September Reality TV feature
What Ever Happened To . . .?
Deck: Ever wondered what happened to your favorite local
reality TV star? We tracked down some Orlando stars to see
what happened after the cameras stopped rolling.
By Katherine Johnson
Come on down! You‟re the next contestant on the game show
called reality TV!
Ever wondered if you could do it? Come on . . . it looks
[i] so [r] easy, right? What‟s easier than screaming,
eating bugs or romancing your next amoré in front of
millions of viewers? It‟s not for the faint of heart--in
fact, if you don‟t have a thick skin, leave your
application at home.
In the world of reality TV, it‟s all about the drama and
the excitement of rooting on your favorite contestant to
victory. Here in Orlando, we have more than our fair share
of TV hopefuls. In fact, Orlando has become one of the top
cities for TV casting agents to find new cast members for
their next big hit.
Even if you‟ve never watched a reality TV show (and we know
you‟re lying!), you‟ll probably recognize some of these
local celebrities. We wanted to find out if they were able
to use return to the “real world” after the cameras stopped
Don‟t Get Mad, Get Even
Rebecca Bredholt is a force to be reckoned with. This 31-
year-old attractive brunette has a mean left hook shot in
kickboxing and did I mention she loves drama?
Bredholt grew up in Orlando and attended Keith Elementary
and Lyman High School before graduating from Oviedo High
(class of ‟94). After graduating from Point Loma Nazarene
University in sunny SoCal, she returned to O-town to work
for several media companies.
This summer, Bredholt starred in the debut of ABC‟s [i] The
Ex-Wives Club. [r] Starring famous ex-wives and lovers,
Angie Everhart, Marla Maples and Shar Jackson (think Kevin
Federline), the show helped other divorced people cope with
the painful breakup. But during one of life‟s most
emotional hurdles, how could someone share their pain with
millions of viewers? Bredholt says she left her seven-year
marriage in 2006 because of an abusive relationship. For
her, it was an opportunity to let other women know what she
went through and hopefully serve as a lesson to others.
“I just wanted to hear from one woman out there who was
like my husband treated me that way, and I didn‟t know how
to handle it, or my boyfriend did that and I didn‟t know
what to do and I felt weak. I think if I would have been
inspired by someone else‟s story then it would have given
me strength. So I what I wanted to do was to provide
strength for other women out there who were going through
what I went through,” says Bredholt.
The show gives contestants a chance to go after their
life‟s dream and undergo a makeover--both emotionally and
physically. Contestants surrendered to life coach Debbie
Ford for two days, where Ford focused on letting them
release their anger and sadness. Bredholt underwent a
makeover that included eyelash extensions and a fabulous
new, chic hairstyle and color and a shopping excursion on
Rodeo Drive. She also got a chance to rebuild her
confidence by going out on her first date since the
But the most memorable moment in the show came when
Bredholt got a chance to get “even” with her ex. Bredholt
says she played second fiddle to her ex-husband‟s prized
car collection during their stormy marriage. The ladies of
[i] The Ex-Wives Club [r] had a surprise for Bredholt.
She was blindfolded and flew on a private jet to meet
Maples, Everhart and Jackson in the Arizona desert. That‟s
when Bredholt saw her nemesis face-to-face: a one-of-a-
kind, custom-antique car--the kind her ex-husband loved to
“They bring out the car and took the blindfold off. How
many women out there come in second place to a car or a
motorcycle? Here‟s a chance for me to lead the way. I felt
awesome!” she exclaims.
In typical TV drama fashion, Bredholt got her chance to get
even by tossing the car out of a C-130 plane while flying
at 10,000 feet. Viewers watched as the car tumbled over and
over and the final moments were captured on a mounted
camera inside the car.
After taping the show for six weeks, Bredholt returned to
Orlando with her self-esteem reinvigorated and her
“I had a conversation with Angie Everhart . . .[and she
asked] „What would do you with your life if you could do
anything?‟ I think if Angie had not asked me that question,
I think it would have taken me months to do what I actually
did. Angie challenged me to think is if there was no stone.
I always wanted to be a writer,” says Bredholt.
Now armed with a new laptop given to her on the show,
Bredholt set into motion some dramatic steps to reach her
“I came back and gave my two weeks notice [at her job] and
decided to write a novel because that‟s what I always
wanted to do. I took the money that ABC gave me, quit my
job and moved in with my parents. I had enough money to
live off of for two months,” Bredholt explains.
