With her infectious laugh, sparkling personality and positive attitude, Cindy “Rodeo” Steedle roped in our hearts when she competed for the love of Bret Michaels on the first season of VH-1′s reality show sensation Rock of Love. She went on to appear on I Love Money and Charm School and garnered even more fans along the way. Since the reality cameras stopped rolling, Rodeo has been one busy lady. What has this cowgirl cutie been up to? We managed to rope Rodeo in and chat with her about how she ended up in Bret’s rock star mansion and how she hopes to use her fame to make a difference and help stop bullying in schools.
Socialite Life: I am so glad I got to talk with you. I’m a big fan!
Cindy “Rodeo” Steedle: Aww, thank you, I appreciate it.
SL: Can you tell me a little bit more about your background?
Rodeo: Oh my goodness…well, in 2005, I was a stay-at-home mom and overweight. I had lost my little girl before she was born and then I was blessed with my son. I was bedridden for 104 days with him and then that’s when I had given up and I had gained a lot of weight. I got tired of being overweight and started losing weight, getting into fitness and training and then I got into bodybuilding and figure modeling and then it soared from there. I became a personal trainer and got the weight off in nine months – I lost about 70-80 pounds and it just went from there. I started offering myself for advertisements to get into magazines and I started branding myself as Rodeo, so people would know me. I always wanted to have my own TV show or make a difference in bringing smiles to people – and I think I did that when VH-1 found me in a magazine.
Read more of our interview with Rodeo after the jump!
SL: How did you end up on Rock of Love?
Rodeo: Well, I started doing ads and taking part in figure competitions in California and I was modeling for VPX. For one of their ads they took a “before” picture – before I started losing all my weight. A casting guy from 51 Minds (the production company responsible for Rock of Love and other VH-1 reality shows) was flipping through one of the magazines and saw me in the ad and I just had “Cindy Rodeo” in there and they were wondering who I was. I didn’t even have a hat on. They found out through the grapevine that this casting director had gone to high school with my sister. She called me and said they were looking for me and cast me for Rock of Love and so I was flown out there and was asked to be on the show. I had no idea that it was Bret Michaels! That was in January of 2007. I was on the first season, I appeared on the second season, I interviewed the girls on Rock of Love Bus and then I did I Love Money. I did Charm School. After the shows, my manager Jeff Beal stumbled across Save the Horses because I really wanted to do something and make a difference with some kind of charity and have my son involved. When we were out there, we had VH-1 come out and film us there for Rock of Love Girls: Where Are They Now? and that’s when they asked me to be a spokesperson there. And now I’ve just been hustling and bustling across America!
SL: Whatever possessed you to go on Rock of Love in the first place?
Rodeo: (Laughs) To find love! My marriage had ended and after being divorced, I was losing my way. My ex-husband didn’t appreciate when I lost my weight. He didn’t like me when I had the extra weight on me and then I lost the weight, I tried to make a difference in myself but I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t feel pretty. When I was contacted to be on Rock of Love to find love, I took a chance. You only live once and that’s what I did. But when my son was sick I went home and I never went back…well, only to do the short appearances on the other seasons. (VH-1) said that I was the only one who had a good following in a good direction. Where I’m helping people. Does that sound right? I don’t want to sound like a stuck up woman!
SL: Another thing I’ve been dying to know is why you went on Charm School? You were, by far, the Rock of Love girl who needed that the least!
