NO ONE APPEARS MORE AT HOME ON TV THAN TODD SHARP, STAR OF THE LIFETIME REALITY SHOW, “SO SHARP,” WHICH FEATURED THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE LADYBIRDS AND DELVED INTO SHARP’S PERSONAL LIFE. WE CHECKED IN WITH THE FLOYDS KNOBS RESIDENT TO SEE HOW LIFE HAS CHANGED.
Q&A BY ANGIE FENTON | PHOTOS BY ANTONIO PANTOJA | PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT: TAYLOR CHRISTINE
When we first featured Todd Sharp on our August/September 2016 cover, we knew big things were in store for the head coach of both the University of Louisville Ladybirds and Floyd Central Dazzlers. But no one could have predicted just how big.
The verbal sharp shooter is the star of “So Sharp,” a reality show that debuted on Lifetime in late July 2017. Since then, life has changed for the Floyds Knobs resident, who can’t go grocery shopping without being recognized (not that he’s complaining), contends with people all over the world weighing in on what they perceive to be Sharp’s reality based on what they saw on the show and has been featured on Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, and in In Touch Weekly magazine (not to mention coming face-to-face – and receiving photos – from people so enamored with Sharp they dressed up as him for Halloween). Grateful for the experience – and still a bit bewildered by what has transpired – Sharp seems more competitive professionally than ever while also more at peace personally. Extol Magazine’s Editor in Chief Angie Fenton sat down with the TV star to talk about his experience and more.
Overall, how was the “So Sharp” experience?
When I first found out I had the opportunity, I think I reacted like most people would. You never in your lifetime expect you’ll have the opportunity to have your own TV show, a national TV show at that. And then I think the very next thing that kicked in was fear, fear of the unknown. I think I had founded fear because look at the history of reality television and the aftermath for many of the reality television stars. So, I had a fear that being me and coaching the way I coach and my personality, I didn’t know how that would be perceived by America. I was pleasantly surprised. The feedback for me and the show has been overwhelmingly positive. … Episodes and scenes that made me uncomfortable watching them didn’t seem to make viewers uncomfortable. … America surprised me in a pleasant way. … I feel really blessed that love me or hate me, I think I came across as me and it seemed to be perceived pretty well.
Name drop some of the things that have happened because of “So Sharp.”
I’ve been featured and talked about on Entertainment Tonight twice. … I found out they were going to do a story on me and the show literally two hours before it happened, and I came home to watch it. So, I watched it live in the moment and seeing a split screen with me and Jennifer Lopez – they were talking about Todd Sharp from Floyds Knobs, Indiana, in the same breath as Jennifer Lopez. And then the amount of coverage, it was a several minute piece. Talk about surreal. …
One thing I was impressed with is these anchors who you see on the shows and are iconic, they reminded me of you. They really did. You know, people will see you (on a television show), but you don’t realize the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. I saw these people at their desk, working hard preparing and it was kind of neat how friendly they were. … Just great experiences. I (was featured in) In Touch Weekly and it hit me, you see that magazine when you’re standing in line in at Target or Kroger across the United States. … The funny thing is I don’t have (a copy). I didn’t even think to go out and buy one because I was sent photos of it. But, it was a big moment for me. … In Touch Weekly, a national magazine, said, “This month’s segment of ‘What I did my last night at home’ features reality star Todd Sharp.” I thought, no, that’s Southern Indiana boy Todd Sharp. I’m definitely not a star. … I have to tell you, the Lifetime network and Collins Avenue, my production (team), they just really went above and beyond in terms of giving us opportunities. I don’t think Entertainment Tonight and most of those other opportunities happened by themselves.
What comes next?
Nothing is certain, but I was told it would be this way. I have a great mentor in Jill Vertes of the long-running series “Dance Moms.” … She told me you will never know what is going to happen nect, nothing is certain and be ready to hit the ground running and roll with the punches. And that’s the way it’s been. I know there’s been movement and progression toward season 2, but what I learned from these other shows is you’re finding out – literally – seven to 10 days before that you’re shooting. … We’ve not been told it’s not happening. There’s definitely been movement in the direction of (season 2 of “So Sharp”) happening.
How has your personal life changed?
The biggest change is I’ve always been a slow study. It takes me longer to grasp anything, but once I grasp it, I’ve got it for life. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but it still shocks me: Every day, everywhere I go, I’m thinking I’m just living life as a guy who ran into Panera to get a salad, and the truth is the entire kitchen is coming out taking pictures of me with their cell phones while I’m standing there trying to pay. (Laughs.) … First of all, I’m not a star. I’m not a celebrity. I’m still working a ton of hours coaching kids (and) doing what I love.