When Bredholt announced her plans to family and friends,
not everyone was convinced that this new local celebrity
was pursing her writing goal for altruistic reasons.
“Everybody was like she‟s been star-struck and fallen off
her rocker. Everybody--except for my mom. My mom was the
only person who was absolutely thrilled because she was
like, „You should have done this when you were 14 years
old. I‟m so glad to hear that you‟re finally going to do
it. I‟ve known you were a writer since you were four.‟
Everybody else was like „Are you nuts?‟ I had just gotten a
raise and promotion. I was poised to become a local
celebrity. I had a great apartment. I had great friends. My
career was aspiring. Everything in my life was reaching in
a pinnacle,” Bredholt says.
After writing every day for two months, she ended up with a
rough draft of her novel. Now it was time to put phase two
of her plan into action. She and a friend drove 2,700 miles
across the country and settled into an apartment in Los
Angeles. Using a contact she made on the show, Bredholt
started peddling her manuscript. She also wrote a
screenplay for the San Diego 48-Hour Film Festival called
“The woman who was my hairdresser on the show worked at a
salon in Los Angeles. I told her my book was done and had a
fellow colleague whose client was an agent looking for new
novelists,” explains Bredholt.
After living several months in Los Angeles, Bredholt
decided to move back to the East Coast. On the eve of her
move, she mailed her manuscript to the agent. The next
month, she had a signed contract. Tentatively titled [i]
What Doesn‟t Kill You, [r] Bredholt‟s novel is scheduled to
come out in 2008. The fictional story is told through three
different characters‟ perspectives--a husband, a wife, and
the wife‟s sister--and tells how one woman found her way
out of an abusive marriage to an international criminal.
Her contacts formed during the San Diego Film Festival also
rekindled. This summer, Bredholt‟s screenplay for “Wing
Woman” was turned into a full-length feature film. She flew
out to San Diego to view the casting for the four, one-
minute episodes that went online in August. She also
partnered with Gary Fabiano, a [i] Newsweek [r]
photographer, to co-write a short film based on Fabiano‟s
photojournalism experience in Bosnia for the Vancouver Film
Bredholt says she hasn‟t stopped to look back at her old
life since the show ended.
“[People say] look at how much you‟ve done in a year and a
half . . . if you stop moving you‟ll die,” she says,
After The Rose
Lorenzo Borghese may carry the title of prince, but his
life is anything but fairy tales. The Borghese name has
been around for thousands of years and Lorenzo is
considered Italian nobility. His family‟s name can be found
throughout buildings in Italy, including the famed Villa
Borghese, the largest park in Rome. The Borghese family is
well-renowned entrepreneurs: Lorenzo‟s grandmother,
Marcella, created her own cosmetics called the Princess
Marcella Borghese Cosmetics, which later became part of
Revlon. Lorenzo, along with his father, run GT Partners, a
private label Italian cosmetics company, whose products are
carried in major department stores. And the former Rollins
College graduate (class of ‟95) also founded his own line
of luxury bath and grooming products for pets called Royal
With two successful businesses and a legacy, what is the
one thing left to do? Find a wife.
Borghese appeared as the ninth bachelor on ABC‟s [i] The
Bachelor: Rome [r] that aired last fall. The show featured
Borghese and 25 women vying for his affections. In the
finale, Borghese made his choice and presented the winning
bachelorette with a family ring his mother had created
during the show. Borghese told his intended Jennifer
Wilson, a South Florida schoolteacher, that he wanted to
spend time with her in the real world to get to know each
other better. Unfortunately, fans later found out that this
TV marriage would not end happily ever after.
While he didn‟t want to talk about specific moments from
the show, Borghese did say, “I thought the show was a great
experience and I met great people. People always ask me if
I‟m glad I did the show. Absolutely.”
Since the show ended, Borghese has been hard at work with
his pet product line and cosmetics companies. He‟s also
started a new networking site for pet lovers called
In January, he returned to Orlando and spoke at his alma
mater. Borghese reflected how the campus had changed since
his undergrad days. He joked, “It keeps getting nice and
nicer every time I come back and visit . . . I‟m jealous of
the kids there now.”
During his visit, Winter Park Mayor David Strong proclaimed
Tuesday, January 23 as “Lorenzo Borghese Day.” Borghese
said he felt it was “almost like a weird dream that I was
actually invited to come back and speak to the students.”
