Here’s a little info about my life and my passions. First, my name is Shemane. There’s no “r”. It comes from the movie “El Cid” with Charlton Heston (check out his book comment to me!), and Sophia Loren. My parents got creative and named me after Sophia Loren’s character, which is spelled much differently in the movie.
Michigan is my home state. I grew up in an average Midwest town. We had a river in our backyard, and my brother, Guy, and I swam pretty much every day in the summer. At the time, he probably hated it but I wanted to do everything he did. So, I climbed trees, raced motorcycles, and swam competitively. Compared to my big brother, I was just “okay”, but I won over one hundred medals, ribbons and trophies for athletics and was a state champion swimmer twice.
Continuing the athletic saga in high school and college, I became a gymnast and a cheerleader. Like many, I packed on the Freshmen Fifteen (pounds) and then worked out til I lost it. Just about that time, “aerobics” became the new exercise craze. Yes, I was a proud owner of leg warmers and a thong leotard. Somewhere, there is a video of me teaching probably one of the first group exercise classes on cable TV ever! The big hairstyle alone will scare you!
My college degree was in Radio, TV and film. My first job was as a newscaster for college radio, then as sports reporter for COX cable in Gainesville, Florida, covering the Gatornationals. Little known fact: For my senior class project we had to make music videos. At the time, there was also a contest on MTV to make Madonna’s video. I decided to do both. Out of thousands of entries, my video was one chosen to air on MTV (3 times! Not that I counted). My professor, who was typically tough (especially on women) gave me an "A."
Upon graduation, I got a job as a radio traffic reporter for a rock ‘n roll radio station in Detroit. The only thing my brother and I didn’t have in common was that I didn’t really like rock ‘n roll music. Whereas, he’s been wearing concert t-shirts for forty years.
Only a month after I started working as a traffic reporter, with my desk nestled next to that of author Mitch Albom, Ted filled in for the morning crew for an entire week. On radio, your job is to talk – a lot. For four hours a day, I got to know Ted Nugent. He was funny, witty, didn’t drink or smoke and seemed to be a doting dad to daughter Sasha and son Toby. Still, Ted asked me out and I said no. My boss asked me to reconsider, and always the team player, I complied.
Ted and I first met on October 3, 1988. We were engaged at our radio station’s Christmas party a few months later, and married January 21, 1989.
My dreams of becoming the next Diane Sawyer were crushed, but I utilized my skills filming Ted’s hunts long before outdoor shows were prevalent. For two decades, we have co-hosted and co-produced the award-winning television show “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild”, now on the Outdoor Channel.
Our son, Rocco, was born on July 22, 1990. He is the pride and joy of my life. Being a mother has been the most gratifying thing in my life, by far.
But the road to happiness is often filled with potholes.
Ted and I have had some pretty substantial obstacles to tackle. In my book “Married to a Rock Star,” I chronicle some of the trials and tribulations we’ve endured. It hasn’t been easy. No marriage is. And like other marriages, I don’t always agree with everything my husband says or does. But I’m learning to find my voice, which is a pretty big deal for me.
The emotional challenges were minimal, however, compared to losing our health.
We discovered our MTV Cribs home was contaminated with toxic mold in between the walls. Over a course of two years, my health deteriorated. Debilitating migraines plagued me daily, as did chronic fatigue and insomnia. Ted and Rocco had similar symptoms too. Doctors told us our problems were stress related, which seemed quite possible. There was something more though. My investigative skills finally paid off…a little too late. Ted and I had four different types of mold in our blood stream. Rocco had severe asthma and I was diagnosed with having pre-emphysema. We destroyed our home and moved to Texas where I could be near a medical facility that dealt with toxic exposures.
It was a year before I could even consider exercising. I discovered Zumba fitness it changed my life immensely. I regained my strength and stamina and found a workout that was both fun and effective. It came along at the perfect time, too. Rocco graduated high school and left home to pursue his dreams. It filled my heart with so much joy to spread my love for fitness and health with so many others. I have been blessed to be able to develop programs for Zumba and travel the world doing what I love.
Never a dull moment, my mother always says. I have trouble with finding a novel that’s more exciting than my life. Oh yes, and that’s another activity I enjoy….writing. Writing takes me away from some of the trying times. My imagination is vivid and endless. I’ve written three screenplays, one of which has been optioned by my son’s production company. And there’s nothing more I’d rather do than spend time with my son.