She’s set to make her mark on the upcoming season of Shark Tank Australia, but Jane Lu’s foray into reality TV was years in the making.
The self-proclaimed ‘Lazy CEO’, who is the founder of Australia’s fastest-growing online fashion retailer Showpo, tells Yahoo Lifestyle she turned down several reality TV opportunities before saying yes to Shark Tank.
“I've been asked to be part of other shows before and I've always said no,” she shares. “I was never going to be on some of these other contestant shows and that kind of stuff. And also with reality TV, you don’t know how it's gonna come across.”
Jane reveals that one of the shows she was offered a spot on was the first season of Australian Survivor: Champions V Contenders in 2018.
“I was like, ‘Um no’,” she recalls with a laugh. “And then I told my husband and he was like, ‘You can't even survive in the city, how are you gonna survive in the wild?’.
“They asked a few times, but then one year my marketing team were like, ‘You have to do it’. So they actually got the producers to come into the office and they ambushed me to try and get me to do it. And I was actually pregnant, but I wasn't ready to tell people yet, so I was like, ‘You can talk all you want but this isn't gonna happen’.”
Jane, whose self-made fashion empire makes up to $100 million in sales each year, adds that she also turned down The Celebrity Apprentice when she was asked to appear as a contestant rather than an advisor.
“I was like, I’m not going to be competing,” she says. “You have so much more to lose. I feel like it's probably more interesting for the producers if you lose. Potentially, I don’t know.”
'I actually thought it was a prank'
Jane says the only reality show she’s ever wanted to appear on is Shark Tank, which is finally returning to Channel 10 after a five-year hiatus.
“I always said, if it was Shark Tank I’d do it, thinking it was not on air at the time and it hasn't been for a while so there’s no chance,” she details.
“And so when I got an email from the producer Gemma, I actually thought it was a prank. Sorry Gemma to out you, but the subject was ‘Shark Tanks’. So she just made a typo, but it was at a time when I was getting a lot of those phishing emails. I was like, someone's trying to scam me for ‘Shark Tanks’.
“I was like, there's no way. There’s no way they're trying to get me for Shark Tank. So it was a bit of a pinch me moment when we actually started rolling.”
Jane went on to say that it’s “such an honour” to be one of the five Sharks on the panel alongside The Oodie founder Davie Fogarty, AI expert Dr Catriona Wallace, King Kong Digital Marketing Agency founder Sabri Suby, and OG Shark Tank US star Robert Herjavec.
“I was so nervous, and you definitely have a bit of impostor syndrome,” she admits. “I've told girls at work like, ‘Oh, I'm gonna be on Shark Tank’ and they’re like, ‘What are you pitching for?’. I’m like, ‘What the f**k?’.
“So I definitely had moments of like, ‘Oh god, I’m here!’, but the other Sharks, the crew, everyone was amazing. We had some practice pitches and everyone was really nervous, but as soon as we started rolling we got into it pretty quickly so it was great. We call ourselves the Sharkie fam, and it really feels like that.”
Shark Tank Australia premieres Tuesday, 29 August at 7:30pm on 10 and 10 Play.
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