Communications alumna and former host of 'USA Up All Night' honored for entrepreneurship
Loyola press release - July 16, 2012
Loyola University New Orleans communications alumna Rhonda Shear ’77, has been Miss Louisiana, Queen of Endymion, host of “USA Up All Night” and a television actress. Now she’s achieved accolades from her peers as a successful businesswoman.
As president of Shear Enterprises, LLC, producer of a successful, popular line of intimate and other apparel called Rhonda Shear Intimates, Shear was recently named a recipient of the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Florida. This program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June, and leads up to the national awards gala in November. Earlier this year, she was also selected by Enterprising Women magazine as a 2012 Enterprising Woman of the Year for amassing more than $25 million in annual sales revenues.
After graduating from Loyola, Shear went to Los Angeles where she became host of the USA Network's weekend show, “USA Up All Night,” from 1991-1998. She co-starred in sitcoms such as “Happy Days” and “Married with Children,” then went on to become a successful comedienne, performing stand-up comedy in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City.
“My education at Loyola gave me the ability to continue to learn and to continue to grow. Even though I didn’t become a news broadcaster, I continue to use everything I learned there,” Shear said.
Reconnecting with her junior high school sweetheart, Van Fagan, 26 years after leaving New Orleans, led to her latest successful enterprise. “We wanted to go into business together, to do something so we could spend time together, and he wanted me to do something that I really liked. So he supported me in my choice of intimate apparel,” Shear said.
That was 11 years ago and now the business is flourishing. The label’s Ahh Bra is the No. 1 selling bra in the world right now, with more than 25 million sold. The Shear product line has expanded to include sleepwear, shapewear and outerwear, and is sold on shopping networks in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Italy. “We’ve become an international brand, which is really exciting. Our infomercial is seen in 34 countries,” Shear said.
In addition to Shear's recent honors, she has also recently signed with an agency to produce a television reality show, multiple books, a comedy tour and seminars.
For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 861-5888.