|RP a hotbed for reality TV hopefuls
Rohnert Park once again has yet another "celebrity" amidst its residents. In the wake of NBC's "Biggest Losers," cousins Sam and Koli of Rohnert Park, RP's Potu "Po" Peleti, 29, has taken the fame reins and teamed up with best friend Dave Schenone, 25, of Windsor, to lose some weight and strive for the big jackpot of $100,000 on VH1's reality TV show "Money Hungry." They are the only team from California.
Unlike the title of the show, these two, known as The Regulators, aren't necessarily in it just for the money. They both agree their strongest motivation stems from their innate desire to lose weight. "Losing weight was a big issue for both of us," said Peleti. "We both have wives, I have two kids with one on the way and the lifestyle we were leading was good in college but now we just need to be healthy and be here for our family."
"When you're overweight, you feel like you can't do things others can do," adds Schenone. "People look at you differently - you feel different from other people and it doesn't make you feel very good about yourself." Schenone said for his age, he was facing some harsh realities with health. His blood pressure was at dangerous levels and his weight hindered him from doing what he wants to do with his life.
"We both felt we needed to do something drastic," said Peleti. "We saw what it did for Sam and Koli, how good they look, how happy they are... it inspired me to get online to find out what we could do along the same lines."
And found it he did.
Peleti discovered a new show was being produced where teams compete for money and at the same time, lose weight. He sent an e-mail to producers and said he really didn't think he'd hear back but within a short time, he was communicating with producers and both he and Schenone did a Skype interview. "It all happened so fast, it was unbelievable to us," Peleti said.
Peleti and Schenone first met when Schenone went to check out the SRJC football team at age 17. Peleti played football at the JC already and they ended up playing together. They both ended up working as bouncers at a local club in Santa Rosa and through it all, bonded their friendship to the point they consider one another family.
It made perfect sense to lose weight together and become the team to beat on the first season of a new kind of weight loss show. Peleti weighed 383 pounds and Schenone was at 460. Both agreed this was the perfect solution to help them change their lives.
But Money Hungry isn't the average "compete, lose weight and win" type of reality show. Sure, contestants lose weight to vie for big money, but the catch is each contestant has to put up $10,000 of his own money to be on the show.
"That was the most stressful part of the whole journey to get there," said Schenone. "We don't just have 10 grand sitting around and we only had two weeks to get it."
So off they went to local businesses, stores at the malls. "We called everyone we knew," said Peleti, trying to find sponsors.
"A lot of people thought it was a big scam," said Schenone. "I mean, asking for 10 grand to be on a TV reality show isn't something that makes sense to a lot of people."
"We didn't think we were going to be able to even do it because of the money we had to come up with," said Peleti. "Somehow though, we managed to get it within a few days and then everything moved so fast, our heads were spinning."
After being accepted on the show, Peleti and Schenone moved into "The House" down in Southern California with 11 other teams.
"It was definitely different," Peleti said. "You're dealing with people you don't know, different personalities... you don't know if they're out to get you or not."
Schenone adds, "You never know who's playing the game, plotting and scheming."
Peleti said when they first entered the house they figured everyone would run to pick their rooms. "We wanted to be sure to get our own room so we just ran to the first room we could find," said Peleti. Five other teams did the same but then there was the big room - one big bedroom to accommodate 12 people (or six teams). By episode two, the house was definitely divided into two alliances: The big room, referred to now as "The Orphanage" and the other teams, referred to as "The Family."
One by one teams have been voted off through team challenges providing immunity to two teams and the loser being up for elimination. But the real twist lies with the house voting for an additional team to go up for elimination and whichever of the two teams loses the lowest percentage of weight goes home.
"Our plan was to keep the biggest people there," Schenone said. "We wanted to make the playing field more even - there were people there that were the weight I wanted to be," he laughs.
By week three, The Family had one team up on The Orphanage when it came to voting advantage and emotions surfaced, fights broke out, and Peleti said, "It got to be very awkward... living in the house was like living in a madhouse - it's crazy... just crazy."
Money Hungry, coming up on its fourth episode, appears Monday nights at 9 p.m. on VH1.
For updates go to www.facebook.com, search box The Regulators.