By Lisa Collins-Haynes
Who would have guessed that two local college sweethearts would one day get married, start a family and become local celebrities! Well, that’s just what happened to the Hardeman family. Married for 26 years and living in Triangle, Steven and Sandra are parents to three sons, Steven, Sterling and Seth. The whole family has recently been cast in a few reality TV shows that will soon be airing nation-wide.
Sandra Hardeman explains how all got started. “Vacation Creation was the first reality TV show we appeared on. And it was one of those things I wasn’t looking for. I received an email from a casting company and honestly did not immediately apply. Then one night I couldn’t sleep and was going back through my email. I read the description for the show and decided to apply. That process went really fast; we interviewed with a casting company and they literally called me the next day saying that they loved our family and our story. Next, the producer of the show interviewed us. About a week later we were told to get our bags packed for our dream vacation!
Hardeman recalls how surreal their experience was on the dream vacation to Alaska. “Vacation Creation,” hosted by Tommy Davidson and Andrea Feczko, facilitated some amazing adventures for the family. Imagine taking your family on an all-expense top of the line vacation. Hardeman says, “We flew in helicopters and we went to the top of glaciers where we raced the same dogs that were training for the Iditarod. We had our own chartered boat that took us up close to icebergs and we saw wildlife that is rarely seen. One of our memorable highlights was having Glacier Ritas—which is basically a margarita made from glacier icebergs.”
Their next taste of Hollywood took the family to the land of stars. They flew to California for more interviews and casting calls—and landed on an episode of “This Time Next Year.” “It is unlike anything you’ve seen on television. The show is a docu-series, so most of the filming done was by us as we documented our entire life journey in the last 12 months. The opening of the episode and the closing of the episode are in front of a live studio audience, so that is pretty interesting because you really do draw energy and emotion from watching the audience,”Hardeman explains. A year-long journey seems like a long time, but the Hardeman family was clearly on a mission. They entered into a family weight loss challenge and you’ll just have to watch the show to find out if they met their goal.
As the new year swiftly approaches, many people will be making new year resolutions, and losing weight is often at the top of the list. Hardeman gives a hardcore lesson on her family’s attempts. “Let me tell you the magical formula for losing weight—it’s diet and exercise. We used no magic pills, formulas, drinks or surgeries to take off the weight. Above all else it was our support team,our family unit that made this goal about more than losing pounds. We gained a deep commitment to each other. We grew as family. We learned above all else it’s our accountability to our family that feeds our success.”
She continues saying, “Food used to equal family. Our issue as a family is that we’re fantastic cooks; in fact, we used to own a restaurant in Prince William County. Well known for our award winning burgers, fries milkshakes and buffalo wings, we invested in our business by eating it regularly! So if you want to know how we put on the weight, there you go!” In finding ways to meet their challenge, Hardeman reveals that “We decided that we needed to ditch our eating patterns and learn how to eat differently so we did that using Diet to Go, which is a meal plan program based out of Lorton. Basically they prepare fresh food that you can pick up at your local participating gym or have shipped to your home and it’s all nutritionally-balanced portion-controlled meals that taste really good. The wonderful thing about Diet To Go is that I lost an average of a pound or two per week, which adds up over the course of a year. Throughout the entire program I never gained weight and that was fantastic. The other thing that contributed to weight loss is our membership at OneLife Fitness. They have locations all over Prince William County, although I highly recommend The Club at Stonebridge where Jamie Bullard is the training manager. She really set our family up for success with good trainers who assessed not only where we were but what we wanted to accomplish.”
Steven had the opportunity to work on a brand new show that is being produced for the Up Network; the show is tentatively called “Being Dad.” It’s slated to showcase a group of fathers raising their kids; highlighting the challenges and the joys of doing it.
Working in the industry gets a little addictive after a period of time. The Hardemans learned that first the cameras intimidate you, then you learn to embrace them—and just about the time you’re in a good place with them, the show is over. Hardeman jokes about having her own show one day. “ I joke all the time and say if we had our own show, it would be called something like Home with the Hardemans, which is actually the name I use on our Facebook page.”
With making appearances on TV,the Hardemans don’t often get a lot of time to watch reality TV themselves anymore. But she says, “The great thing about doing television shows is that it has afforded us the opportunity to be exposed to doing a lot of different things we might have never tried. This year we’ve done white water rafting, camping, our first 5K race, and we went to the Grand Canyon and my kids just did indoor skydiving because I would not let them do real skydiving.”
Make sure you check your local listings and watch or DVR these reality shows so you can support our local reality TV stars!