Date: 08/12/2015 Print This Post



Having moved just six months ago from her longtime home in Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, Shannon Decker is adjusting to life in the city, but loving every moment of it. The beach, especially in Santa Barbara, is her happy place, and she’s been surfing since she was a kid, finding her nirvana riding the waves between fishing trips and basketball games during her early years spent between Bellingham and Westport, Wash., which happens to be very close to Aberdeen – also the hometown of Kurt Cobain.

As addicted as she is to sunshine and the outdoors, the multi-talented media personality – whose expansive resume includes high-profile work as a commercial actress, print and fitness model and host of a regional Emmy Award winning show – is now emerging as a reality TV star in a decidedly indoor environment: a cycling gym.

Perfectly in line with her current goal of becoming a certified fitness trainer, Shannon is one of three trainee instructors on “Hollywood Cycle,” a new E! Entertainment series that explores the sexy, competitive world of indoor cycling.

As E! explains the show’s premise, the “sexy, cutthroat series dives deep into the world of Los Angeles’ famed Cycle House, and introduces viewers to their top instructors and devoted trainees who keep riders tapping it back on cue. Through six hour-long episodes, viewers will get a prized front row seat in the dark, rhythm filled studio as well as an inside look at their high drama, always complicated personal lives.” “Hollywood Cycle” premiered on E! Tuesday, July 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Drawing on her real life passion for and special skills in a vast array of extreme sports (including mountain biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, swimming and triathlons,) Shannon brings to the show a level of competitiveness never seen before in a Cycle House trainee – an intensity that quickly makes her both a leading contender and an instructor favorite.

Before she became a top fitness model, Decker believed that her athletic build, “jock” background and “attainable, every girl” vibe would be a hindrance to a successful modeling career. Turns out she was just ahead of the curve, literally, and during her most lucrative time as a print model, big agencies like Ford began to add athletic divisions.

Her print work has included spots for Athleta, Nike, Road Runner Sports, Target, Nintendo, Boater’s World, Runner’s World, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, Fila, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TYR, Sports Authority and many, many more. Commercial-wise, Shannon played a triathlete for Coppertone, a soccer team member for Adidas and a stand up paddle boarder for the Visit California television ads (a campaign that included Arnold Schwarzenegger and fellow model Marissa Miller).

“I’m really excited that I get to bring my ‘A’ game for fitness to ‘Hollywood Cycle,’” Shannon says. “It’s a perfect fit! The interesting part is that because there was no dedicated cycle gym in Santa Barbara, every time I was in L.A. I would always go to these classes. I kept that up after I moved here, and have been working on getting my certificate, so being on the show is sort of a reality TV extension of what I already wanted to do. I always challenged myself to keep up with the instructor, and as I improved, I kept thinking, I could do that, I could teach it. It’s really an honor to be part of this because the three main instructors at Cycle House are like celebrities to the celebs. Everybody wants to get in their classes because they are so good at what they do.”

“Those who watch and who have never done indoor cycling should know, it’s harder than it seems to teach,” she adds. “You have to keep one step ahead of everyone, and stay on rhythm. It was fun doing it multiple times a day for the show and working so hard along side my fellow trainees, Chad and Sarafina. Outside the gym, I live with Nick, an instructor and the Cycle House Apparel Director, and have an on-and-off romantic thing going on with Aaron, the Chief Riding Officer and lead instructor.”

Shannon is still involved with one of her most exciting Santa Barbara based gigs, serving as onscreen host of “Back Beat” which airs on Cox Communications throughout Southern California. The show won a regional Pacific Southwest Emmy Award in 2012 for a special segment on Seymour Duncan, a world famous, Goleta, Calif. based guitar pickup maker whose clients include Madonna, Katy Perry and Aerosmith. The program included an interview of Duncan by Shannon.

Shannon’s experiences of hosting this monthly show and doing local sports broadcasting for football games to build her sports broadcasting resume hardly prepared her for the rough and tumble world of reality TV though.

“It was a crazy experience all around for me that I have equated to ‘The Hunger Games’,” she jokes. “Despite the personality clashes and unpredictability – which is very different from working, say, as a fit model – I feel like ‘Hollywood Cycle’ has been a great platform for me not only to showcase my athletic ability, but to convey a strong sense of body image to girls who may be more athletic and curvy than a traditional super skinny model.

“It felt good to be confident in who I was and to know that others might watch and be inspired by it,” she adds. “No matter how much work I’ve booked as a model, I’m always working on developing that comfort level with who I am and what I look like. Since wrapping the show, I’ve noticed that I’m also more comfortable and confident when I’m at auditions. I just booked a major Hanes commercial, and I think it’s possible that this was part of what got me the job.”

Another plus to being on a show where she can introduce elements of her real life is the opportunity for Shannon to share sides of herself that modeling and TV hosting hasn’t allowed. Folks will have to tune in to “Hollywood Cycle” to see her character on a daily basis, but for now, Shannon’s happy to share some fascinating things that many people don’t know.

She inherited her passion for surfing from her father, who left SoCal with her mom and moved up to Washington looking for less crowded, undiscovered breaks to surf. Westport is also a fishing town, and Shannon was as likely to be at the river catching Steelhead for dinner as she was to be seen riding the stormy waves. Her first major international surfing trip was to Indonesia, where she spent two weeks living on a boat in the Mentawai islands. She learned to snowboard at Mt. Baker while spending time with her mom in Bellingham, Wash. after her parents’ divorce. Ambitious from the start, at 20 she bought a local “flophouse” and, while babysitting and working as a cocktail server, did some extensive remodeling on her own accord. Shannon says, “Remodeling that house on my own start to finish has been one of my biggest accomplishments. I was young and dumb, and had no idea what I was doing…But I had heart and I learned to drywall, lay carpet and tile among other things and even painted the entire outside with the help of my girlfriends one weekend!”

Shannon received a Bachelor’s Degree with a teaching emphasis from Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo, Calif. Her passion for teaching and her years of experience as a nanny, makes her, “a big kid myself,” so skilled in dealing with children that her friends call her “The Baby Whisperer.”  On her days off from work, she’ll pick up her godson Cash and take him for ice cream and to the beach with his buddies. She also loves to head up to Santa Barbara to spend time with her 19-year-old sister and 15-year-old brother.

“I’m not a big partier,” she says, “and my priorities are definitely family and friends. Still, I have my moments when I love to put on a dress and go out dancing, but only if it’s to hip-hop! Dining and food is also a big part of my life. I can eat Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chips and guac, and the movie theaters with reclining seats, waiters and full menus are my real guilty pleasures. I work so much and work out so often that I like to take moments to myself as well, even if it’s just stopping off for a foot massage or a frozen yogurt treat. I push myself to the limit but I truly keep a balanced life. When I eat a lot, I work out that much harder. I always have to keep it real with myself.”

Shannon’s experienced major losses in her life, from an older brother to losing a family home in a fire, so there were times when she turned to working out – something she could control – as the one thing that kept her truly sane. Overcoming setbacks along the way has made her resilient and even more optimistic than ever as she emerges into the next phase of her career now as a reality TV star.

“I wish you could see the smile on face, because that’s the real deal,” she says. “I am the best me right now, and I feel great about who I am and what I have to offer. But I am also aware of the things I still have to work on. I know that there’s no way I could have been ready for this show even two years ago, but I believe everything happens when it’s supposed to and always seems to work out for the best. My extensive life experiences have led me to this place where I’m just really energized about life. I feel ready for anything and am excited about all the possibilities that could come tomorrow.”