He talked with the business grads about how he built his
company and the struggles people go through to enjoy the
benefits of success.
“I believe we have a duty and obligation to pass on what we
know to others,” Borghese explains.
He also talked about the glare of the media spotlight.
Borghese says he doesn‟t consider himself a celebrity, but
that didn‟t stop fans from telling him what they thought
about the bachelor and his looks.
“People feel they know everything just by watching the
show. I‟ve gotten letters saying „Well, you made it my
business by going on the show so here‟s my opinion.‟
Truthfully, I feel sorry for these people. If you guys
don‟t like me then you don‟t have to watch. You don‟t have
to talk so negatively about me just by my appearance
without even knowing me,” he says.
Borghese says he‟s writing a book about his experiences
with the media and the feedback from viewers. The theme of
the book centers around the idea that nobody sues a
homeless man because there‟s nothing to gain.
“What I found interesting is how the media reacts to
stardom,” explains Borghese. He points out how the media
dogged Oprah after her $25-million donation to build an
all-girls school in South Africa. Questions surrounded why
the billionaire TV mogul didn‟t spend that money on
disadvantaged students here in the United States.
“It‟s always the crash that makes the highlights,” says
Borghese. “It‟s funny how we‟re trained to watch for it. I
just wanted to share my experience with the media, not
related to the actual show, but just related to the press .
. . to my life in general and the reaction I got from
people when I came back.”
Before [i] The Bachelor, [r] Borghese confessed that he did
read all the gossip magazines and always believed the items
“Maybe I was dumb to think that, but suddenly you are
thrown into the spotlight and they [the media] don‟t want
to write [good stuff]. If I‟m at a charity event, that
doesn‟t sell newspapers. But if I‟m doing something bad at
a charity event, that‟s what‟s interesting.”
The newbie reality star got his share of ink in gossip
magazines this year. For several weeks, he was favorite
item on “Page Six” of the [i] New York Post [r] when he
attended several not-for-profit events.
Borghese says one gossip mag turned his appearance at a
paraplegic event into a new romance with former „80s teen
pop singer Deborah Gibson. Borghese said the supposed
encounter claimed he looked Gibson up and down, ogling her
breasts and told her he wanted to hang out the next time he
was in L.A.
“Instead of focusing on the event and the cause, they have
to spin it. That‟s what sells,” Borghese said.
It‟s that tawdry gossip that Borghese says is one of the
downfalls of the media‟s coverage of any celebrity--reality
TV star or not.
Now living in Manhattan and back at work, Borghese still
has his hands in reality TV. He is pitching two new TV show
concepts to networks, but says these shows are good-hearted
and a positive experience for viewers. One involves pets
and how people treat their furry friends like family. The
other show features families competing to win a trust fund
to send their son/daughter to college.
“It‟s what they do to make sure their child gets a better
life,” Borghese explains. He adds, laughing, “I‟m not
saying they won‟t be embarrassed. They will do crazy games
As for this prince, he says his crazy ride on reality
television was something he “would absolutely do once in my
life. It‟s like college--you wouldn‟t do that again--you‟ve
done it. But it was a very positive experience,” Borghese
Going to the Chapel
First comes love, then comes marriage. And sometimes,
marriage comes around again. For Traci Marini, it‟s all in
a day‟s work.
This full-time wedding planner in Maitland has coordinated
her share of weddings since opening Eventfully Yours in
2003. Marini carefully orchestrates each wedding down to
the final detail, whether she has 35 or 425 guests, indoors
or outdoors, or whether it‟s a first marriage or second.
“Everything falls into place and no one knows about what
happens behind the scenes . . . That‟s what I pride myself
on. I want everybody, no matter who it is--the bride, the
groom, or all the guests--to enjoy themselves that day and
not have to worry about it. There‟s so much passion in what
I do and I truly feel it‟s God‟s calling for me,” explains
Her journey down the aisle to reality TV began in July 2006
when she received an email from TLC. It was a casting call
for a new reality TV show featuring couples getting married
for the second time and who had at least four or more
children. Marini had two candidates that fit the bill and
A few weeks later, Marini found out that one of her
clients, Brenda Ferguson and Jim Dorman, has been chosen
for the pilot episode. But some details of Dorman-Ferguson
wedding had to be changed in order for it to happen in
reality TV land.
