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Rhonda Shear Returns to Comedy
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What do you get when you mix pageantry, celebrity, comedy, and an entrepreneurial knack for women's needs? Downtown St. Pete resident, Rhonda Shear.
Two years ago, Rhonda single handedly created a new category of bras with the Ahh Bra, now the #1 selling bra in the world with over 25 million sold internationally and recognized as HSN's 2012 Product of the Year.
From China to Italy to Canada, "women are women everywhere. They want comfort and they want sex appeal," she told us in a sit down interview at her company's headquarters.
Shear Enterprises, LLC has been running full cylinder since it was founded in 2001 with her then-new husband Van Fagan. But it was the success of the Ahh Bra, which "sold numbers that no other infomercial had ever seen before" that awakened the business world to this entrepreneurial diva.
Ernst & Young, Gulf Coast Business Review and Tampa Bay Business Journal all recognized Rhonda as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012.
Clockwise from top left: 1) Waiting room at Shear Enterprises, LLC. 2) Old diner break room. 3) Garment tags of new items. 4) Sun tabloid cover... and no, she never had alien twins.
So how did Rhonda end up in St. Pete?
After holding the title of Miss Louisiana, she took Los Angeles by storm, guest appearing on every major sitcom in the late 80s/early 90's: Married with Children, Full House, and even as the Fonzs' girlfriend on Happy Days. Plus, she hosted 400 episodes of the popular weekend show Up All Night.
Rhonda successfully transitioned from television to stand-up comedy and headlined as a comedienne with her popular "Comedy PJ Party," an on stage slumber party with comedic talents. During this time, she dabbled in clothing retail but it was a job opening at HSN that brought her to the Sunshine City.
Her first product sold out the first time it hit the screen. The couple found themselves commuting back and forth from LA more often. They made friends and loved the city so much that they bought a place in 2006 to permenantly "make a fresh start" in St. Pete.
"I look at Naples and Sarasota and those cities and they're all so sleepy! I look at St. Pete and there's a lot of youth and there's a lot of stuff going on downtown. The 600 Block reminds me of an early Melrose Avenue," she said.
So now, with 2,500 items being sold to 34 countries as well as a new product line, reality show and book in the works, the certified businesswoman is making a full circle with a resurrection of her Comedy PJ Party at the Mahaffey Theater on Saturday, her first headlining performance in five years.
A few old comic friends join Rhonda for a night of laughs and comfy pajamas. In a nod to the community, she's bringing in 20 local vendors for a boutique party. Neimann Marcus will give mini makeovers. Don Cesar will give chair massages. The smells of Kilwin's Chocolates, Redman Steele flowers and Parkshore Grill/400 Beach will fill The Mahaffey. Prizes will be awarded for Best PJs, a diamond ring is being raffled off to a lucky winner, and they'll even live auction a few items during the set.
Proceeds go to the Mahaffey Foundation, so if you're looking for something fun to do this weekend after the indulgence of Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day, slip on your pajamas and hang out with Rhonda as she gives back to the community that she loves and now calls home.
Rhonda Shear's Comedy PJ Party is up all night this Saturday, February 16th at 7:00pm. The boutique party will take place in the lobby and the comedy show starts at 8:30. Purchase tickets here. The official after party is at Push Ultra Lounge.
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