068. Life is About Creating Yourself with Lonnee Rey

The Do a Day Podcast from Bryan Falchuk

Lonnee Rey on the Do a Day PodcastLonnee is currently known as one of the few podcast guest trainers in the world, co-author, speaker, writer, 6x show host and edutainer, Lonnee Rey helps wallflowers bloom & Nervous Nelly’s confidently grab the “global microphone” to speak their truth (in no uncertain terms!) on podcasts, in person and on stage.

Combining over 20 years as a spokes model for multi-national brands, Lonnse has experience working in TV/film & radio broadcasting, marketing, copy writing and public speaking, she elevates clients to a level of preparedness few can offer.  You need to have an angle if you want to have an edge. Authentic self-expression, without grandstanding, is the path to your brand expansion, too.

Lonnee has this incredible and difficult story that spans years of struggle at the hands of her mother. Through that experience, she created her life today, and realized the choice we all have in doing that. One note – when we did the interview, Lonnee was going by the name “Alexis”, which she’s now moved on from. Neither first name is the one she was born with. As you hear her story, you’ll understand why she’s finding her own first name.

Key Points from the Episode with Lonnee Rey:

  • Growing up, Lonee experienced a very difficult family situation. Her parents divorced before she had any memory of it being together, and she lived with her mother and step-father.
  • She has one picture of herself in childhood where she’s happy from her toddler years.
  • Her mother and step-father had a tumultuous relationship, but it started ok until her twin brothers were born – and only one of them was actually her step-father’s child.
  • Her step-father, Maurice, had been in and out of the house, had girlfriends, and was involved in dealing drugs. Obviously, given that Maurice only fathered one of the children, Lonee’s mother was seeing other people.
  • Normalcy came from the routine of TV show schedules rather than the situation in the household itself.
  • As a narcissistic bully, Lonee’s mother frequently would put her down or cast her out. While kids at school might bully Lonee, she always got the worst from her mother. And Maurice was not any better, and would take out his own issues on Lonee, too.
  • She was exposed to sexually inappropriate behavior, as well. Being so young, she was confused about what was and wasn’t ok.
  • That was just part of the kind of things Lonee was exposed to inappropriately.
  • Lonnee Rey on the Do a Day PodcastAt age 8, Lonee took a bunch of baby aspirin as a cry for help, thinking she could end her life. Her mother and Maurice didn’t care, and told her to go away. That has left deep feelings of not being wanted and no one caring about her.
  • It lead her to often pack her bags to run away. She knew she needed to get away from that house, and often found herself counting the time until she could be on her own.
  • Lonee was reintroduced to her father, “Daddy Don,” without really understanding who he was. She first learned of him when he was coming to take her and one of her brothers away for the weekend, and she was told, “Oh, he’s your real father, and he tried to kill you when you were younger.”
  • Her father started to come to take her more, but often wouldn’t show up. As a traveling salesman, he would be stuck on the road, and couldn’t (or didn’t) make it to get her.
  • Lonee appreciated that he even tried, and appreciated the breaks from time with her mother, which was so traumatizing.
  • Her mother kept moving them around throughout her childhood, creating more instability.
  • One night when she was 11, she found herself calling out, asking Jesus to give her a sign if he exists. She asked him to blow the curtains if he exists, and they did. She tested it again two more times, and they blew. That gave her a sense of things being able to be ok. A sense that there’s help.
  • She talked about how she never really had a stable hero or rock to latch onto. She was that person for her twin brothers, but no one was that for her.
  • When Lonee was 12, there was a hurricane. She road her bike to the beach with her brother. In the waves, she got sucked under, and couldn’t get a break from the waves pounding to get to the surface. She described a near-death experience, and an overwhelming feeling of everything being ok. She felt clean, clear and free for the first time ever. She felt herself snatched up by a man who saved her, brought her to shore, asked her if she was ok, walked a few steps and disappeared.
  • After that, it hit her that she nearly died and actually did not want to. That made her have a desire to live finally, but also removed any fear of death in terms of not being sure if it’s ok or not. She made peace with it.
  • Throughout her life, Lonee was mistreated by her mother dramatically and constantly.
  • Near the end of high school, her mother moved the family again, forcing Lonee to leave her school and friends right before graduation. A friend said Lonee could finish the year from her home rather than moving, so Lonee went to her friend’s.
  • Her mother showed up with the Sherif and dobermans to take her away.
  • Another time, Lonee had moved to stay with her father, and her mother showed up at her school to withdraw her from it, forcing her to go back to the trauma.
  • We got into the idea of whether her mother, “did her best,” and whether what Lonee experienced at her mother’s hand “made her who she is today.”
  • Neither of these ideas sits well with Lonee. When you abuse a child, that’s not your best. And the impact is huge. And while Lonee is who she is, she realized she could be so much more and not had such pain. If she’s this great, imagine if she didn’t experience the trauma she did.
  • Today, she has philosophies around the role people play in our lives, and she’s able to applaud her mother’s role in her life. We get to tell ourselves whatever we want, and she’s choosing one that gives her more power and empowerment.
  • We talked a bit about what Lonee’s mother’s childhood was, and she really didn’t know much. She knew she was adopted, but didn’t know much beyond that.
  • When she was 26, she finally left. It took so long because of the need for Lonee to help take care of the twins. Her other brother, Dane, never forgave her for leaving, and won’t speak to her. Interestingly, he’s very close to their mother.
  • After going to culinary school, Lonee took her chef’s knives, hit the road, and thought she could just go wherever and get a job as a chef.
  • Lonee eventually fell into drugs, which started to define her life.
  • She did brand promotions and modeling work at the same time, which she found she was very good at – promoting someone else’s products or services.
  • That lead to building a career being on the radio and TV, Mark Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
  • Because of the path she’s lived through in her life, she’s found that she’s able to help people circumvent their own pain or lag time to getting their message out.
  • Helping people carve their story out helps get the impact of message out so it can help others, and is so rewarding for Lonee.
  • Lonee has an expression to help for times when we face enemies or people who are creating pain for us – we need to love away our enemies. We don’t know what their pain is or what their path is, so we need to provide love to them to diminish their need to create pain for others.
  • It’s not about deciding if someone’s approach is good or bad, right or wrong, and then move toward it or away from it.
  • We talked about forgiveness, which Lonee doesn’t think we need to do. This is controversial. You don’t need to forgive them, only accept what they’ve done, process it and move forward.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about finding ways to have a better time. As Lonee says, if we have to be here, we might as well party!
  • Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.


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