Local CEO is TV flashback star - FOX 13 News

Local CEO is TV flashback star

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Late night channel surfers can experience flashbacks when exposed to a certain star of TV home shopping and infomercials.

Rhonda Shear sells millions of bras and panties to consumers worldwide, but if you had basic cable during the early 1990's, you may also know her as the host of USA's "Up All Night."

People still remember the show.

"Usually it's guys and gals in their 40's," says Shear. "They kind of grew up with it. It was fun and irreverent."

Shear often dressed in sexy lingerie for skits during breaks in USA's late movies.

Ditzy Blonde?

How does a ditzy blonde become the president of her own multi-million dollar company? Maybe because she was never really a ditzy blonde. She just played the role on shows like Happy Days, CHIPs, and Bob Hope specials.

In the 80's, she walked away from a chance to attend law school to follow her dreams. Her fortunes followed a controversy when she appeared fully clothed in Playboy magazine -- a local beauty pageant in Louisiana stripped her of her title.

"I was fully clothed!" she said. "I got mad and brought them to court."

She wasn't reinstated, but she did cultivate a relationship with Playboy that paid off years later.

Funny Centerfold

Shear was doing stand-up comedy when she made the call to Playboy. "It was my idea in '91. I said, 'OK, I'll take some clothes off now because I want to make noise, I'm a comic, and I'm headlining, and you can be pretty and still get laughs.' She appeared in Playboy twice in the 90's.

But as time passed, she had a realization.

"I just didn't want to be that 40-something knocking on doors and saying, 'I really look good for my age.'"

Back To Her Future

After decades, Shear reunited with her childhood sweetheart and married for the first time at age 46. She says she always like design and began her own line of lingerie.

She appeared for the first time on Home Shopping Network and sold her entire inventory. They pulled back and set up a manufacturing operation.

Earlier this month, Shear received Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the retail and consumer products category in Florida.

More than two decades after she achieved fame on TV and in Playboy, Shear is now the most famous purveyor of ladies' unmentionables in the world.

You can visit her website at www.rhondashear.com.

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