He used charm, others’ personal tragedies and fake celebrity endorsements. How Christopher LaVoie cast his reality show and reeled in successful entrepreneurs.
Chris Stroup was trying to make his name as the head of a sports marketing firm when he was offered $2 million to host his own reality show about an Atlanta businessman, in the hopes it would attract advertisers and would become a hit.
“You’d have people lining up at the door, the biggest names in the business, calling me to come be a part of it,” he said. “I wasn’t really sure, but it turned out to be a much better experience than I thought it would be.”
In 2013, he was a struggling musician when he landed his second acting job, this time as a regular on TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” He used his past success to raise money for a concert in his hometown, when he met another local woman, Lauren Kaehler, who was an aspiring singer-songwriter.
The “Hell’s Kitchen” episode that saw Stroup’s character, Joe, find success was a big “hit” on the show, and now Kaehler plays a major role in his life. When Stroup asked her to join his show, she said yes, but the first thing she and Kaehler do is try to get a better deal.
“She wanted out and she wouldn’t quit,” Stroup said. “She thought this was a great relationship.”
A series of events led to the pair meeting at an Atlanta restaurant, while Stroup said their story was “fucked up” from the beginning. Kaehler and her husband had just split a couple months earlier, and she was struggling with the decision to leave the city of her birth. Kaehler, who was 30 at the time, told Stroup that she wanted to make something of her life and pursue a music career.
At that point, says Stroup, “We were not making things happen.”
As Kaehler worked as his assistant, Stroup got