to downplay any strengths or good points in me to keep the audience guessing, while showing all of my weak points and such. In reality, the way it happened naturally was plenty suspenseful, as Sara was a capable competitor and even likely winner. Unfortunately, for the viewing audience, they were subjected to what may seem like an almost unfounded decision by Richard in choosing me. Of course, this is me talking, but it is not that they showed my rough edges that disappoints me–more that they really left a lot of the great things that I said and did on the show out. I think it could have been presented better. At the end of the day, having won a million bucks and given the opportunity to travel the world with Virgin, who am I to complain!?