Reality Shack bannerWhen I first signed onto AOL in 1993, I was stuck for a screenname. I used the only one I could think of, a nickname given to me from a guy I used to work with. Sometimes he’d call me LB, sometimes Belle, sometimes even the full LauraBelle, and oddly enough, occasionally Spartacus, but he never called me just Laura. I didn’t intend to keep that as a screenname, but somehow I adopted LauraBelle as an alter ego. She is much bolder than Laura.

When LauraBelle was first coined, she was a computer typesetter/graphic designer at a printing company. That’s kind of why I held onto LauraBelle, as once I resigned and became a stay-at-home mom, I wasn’t sure who Laura was anymore, but I knew who LauraBelle was. I continued graphic design as a freelancer, but soon it just wasn’t fulfilling enough anymore. It fulfilled me on a creative level, but not on another level, which I wasn’t quite sure what it was.

After a particularly bad year, which included a family tragedy, I wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper. While it went unpublished, it was passed around in emails, and I started hearing again how I had a certain talent there to express myself in writing. I hadn’t heard that in so long. I started work on a book about the family tragedy, but couldn’t figure out exactly where I wanted this story to go. While working on this book, I answered an ad for a writer for a reality TV site, and my whole world changed.

laurabelleI didn’t plan on doing this TV writing long, but the longer I wrote for Reality Shack, the longer it became who I was, or perhaps it was that it opened me up to who I really was. As LauraBelle, I wrote recaps, interviews, and commentaries for American Idol, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, etc. I’m still writing there, years later, as it’s too much of who LauraBelle is. It would be like leaving home.

I didn’t stop there, and began writing more and more, mainly as an entertainment writer. It’s as if all those afternoons after school watching Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, and the 3:30 Movie are finally paying off. Along with my writing at Reality Shack, I’m also writing reviews “with a point of view” at Viewpoints. I’m the editor of the TV side of Film Monthly, and write entertainment commentaries and news at Gather.

Eventually I was asked to take over this blog and Reality Shack as well. I didn’t hesitate to say yes, as again, it’s like home to me. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but it doesn’t feel like a chore, as my predecessor, Carrie Grosvenor, has done a fine job herself as editor-in-chief, creating a place where we could all go and be informed, yet entertained, while reading up on our favorite reality TV shows.

If I’ve made you think, feel, or laugh today, drop me a line at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.