“Their wedding was supposed to be November 24 and they
[show producers] asked them to move it up to September 30,”
starts off Marini. “It was supposed to be a very simple
night wedding in November because it would be a little bit
cooler. She [Brenda] just wanted to do desserts because it
was a second wedding. They‟ve got five daughters between
the two of them [the bride had three and the groom had two]
and they were 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18 years old. She was like
I have to think about school and all this stuff for them. I
just want it nice and simple,” says Marini.
With now just weeks to the “new” wedding date, Marini
pulled out all the stops to give her clients the wedding
they always dreamed of--with the addition of a full
television crew consisting of two producers, five camera
operators, a legal aide and two production assistants. The
TLC crew was in Orlando for a week taping non-stop, and
Marini, Dorman, Ferguson and the girls were caught up in
the TV frenzy. But when the big day came, Marini says the
TV crew wanted to “move up” some of the events to capture
them early on tape. That‟s when Marini stepped in.
“I‟m a pretty forceful person. I‟m laid back and fun, but
when it comes to that day I don‟t have room for anything. I
will get ugly if necessary. I felt they wanted to push me a
little bit to see what I was willing to do because it is
TV. But that was their day, and ultimately I don‟t care
what TV was going to do for me. Those were my clients and I
wanted to make sure they got the day they wanted and they
did,” states Marini.
“I wanted it to be a nice wedding. I didn‟t want the drama
that they played out,” she laughs. Marini admits she‟s a
fan of reality TV show and likes to root for the underdog.
“To me that‟s what this story was about,” she explains.
“They both got burned bad in previous relationships, both
had daughters, teenagers at that, found true love again.”
Originally scheduled to air in May, the show‟s air date was
pushed back to late July. But regardless when the show
aired, Marini says the experience did wonders for the
“The funny story is that the girls hated each other,”
Marini explains. “When they were dating, they went through
a lot of counseling to try to get the girls accustomed.
They‟re teenagers and blending families is hard anyway.
When the whole show came about it was therapy. When I saw
Jim and Brenda at the mall two months or so after the
wedding, they said „Even if the show never airs, it was the
best therapy we‟ve ever given our daughters. The kids get
along great!‟” recalls Marini.
This month [September] marks the one-year anniversary for
the “Dorgusons”--a marriage forever made in TV heaven.
Persistence Pays Off
Shawn Killinger was a familiar face to thousands of Central
Floridians. For three years, she worked as the morning
anchor at WKMG-Channel 6. But in 2005, management decided
not to renew her contract and Killiger was ready for a
“I was eager to get up north. The ego--the healthy ego--and
the chip on the shoulder and the ambition and all of that
combined said that I was convinced that my next step was
going to be New York or Chicago. Most of us have that
dream. But unfortunately, New York and Chicago were like
really, you think this is where you are coming because
we‟re not interested whatsoever,” Killinger says laughing.
With no new job offers coming in, her contract ending, and
the uncertainty on whether she wanted to stay in news at
all came to a head for Killinger. So on a dare from her
sister-in-law, Killinger decided to take a leap into
reality TV world.
“My sister-in-law said, „You know what you need for your
career is just become your own publicist, your own PR
agent. You really just need to get some more exposure if
you want to get into lifestyle or entertainment-oriented
[television],‟” recalls Killinger.
So she decided to apply for NBC‟s [i] The Apprentice [r]
with Donald Trump. Killinger says she felt it was one of
the few substance-driven shows on television, and since she
had a business degree it would be a good fit. She sent in
her tape, and a few weeks later got called back for an
interview with producers in Chicago. But what seemed like
an easy task of talking to others on camera suddenly became
an insurmountable task. Killinger says she could feel
herself wearing a newscaster‟s cloak while trying to answer
questions. Needless to say, Killinger was not chosen for
the show. Months later, she had a chance to look at that
audition tape and learned the painful truth on why she
didn‟t get picked.
“Anytime in life you have the ability to see yourself
through the third person I think is a tremendous gift.
While it may be very painful to watch, you get a bird‟s eye
view of you from outside your body that everyone else in
the world sees. It‟s frankly a really good way to see
yourself, and if there are some not so attractive parts
about you that the world sees, you can fix them. When I saw
the audition tape I knew why I didn‟t get it,” she states.
Now without a job and no chance at stardom, Killinger
decided to move back home to Detroit.
