During his time on ‘Average Joe: Hawaii’, Sean described himself several times as a “fat guy”. Well that’s not the case any longer! After wrapping up the show, Sean returned home and immediately set out to lose the weight and get healthy. He’s lost 70 pounds so far and his pant size has dropped from a 54” to a 40” waist. He hasn’t lost his sense of humour though!
[b]Were you approached to be on the show, or had you applied to be on an NBC reality show?[/b]
I was approached. I was bartending in the restaurant one night, and it was pretty slow. These people came in and we chatted quite a bit. They told me I’d be perfect for a new show that they were casting. Next thing I knew I was on a plane to Hollywood! I wasn’t told what the show was about, but they said it would be on an exotic island. They said “Hey, we’re NBC – you’ll be well taken care of, trust us, you’ll have fun, it’ll be completely safe.” So off I went! We had no idea where we were even going until we got on the Air Hawaii plane, and then we had to ask the stewardess where in Hawaii we were headed.
[b]So when did you find out what the show was all about?[/b]
They wouldn’t tell us anything until a couple of days before we met Larissa. They said that we were going to meet a woman who was looking for a man, and that she was looking for someone with a terrific personality.
[b]Were you insulted at all being labelled an “Average Joe”?[/b]
They never told us the title of the show. We were just a group of average guys with great personalities. No, I wasn’t offended, you know, I got a great vacation out of it and I think my personality stands for itself.
There are “average” guys everywhere, but for most of them there’s someone at home who thinks they’re the greatest. You can call everyone “average”, but no one really is.
[b]Are you watching the show on television?[/b]
Yes, I sure am. I’m on a morning show here in town where I give my opinions of each episode. There’s some crazy stuff going on there now!
[b]I’ll bet you’re almost glad you left when you did![/b]
Oh yeah – that exploding boat and everything! And the “mom” episode coming up – I tell ya, if I didn’t realize that was Larissa dressed up as her mom, I’d deserve anything I had coming to me for what I said about her afterwards!
[b]Have you been surprised by any of the private comments or any of the dates that you weren’t involved in?[/b]
No, not really. I was pretty well-prepared mentally for it. I’m still kicking myself for not kissing Larissa in the hot tub though! Like I said on the show, I think I’m the first guy in the history of reality tv to not take advantage of a kiss in the hot tub!
[b]When the “hunks” arrived, you were the only one who realized that the Joes would be the ones that the viewers would identify with. Have you found this to be the case since the show has been airing?[/b]
Yes, definitely. I find myself having to defend the studs constantly. People ask me all the time “Were those guys really a**holes like they seem to be?” They weren’t all like that. Jim and Gil were really cool people. It was just the two that got booted last week – Todd and Michael Klein – that were jerks. America identifies with us, because we’re the regular guys that you meet everywhere you go.
[b]Do you think the “Hunks” were asked to act like ego-maniacs, or was that really their personality?[/b]
Well I’m sure that when NBC recruited them, they told the guys what they were looking for. They were likely told that the show needed these studs to come in and shake things up, so that’s what they did.
[b]So after returning home from the taping, did you start on your weight-loss program immediately?[/b]
Yes I did. I fasted for a week to shrink my stomach first. And I started exercising, running 3 miles a day and working out with a trainer every other day. I had such a head of steam after doing the show, and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I had to get rid of those man-boobs!
[b]You were concerned with how you’d look on television?[/b]
Definitely. I had filled up my embarrassment meter, and it got to the point where I didn’t really care what I was saying. The jokes and stuff like that – it just became a self-defence mechanism for me. The jokes were good and bad for me. Good because I’m a funny guy and I like to make people laugh. But bad because I was trying to mask my lack of self-confidence.
[b]You defined yourself on the show as a “Fat guy”. How do you define yourself now?[/b]
I’m a work in progress. A work in progress who’s just really funny! My sense of humour has improved since losing the weight. I’m not making fun of myself now. I don’t want to use the self-depricating humour, I have to find other things that are funny now. My personality hasn’t changed a bit though!
[b]When I was watching you on the show, I thought that NBC would have another show featuring you losing weight as a result of being with Larissa – kind of following you on your journey. It was obvious that you wanted to change your appearance, and also obvious that you’d be successful. Would you want to do another reality show in the future?[/b]
Absolutely! I would love to do that kind of thing again. Either as the centre of the dating pool, or coming in as a spoiler – either way, I’d do it again for sure.
[b]Has being a chef helped or hindered you in trying to lose weight?[/b]
Both! I’m currently writing a cookbook that will feature recipes that I’m using myelf, so that will be good. And I’ve studied nutrition so I know how to prepare things that are healthy for me to eat. On the other hand, it’s hard preparing things for the restaurant that I know I can’t eat. Like right now I’m working on the Valentine’s menu, and I know that I can’t have this stuff. And there’s a cheesesteak place right next door to the restaurant! Everywhere I turn there’s something I wanna eat, but it’s not good for me.
[b]It’s just not worth eating it now though, is it?[/b]
No. You know, people keep telling me that I look like that guy on that show, and I have to pull my drivers’ license out to prove to them that I’m the same guy, just smaller. I think I’m the luckiest guy ever on reality television, even though I didn’t “win the girl”. I turned it into a chance for me to get healthy, and it’s working. And I have fans! That blew me away. I was already the luckiest guy in the world because I have the greatest family and friends, but now I’m even luckier.
[b]I read that you’re going to be opening up your own restaurant. Can you tell me a bit about that?[/b]
It’s still in the planning stages right now. I’m gathering investors and scouting out a location. I’m hoping to have things running in 6-8 months. I want to do fondue, sushi – communal type dining. I want to walk out into the restaurant and see families and friends sitting together, eating together, and enjoying each others’ company.
[b]Do you know who “wins” on ‘Average Joe’?[/b]
No, I don’t! I’ve been very careful not to find out! If I don’t know, then I can’t spill the beans when people ask me. It’s hard though, at the parties and stuff people are all talking and I’m saying “No, don’t tell me! I don’t want to know!”
[b]Do you have any hunches on who might win?[/b]
I am 100% positive that it’ll be a Joe. You can’t have the studs winning twice in a row! Seriously, I don’t think NBC rigged it or anything, but there’s a real connection between Larissa and a couple of those guys. I really think it’s going to be a Joe.
[b]What did you think of the location?[/b]
Oh, Hawaii is gorgeous! I loved it there. I’m going back in September with BeachBody.com and I can’t wait! Gotta lose a bit more weight and work out so I have a six-pack by then! I’d recommend a 5-week vacation in Hawaii to anyone. I’m looking forward to going back without the cameras next time though.
[b]How much fan mail have you been getting?[/b]
Thousands of e-mails! My mailbox has been full almost every day. I’ve read almost all of them now. I sure didn’t expect to get them before I lost weight, but there they were! People were telling me not to be discouraged, and that everyone is beautiful in their own way. It’s amazing – I’ve received over 3,000 e-mails, and not one of them has been negative. Which goes back to what I said earlier about being the luckiest guy on reality television!
I have a generic response set up now – I hate doing that, but reading and responding to each person just takes more time than I have right now.
[b]Okay Sean, is there anything else you want to say to your fans? Anything about yourself that you want people to know?[/b]
I am a lot more energetic and funny than I came off on the show! Really, I’ve been in emergency rooms where it turns into a stand-up comedy routine. I just love to make people laugh. I’m better at the story-telling comedy, rather than the sarcasm and the one-liners, but I love it. Making people laugh makes me happy.
[b]Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, Sean! I’ve really enjoyed talking with you.[/b]
Thanks Carrie, it’s been a pleasure!