In some ways, my life is definitely more stressful because there is only so much of me to go around, and that didn’t change. The demand just got higher. But I’ve watched a couple of local celebrities over the years that I have seen act annoyed and downright rude when people ask to take a photo with them or want to give them a hug. It really hit me, you know, whether I do one season of the show or we do eight seasons, who gets that opportunity? I had a day a few weeks ago where I literally had a 15-minute window to run into Kroger and grab groceries and, even though I was in a time crunch and had people coming to my house, I was in Kroger an hour because people started lining up to take a photo with me and wanting to tell me a story about their granddaughter who wants to move here from Oregon to be a Ladybird because of the show. I’m not going to walk away from that, no matter how busy I am. … All I can think is I’m blessed. If I died tomorrow, I have a legacy as a coach, that has already been built. But that legacy now is an international legacy. The show has been popular and done well in the (United Kingdom) and Great Britain. It’s also opened up an incredible opportunity for my girls to shine, too.
When not in coaching gear, where do you get your “so sharp” attire?
(Laughs.) Him Gentleman’s Boutique, 314 Pearl St. in New Albany. I own it with Ross Wallace, who is a young guy who works so hard and has such a passion for what we can do with the store that I think he can present. … He’s knocking it out of the park.
You call your dog T.J. What’s his full name?
On his birth certificate – which we all know really means his registration papers – it’s Tom Jurich Sharp. Typically, when you name a pet after somebody, you’re honoring that person.
But I call him T.J. because I also thought it would be mildly disrespectful to be yelling at your dog when he’s misbehaving, “Tom Jurich! Get back in the yard right now!”
What about your dating life?
I’ve actually been dating. I’ll say that. I’m definitely open to possibilities.
You’ve had an eventful past three years.
In the last three years, I went through a divorce, the birth of two grandchildren, buying and selling two different homes, opening a new retail business, (starring in) a reality TV show, three deaths that came very close together of people who were dear to me. … At a time time that should have been extremely joyful for me, I think it was after the second episode (of “So Sharp), my son had a catastrophic head injury in an ATV accident and nearly died. He spent many weeks in the hospital and is still going through rehab. … In three years, I’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. … Thank God for the blessings – like my son’s son Chase (Todd tears up) – because they helped counterbalance. It lets me see there’s still positives.
FIRST OF ALL, I’M NOT A STAR. I’M NOT A CELEBRITY. I’M STILL WORKING A TON OF HOURS COACHING KIDS (AND) DOING WHAT I LOVE.
What do you do when you experience the lows?
I know it sounds cliché, but I go get in the gym. I know I don’t look like I spend much time in the gym. … One of the things I’ve noticed is a lot of my friends and people that I care about in my age range, it kind of feels like they’ve given up in terms of trying to stay fit. …Once you get to this stage in life, you kind of feel like all of your resources, time and energy need to go to your kids, and I think the truth is (you have to) take time for yourself – not just your physical health but your mental health. … You have to find your motivation. … I really try to remind myself life is a journey, not a destination and at least I’ve got another day on that path.
Do you have any resolutions for 2018?
My resolution is to live my truth more every day and to be less judgmental of others but especially to be less judgmental of myself.
Of course, Floyds Knobs resident Todd Sharp was the shining star of “So Sharp,” a reality show that featured him and the championship University of Louisville dance team he’s coached for years when the series debuted on Lifetime in late July. But these five faces have garnered a bit (or more) of the spotlight, too, and offered a quick take on their respective experiences.
“It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s supposed to be reality, but it’s hard to be yourself in front of cameras It takes a little while to want to get in the groove, but overall it was a good experience. I learned that I’m a lot more introverted and quiet than I thought. I think it really helped me to communicate better with people. … I think that it was surprising how natural it all came for Todd and how it was almost like the cameras didn’t affect who he was and how true he was able to be to himself and how genuine he came across on camera.”
“It’s been an adventure, to say the least. Every day was something different. It was a surprise every day, but I feel like we really did grow as a team.”
“I think it was a lot more work than what we were anticipating. There was a lot more prepping involved. Behind the scenes of TV life is a lot more work than people think.”
“It was honestly just such an amazing experience. … I love that the world got to see how hard we work and what goes into being a national champion. … Todd is a pretty open book with all of us. But, I think seeing his interviews, it really showed how much he truly cares about each of us.”
“I would say it definitely taught me a lot and made me have a bigger backbone. You never know how much you can grow from tough experiences.”