But a few weeks later, she got a surprise call from the [i]
Apprentice [r] producers asking her if she‟d be interested
in a new reality TV show featuring business maven Martha
Stewart. Sixteen contestants would compete to win a coveted
spot working for Stewart in her company, Martha Stewart
“I‟ll never forget it was the beginning of something
amazing and big, and I‟ll never also forget thinking that
once again I had it all figured out. I thought for sure
that I knew exactly what this incredible opportunity was
coming my way. It was just such a blessing that it happened
to me, but it‟s also the hardest and one of the most
painful things I‟ve ever done and gone through,” Killinger
Killinger taped the show over an eight-week period in early
2005. Later that fall, the show debuted to millions of
viewers. But Killinger‟s dream of becoming Stewart‟s next
apprentice came to an end in the third episode. In the
boardroom showdown heard around the world, Killinger was
“fired” for telling Stewart that “fake it until you make
it” was an important idea in the business world.
When asked about that moment now, Killinger laughs, saying
that it was “misunderstood by 900 percent of the
population. It just has to do with putting yourself out
there and giving difficult, scary times at a least a good
crack in the butt to see if you can make it work and never
giving up and being persistence and not being afraid to
take chances. That‟s truly all I meant by it. To this day,
I am completely apologetic that anyone misconstrued it.”
Killinger adds there was a lot of insecurity inside of her
during the show and that she was trying to cover up a lot
of self-confidence issues.
The show concluded its debut season in December 2005, but
what happened next is what Killinger calls one of many hard
knocks and lessons she learned. What came out of her 15
minutes of fame was “an $8.50 an hour job at a kitchen
store outside Detroit,” says Killinger unabashedly.
“I‟m not bashful sharing that,” she laughs. “You have to be
really grounded and clear about why you are getting into
reality TV. I think you are tremendously misguided to be
going onto reality TV to get famous. It ain‟t about fame.
It ain‟t about seeing yourself on TV, and if that‟s the
only reason you‟re doing it to be discovered and get a talk
show afterwards that might have worked with Elisabeth
Hasselbeck from [i] Survivor [r] or Amirosa [of [i] The
Apprentice [r] ]because they represent really the founding
generation of reality TV.”
But Killinger says she‟s glad her phone didn‟t ring. She
moved back to Detroit and says compromising her credibility
as a newscaster and journalist by going on a reality TV
show made it harder than ever to find a job in television.
Undeterred, Killinger found persistence paid off in new
ways. She took some savings and moved to Los Angeles for a
month to leverage contacts and meet people. She met a
psychologist who left her practice to form her own TV
production company called Real Time Moms. Killinger was
hired as a freelance host for a pilot called Baby First TV
Craving the bright lights of the big city, Killinger left
the West Coast and headed for Chicago. She landed a
freelance producer job working for Leo Burnett, one of the
biggest advertising agencies in town. Then one day
Killinger came across something that would reignite her
passion for television.
“One day I had stumbled across one of the TV jobs website
and there was an opening for a QVC host. I‟ll never forget
when I was anchoring with Gerald Resnick [former anchor at
WKMG-Channel 6] and something came up about QVC one time.
He said that it would be a really great gig. It‟s
lifestyle-oriented and you do have this . . . and you can
make a very good lucrative living,” she recalls.
Killinger had a friend videotape her selling Tamara Secret
skin care products, which Killinger discovered while living
in Orlando. But there was a problem with the tape and
Killinger had to re-record it. Now she had missed the
application deadline but decided to send in the tape
Twenty-four hours later she got a call back for an audition
in Philadelphia. Afterwards, Killinger recalled thinking,
“I think I got this--I hope I got this--but I think I got
this and I started getting really excited.”
The rest is TV history. Killinger is now one of the new
hosts on QVC working the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, something
that reminds her of days in Orlando years ago. Killinger
says she now just wants things to happen organically now
and remains a very soulful, God-centered person.
“Now nothing would make me happier than to have a job I
love. That I‟m even somewhat good at in television because
it‟s a medium I love, but even most importantly a life--an
extended life with a guy who I‟m crazy about and kids who
fill my soul and health. I‟m in the beginning stages of
this journey!” she exclaims.
