Lisa Neeld has been a busy woman lately. She has stacked her appearances, started filming a reality show for television, continues to sell barbecue sauce, and is a full-time mother. I became enamored with Neeld when I asked her ten baseball questions at a Scrappers game. She played along, the good sport that she is, and had fun with a segment that many Playboy models would scoff away from. A year later, I followed that up with ten boxing questions. Same playful Lisa, same comical approach, same demeanor.
Neeld is excited about her new reality show, simply called Lisa Neeld: VIP Style. The show airs at 6:30 in the morning on the WB Network every Thursday. It is commercial-free and the interview which I conducted will be featured on one of the upcoming episodes, so set your DVR, it is fun to watch.
Having never interviewed a Playboy model before, I was cautious, but brought my highest line of questioning. Lisa, as always, was very accommodating and honest. I have a lot of respect for her because of the way she is going about life without the stereotypical priss label. All too many times, albeit an athlete or a musician with some level of fame, certain media outlets are snubbed because a celebrity feels too “big” to be a part of anything less than TMZ or a major publication.
Paneech: Tell me about the reality show.
Neeld: I was doing small reality clips for 93.3, The Wolf, and all of a sudden we got with some friends who would film and edit. My producer, Mike Kolovich, signed on with us to do it. It airs every Thursday morning at 6:30 on the CW Network. It showcases the lifestyle I lead with all of the different roles in comparison to businesswomen and moms. Things that people don’t necessarily think of associating with me.
Paneech: You were in Playboy. How does that work with two children? Is that something you will have to tell them?
Neeld: My children already know. My first issue came out in 2008 and then I was on the cover in 2010. When the first issue came out, my son was ten. We didn’t let him see the magazine, but we did tell him. I would rather he hear about it from me rather than kids at school who may have heard it from their parents. I didn’t want to put him in a bad light because I was proud of it. Playboy is very classy and to be chosen by them, and later land a cover is honorable, but I would never want my children to think that I did something wrong. My daughter is only eight, and when she is old enough, she will know from me. My children know everything that I do and there is nothing to hide.
Paneech: How about other family members? Did they chastise you because of your decision?
Neeld: Actually, I have no family. My mom passed away five years ago. She raised me as a single parent and I have not had to deal with that issue. She would have been proud of me. The whole time I was growing up, she had me in dance line, pageantry, dancing lessons, and modeling. She would have been very proud and it is sad that she is not able to see the things that I have accomplished like this show.
Paneech: How much charity work do you do? Also, do you feel obligated to do charitable work, or is it something you enjoy?
Neeld: I have a personal charity that I work with. I work with Someplace Safe, a charity that works toward the awareness and prevention of domestic violence, which is pretty important to me. I always try to arrange something that will benefit them. We have had bowling nights, a blizzard thing at Dairy Queen, sold cut-out hearts, and many other things. I feel it is a charity which is often overlooked because victims are afraid to speak up.
Paneech: Lets talk about Hugh Hefner. This guy is like 90 years old, lands beautiful 21 year-old girlfriends, is loaded, and seems unhappy. At the same time, he seems humble and grounded. What have your experiences around him been like?
Neeld: I have met him several times at the Playboy Mansion and he is very down to earth. He is a nice and sweet guy and actually cares about the younger girls. There are a lot of girls who come through that have had issues or problems and he is actually there offering his support and helping them. He is an all-around great guy. I feel like he sometimes gets a bad rap, but he is an amazing person.
Paneech: You seem busier these days than you were two years ago. Do you have any spare time?
Neeld: I hang out with my children. We kind of like to stay at home. I am always out so much and I am not the best cook in the world, I’m not going to lie, so we prefer to hang out and enjoy our time together. Personally, when I have spare time, I like to run. I like to work out, box, run – it’s not hyper it’s high energy (laughs). I would probably want to go to a spa, I guess. Well actually, the perfect night to me is just staying at home and watching TV. I don’t have to be “dolled up”, worrying about appearances, so it is nice to just chill out. I like a good movie, but I am not into the price of popcorn though.
Paneech: A lot of models who have posed for Playboy have been approached to appear in adult movies. Have you been bothered for that yet?
Neeld: Yeah… Yeah, I was contacted about a year ago by a competitor of Playboy to do a shoot and we declined. If it is something I am asked to do that I feel I would be embarrassed telling my son about, then I will not do it. I won’t cross a line that would potentially put my child in an embarrassing situation. If people opt to do that stuff, than that is their option, but I will not cross that line. It is one thing to do appearances and have fun, but nothing too risque.
Paneech: What is with the barbecue sauce? How did that start and how are sales?
Neeld: The barbecue sauce came about when my friend Guy Hughes, of Guy’s Barbecue, had all of his products lined up at a press conference. I picked up one of the bottles and jokingly said, ‘Why don’t you make me a sauce and put my name on it. I can call it Saucy Housewife’. Next thing you know, we have attorneys checking copyright facts and it wasn’t taken, so a month later it is in production at Summer Garden on McClurg Road and going into a production run of 1,200 cases or some crazy amount. The Scrappers made it the exclusive barbecue sauce of the stadium and they made pulled pork this season for the first time. The label on it shows a little too much cleavage so we couldn’t market it at family grocery-type stores.
Paneech: When does all of this get tiring?
Neeld: Never. I have my days when I want to stay home in my sweatpants and cuddle up with my kids. However, it is my job. There are days when I am sure you don’t want to go to work and do your job. I love what I do and I appreciate people’s support and I never take that for granted. No matter how many times, or which venue, I get excited that people are making the effort to come and see me, it is pretty flattering.
Paneech: You have barbecue sauce, security, a reality show, a career you love, but the one thing you don’t seem to have is an agent.
Neeld: At this point, I do not have an agent. I have contacts in California who handle some of the bigger publications and things like that. I pretty much handle everything else on my own, not necessarily by choice, but because there is too much of the legwork that I have already taken care of and it is just easier for me to handle it myself rather than explaining everything to a third person. The third person can easily get things twisted. As long as I can continue to handle it myself, I will.
Paneech: Tomorrow is a school day, your kids will probably be in school. How will you spend your day?
Neeld: We start off at six. My son gets his bus at seven, and my daughter goes by eight, so I am in ‘mommy’ role until then. After that, I immediately get with my trainer and we will run. Some days it is five miles, other days ten. The way I look at it, it is job maintenance plus you always feel better after that anyway. After that, I go right into making business calls and doing some networking. It is not a typical day because things always change.
Paneech: If I rub this cup of lemonade you are drinking and a genie comes out and says you can have any three wishes, what would they be?
Neeld: Firstly, I would always wish that my children are safe and that nothing bad will happen to them. Secondly, I would wish to remain happy, not knowing what that will entail over the next couple of years. Third, I would say I want to be able to adjust to anything. No matter what happens, I would also want a Jeep for my friend, a red Jeep.
Neeld will be coming to a function you may be attending soon, make an effort to meet her, she is definitely not who you would think, in a good way.