About Shannon Nering, The Reality Show Expert
Who is this lady with so much creativity and energy? Shannon’s a much-in-demand docu-reality producer and director, whose savant-like understanding of the genre, combined with her ability to create intimate bonds with her subjects, pays off in riveting television… and now riveting novels like Reality Jane.
Recent producer and director credits include Real Housewives of Vancouver for Slice/Bravo, Peak Season for MTV and the CBC ratings winner The Week the Women Went. She cut her reality chops in Los Angeles, producing on numerous shows from Bachelorettes in Alaska to Blow Out to The Dr. Phil Show. Shannon began her broadcasting career as an on-air host and reporter for the CBC. She currently lives in Vancouver, BC with her D.P. husband and two young sons.
Tiffany Auvinen of DoctorsWivesLiving.com asks Shannon what it’s really like working in this highly entertaining in-demand television industry.
DWL: How did you decide to work in television?
Shannon: I used to want to be in politics, back when I naively thought justice/intelligence/reason were the hallmarks of “good government” — it took one short summer as a government intern to realize I probably wasn’t cut out for a life of censoring myself to charm whomever was in front of me. So, I turned to journalism. TV seemed the most exciting vehicle, but print has always interested me too.
DWL: Who is your role-model?
Shannon: My family because they’re hard working, smart, kind, honest, and a little funky. They’re not perfect by any stretch but they represent the values important to me and values that make for a rich and meaningful life. I’ve never really looked to celebrity role models as it’s hard to know who they truly are, i.e./ when they’re not being “celebrities”. But, in another vein, someone of note who symbolizes the good fight, Percy Schmeiser: famous for his battle against genetically modified crops and standing up to one of the greatest corporate villains of our time, Monsanto. What better role model for all of us: people who stand for causes that impact the greater good, and actually do something about it — people with backbone.
DWL: What does girl power mean to you?
Shannon: Stand for something or fall for nothing. It means getting behind what you care about and finding a cause. It means thinking beyond your own needs and your own shapoopy, separating the trivial from the truly meaningful, and doing something about it. The girl power movement is a wonderful thing, but I also believe in boy power (they too need our help), animal power, woman power and man power. I don’t believe in greedy a-hole power or the current (and strengthening) class divide. Knowledge is power, take little (nothing?) at face-value and learn the facts for yourself, take responsibility for your own actions and choices — that is power, whether you’re a girl or a boy.
DWL: If you had to date one of the bachelors from the show, who would it be and why? Of course you’re married and this is just for fun!
Shannon: Men who are reality TV talent don’t typically interest me, never were my thang, not really into show-boats. And I don’t know past Bachelors well enough to pick them over in any meaningful way. That said, there is one couple who stands out from the mix as pretty authentic and that’s Trista and Ryan. So in some parallel universe, maybe him, plus he’s cute.
DWL: What do you love about being a mother?
Shannon: This changes. Right now, I’m loving seeing their personalities take shape,including their intensity and passions. I love their purity and honesty. I love their playfulness — though it also drives me nuts sometimes. I love that they have nothing to worry about right now, and that my husband and I have created that safe space for them (I often wish I could transport myself there more often). I love the way they express their love and that they’re able to give it back so freely — though sometimes they give other stuff back, frustration, anger and that crap, and this is okay because it reminds me to be a better person for them, for my husband and for me. I love that I have them and my life would seem empty without these precious little beings.
DWL: What makes you happy?
Shannon: I’m going to say what most mothers say…”My family” because it’s true. Once you have children, they become your source. It’s also because 99% of what you do is for them and it happens very organically. On a more surfacey level, fitting in a daily work out makes me happy (swim, yoga, run, hike, ride), vacations make me really happy, date-night with my husband makes me happy, bike rides with the kids make me happy, facials make me happy, baking makes me happy, laughing at the scaredy squirrel in our pine tree makes me happy, hanging with cool women makes me happy, writing and the list goes on…
DWL: If you went back 15 years ago, what would you have told a younger Shannon?
Shannon: 1) Don’t worry about what other people think. It sooooooo doesn’t matter.
2) Be really good to your body — it’s your temple (I’m paying for my sweet-tooth at the dentist right now!)
DWL: Any advice for women who want to work in the entertainment industry?
Shannon: Think ahead as to how you will transition into motherhood. The entertainment industry has notoriously un-family friendly hours and expectations. I’m sure there are ways around the ‘all or nothing’ work schedule, but I have yet to master them.
Shannon’s funny moment:
It’s the little things that kids do that make my husband and I giggle to each other, sometimes with them, sometimes at them. They’re never as special, or funny, when shared second-hand, but every parent knows what I’m talking about…
Plus I love that my four-year-old wants to be a volcano when he grows up!
DWL: Where is your favourite place in the world?
Shannon: Moab, Glacier/Waterton National Park, any tropical beach on top of a surfboard (and the flip: any fresh-powder run on a pair of skis/snowboard) and, of course, HOME.
DWL: How can people purchase your book and see your future projects?
Shannon: Go to shannonnering.com or Amazon.com to purchase Reality Jane.
Future projects include The Jewelry Party novel, as well as a guide-book on life lessons for today’s materialistic child.