Voted Off the Island
When you walk into Dr. Carl Bilancione‟s Winter Park
office, your eyes immediately go to the glass case in his
waiting room. Inside there is a treasure trove of
memorabilia, photographs and special mementos, including
several signed hats and lanyards from his appearances on
CBS‟s [i] Survivor: Africa [r].
When you meet Dr. Bilancione, he doesn‟t seem like your
typical reality TV star. Dr. B‟s infectious personality and
downright honest are what make him a popular dentist with
his clients. But those traits are also what led show
producers to pick him as a contestant for the third season
of the [i] Survivor [r] franchise.
Shot on location at Kenya‟s Shaba National Reserve,
Bilancione and 15 other survivors endured a series of
challenges over two months. Bilancione says the contestants
weren‟t allowed to leave base camp because of crocodiles
and other wildlife. The episodes were shot during the
summer of 2001 and the show was scheduled to debut in that
fall. But when the tragedy of September 11 struck, the
show‟s airdate pushed back a month.
He says he tried out for the show for three reasons: he
wanted to lose weight (“the Survivor Diet works”), he
wanted to photograph Africa and he wanted to win a million
bucks. In a twist of fate, Bilancione says he was already
planning to go to Africa on a photographic safari when he
heard about the tryouts for the show.
With just a few days left before the deadline, Bilancione
quickly shot his audition tape in his office. What he gave
was a tape the producers would never forget.
“I started out walking around my office and said „Hi, I‟m
Dr. Carl Bilancione and why should I be on [i] Survivor
[r]? Dentists have the highest suicide rate and highest
divorce rate of any profession. Obviously, I haven‟t killed
myself cause I‟m talking to you, and I‟ve been happily
married for 23 years so don‟t give me this [i] Survivor [r]
nonsense. I survived the two hardest things thrown at me,”
he says laughing.
He gave a tour of his memorabilia including marathon and
sports photos hanging in his office. Then Bilancione
delivered the ending that guaranteed him a place in TV
“I said you‟re not getting a three-minute video [as
required by producers]; you‟re getting a two-minute video.
If you want higher ratings you‟ll pick me--otherwise fuggit
about it,” he says, laughing heartily.
The producers took one look at the tape and were hooked.
Bilancione flew to Miami for the next round of auditions
where he underwent a battery of personality and
psychological tests. He didn‟t find out he was chosen until
just hours before the plane was scheduled to leave. In
fact, Bilancione says he tried to persuade the producers to
tell him whether he was in contention because he had
patients depending on him.
Bilancione says his sharp wit and quick thinking were an
asset to surviving the mental aspect of the game.
Physically, he weighed 218 pounds when he went on the show
and lost 18 pounds in nine days. Then the bottom fell out
for Dr. B in the third week.
“We were in tribal counsel and I missed a question. That‟s
when I got kicked off. I‟m in a fog. I‟ve been up since 5
a.m. and now it‟s 9 p.m. I had answered the question the
day before,” he admits.
Dr. B says producer Mark Burnett was so upset that
Bilancione was cast off. He says he was told by the show‟s
producers how they would edit his segment. Bilancione says
he learned the tricks of editing and that not everything is
at it seems.
“I wasn‟t gonna lie. I wasn‟t gonna cheat. Today it‟s a
game. America expects that. I couldn‟t do it. My kids were
gonna watch this and I didn‟t want them to see Daddy being
some sleaze bucket on television,” he says. “90 percent [of
the conversations are] filtered, edited and manipulated.”
The pressure was off Bilancione and he had made a deal with
producers during the auditions that would allow him to go
on safari for three weeks in Africa. He explored the
country and shot hundreds of pictures of the spectacular
and magnificent sights.
Once he back home, Bilancione said he received his share of
calls from people wanting to know how to get on the show.
“I tell them all you got to do is be yourself. If you want
to do something outrageous, it‟s got to be part of your
He also received calls from unexpected places.
“The nice thing that happened is that I started to get
asked to go to schools to talk about motivation. When they
read my bio that I grew up poor and I wanted to be a
dentist since I was 14, they would say „How could you do
that?‟ A lot of kids today think if you don‟t come from
money you can‟t do it. I‟d go in and see the worst kids in
the back . . . and I‟d ask them „How many people‟s parents
didn‟t graduate high school?‟ In this day and age, people
graduate but mine didn‟t. I started using that 15 minutes
of celebrity cause I like to talk and motivate to try to
get people excited,” Bilancione says.
