Ask the Locals: Rhonda Shear, lingerie mogul

click to enlarge Ask the Locals: Rhonda Shear, lingerie mogul - PHOTO BY HEIDI KURPIELA
Photo by Heidi Kurpiela
Ask the Locals: Rhonda Shear, lingerie mogul

Rhonda Shear is the CEO of Shear Enterprises, a multi-million-dollar lingerie company that gave rise to underwire’s worst enemy: the Ahh Bra.

Shear, a comedian, actress and former Miss Louisiana, hatched the business 11 years ago out of her Los Angeles apartment with her high school sweetheart Van Fagan, whom she later married. It began as a pet project for Shear, whose curvy frame and full bust made bra-buying a nightmare. In 2006, she relocated the business and her home to St. Petersburg so she could be closer to HSN.

In 2011, Shear Enterprises raked in a whopping $72 million in revenue. In 2012, Shear was nominated for The American Business Awards’ prestigious Stevie Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year, followed by the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Retail and Consumer Products.

Up until her “Ahh-ha” moment, the 59-year-old New Orleans native was best known as the host of Up All Night, a campy late-night movie marathon that aired from 1989 to 1998 on the USA Network. The program, which featured a scantily clad Shear introducing seedy low-budget flicks, landed the star in two Playboy pictorials.

A Snell Isle resident, Shear is currently helping launch two new lines of loungewear with aspiring celeb-preneurs Kato Kaelin and Crystal Hefner (Hugh’s wife). In April she revived Up All Night for local audiences on WTTA Ch. 38.

Where she goes for comfort food: Skyway Café. “It’s good old-fashioned homemade food. It’s family-owned and everything except the French fries is made from scratch. If you don’t feel well, you must get the hobo soup.”

Where she does a drive-thru: PDQ. “When I’m doing a salad on the run it’s my guilty pleasure. It doesn’t taste as manufactured as McDonald’s. It tastes like real food to me.”

Where she gets her deli fix: Lonni’s Sandwiches. “Their tuna and chicken salad is off the charts. I get a double scoop.”


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