Those opportunities eventually led to Dr. B getting his own
sports talk show on WCEU in Daytona Beach. One night a
week, Bilancione would host the live show. He didn‟t get
paid and Bilancione says he only stayed on the job for 20
weeks because of the distance and time involved.
“It was a blast. I loved it. Would I do it again? Now that
my kids are out of the house you never know. I‟m 52 and I‟m
still not done,” he says.
In addition to his full-time dental practice, Dr. B also
finds time to pursue his other passion--photography.
Adorning his office walls are dozens of pictures that he‟s
shot while on African safari or along the sidelines of his
favorite teams like the Yankees or Orlando Magic. It‟s
clear that Bilancione‟s photographic eye captures moments
in life that are priceless.
But he always reflects back on his days on [i] Survivor:
“The opportunity was great. I‟d do it again. If you don‟t
take yourself serious and you enjoy the moment, it‟s always
a positive experience.”
Dan Williams may look like your average every day mere
mortal, but he hides a secret identity. By day, he‟s head
of the multimedia department at the International Academy
of Design and Technology in Orlando. But this summer, he
was transformed into – Parathenon!
Williams was one of 10 über-geeky contestants on the second
season of SciFi‟s [i] Who Wants to be a Superhero? [r] The
reality TV show pitted do-gooders against evil villains and
the winner was forever immortalized in a Stan Lee comic and
as an action figure.
So it begs the question . . . why would Williams want to be
a superhero instead of bachelor, a survivor or endure an
“I am a reality TV show junkie, but I have a passion for
superheroes and comic books. And ever since I was a little
kid, I would dress up like superheroes, and even now for
Halloween I have like five costumes. I like anything with a
cape,” he says.
He‟s not kidding. Williams describes what he calls extreme
themes throughout his house. He‟s redesigned an entire
bedroom dedicated to superheroes. Williams cut out a city
skyline from wood and turned hundreds of plastic-covered
comic books into wallpaper. The closet is packed with
costumes from top to bottom and his collection of comic
books tops nearly 4,000.
So when Williams heard about the tryouts, he came up with a
character and costume. He says he never heard back from
producers and thought his chances were over. It turned out
his tape missed the first deadline and was placed in the
bin for the show‟s second season.
Williams describes Parthenon as an archeologist who derived
his power from a bracelet from the lost city of Atlantis.
“There are two bracelets made by the king of Atlantis for
his sons to fight in war dividing the power of Atlantis
into two bracelets. On a dig Parthenon finds one bracelet,
and my nemesis--the evil guy--Victorious aka Victor Triumph
--finds the other bracelet. He turns evil and I turn good.
Both have some Atlantian gem stones. When you find one of
the stones, you put them into your gauntlet. Whatever
gemstone you press gives you another super power. Whoever
gets the most gemstones can battle the other one and
control the world,” Williams says.
“I wanted Parthenon to be on a quest. It‟s a race to get
all the stones. I wanted him to fight an evil villain
because without a nemesis, your hero is flailing in the
wind so the nemesis grounds him and makes him a little more
real,” he adds.
And if the character isn‟t real enough viewers find out in
the show that Parthenon is gay. But as Williams points out,
he‟s not a gay superhero; just a superhero who just happens
to be gay. Is there a difference?
“In other gay superheroes, their gayness comes first. I
wanted people to take me seriously as a superhero and then
I just happen to be gay,” he explains.
During the show‟s eight episodes, Parthenon and the other
superheroes battled the evil Dr. Dark and his minions
through a series of Fear Factor-type challenges. They
crawled through a tunnel infested with rats, snakes and
tarantulas and braved cages filled with bees. But one stunt
involving a wind tunnel left Williams a little exposed.
“A group of heroes have to work together to climb up to the
machine that‟s blowing basically hurricane-force winds at
you and water. This was so intense that when the water hit
you it hurts. It left me exposed,” Williams says laughing.
Back at home, Williams says he hopes his 15-minutes of fame
will bring him a few leads in the entertainment industry.
He plans to launch his own clothing line called Fit 2 A T.
He‟d also love to see Parthenon become a Saturday morning
cartoon character because he thinks kids would really like
a character on a quest. And if that doesn‟t pan out,
Williams says he‟d like a chance to host a game show.
But in the meantime, this mild-mannered 20-something will
spend his free time doing what he loves--visiting the comic
book store down the street from his house every Wednesday.