Rodeo: (Laughs) Okay, listen, I’ll tell you about that. 51 Minds called me and asked if I’d be on Charm School. I said, “No. I don’t want to do that. I don’t need it.” They wanted me on to raise the ratings because the kids would watch it. I would get like 860,000 views when I was on TV – and when I wasn’t on, the views would go down. In addition, there were a lot of comments about me coming into VH-1. Sharon (Osbourne) wanted me on (the show). They called me. I hung up first. I thought it was a joke. They called back and said it was no joke and Sharon Osbourne was on the line and they asked me again and I said I’ll do anything to meet (Sharon). I respect the woman and I love her to death. So, I went on the show, and she said “Rodeo, you don’t even need this” and she called the other girls, as you know, “lovely bitches”. She says that a lot, but she does it in such a classy way! (Laughs) When I went on I did it to meet her and then, of course, I was let go because I stood up for something because Megan was wanting to win a competition and in she snatched my bracelet off of my arm and I was against that. She was cheating and I’m not a cheater. If I’m going to be in a competition, I’m not going to cheat – and that’s what she did. That’s how that all went down and I went ahead and left.
The most important thing that came out of my time on Charm School was when Sharon talked to me and told me, “Rodeo you don’t need this charm school. All of these other bitches do, but you don’t.” She told me she didn’t know my real name and told me I needed to promote myself as Cindy Rodeo to further my career and that’s what I’ve been trying to do and I’ve stayed with Cindy Rodeo ever since that day. And that’s why I’ve been pushing and I would really, really be able to be brought onto shows to let people see what I’m doing. I’m going to be dead honest with you, an agent that I was going to be cast off after the shows, and I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. A lot of people have told me, “You need to go into Playboy” or go into having my clothes halfway off. I don’t want to do that. I have my child, I have a lot of people who respect me and I try to watch everything that’s on my site because there are so many children who are following me right now – from elementary school – and so I would love to be able to be a guest and have them book me on talk shows. When I was in the audience for Dr. Phil, they had me stand up and there were fans there who recognized me and they were high-fiving me. Dr. Phil was doing a show called “Loved Three Times” and it was a man married to three women with 24 children I disagreed with it and Dr. Phil had me stand up and he was talking to me back and forth. And I went on The Talk and Sharon’s makeup artist saw me in the audience. He said “What are you doing here?” and I gave him the flyer for my anti-bullying initiative Take Steps Towards No Bullying and Sharon came up and spoke with me about it. I just need to get this promoted and now I have samples that I can show everybody.
SL: How did you get involved in the anti-bullying cause?
Rodeo: I developed a relationship with Beehive – they make the rain boots I sell on my website. I was on my way back from filming a reality show in New York and a woman from Beehive recognized me on the train and she asked me if I would like to help promote these boots. I was interested but I told them the only way I would do anything is if I can help people. I met with Amy, the owner of the company in Atlanta and I told her I’d like to paint my own design for the boots. I’ve always painted just to pass the time I started painting and I started thinking about doing something for the kids because the bullying is so bad. There’s 160,000 kids who don’t go to school each day because they’re afraid of being bullied. I started painting last July and I came up with a design (that you can see on Cindy’s website) and I decided to put it on a boot and then a sneaker. And now I’ve got it on jewelry and t-shirts. And that’s how that came about. I’m hoping they can be worn on Spirit Wear days in schools. So far, the kids are really responding positively. I’m working on a design for boys’ t-shirts and my son – who’s an artist himself – wants to design a leather band for the boys to wear.
When I was on Rock of Love, I got a lot of recognition from children because I left (the show) because my son wasn’t feeling well. Bret and I agreed and then he said I could go home and that’s how I did it. I got the respect from Walter Reed Medical Center from the troops coming home from being injured in the war – that’s how I found out that these kids really liked me and the views were going up when I was on the air. The USO (also) told me that the military was watching me in Iraq during their downtime, they were in the tents watching me. I was speaking with an injured soldier at Walter Reed and he told me that they listened to me and respected me because my laughter would take away their pain and they could forget about the horror of what they were dealing with over there. They wanted to let me know that their kids were always talking about me – and they said if I could make a difference and do something to help the kids or give them direction, I should. That was back in 2008-9 and that’s how all of this came about – I just took it upon myself and just started painting and creating the design I put on these shoes. The reason I call my initiative “Taking steps towards no bullying” – and this is the whole purpose behind it – within 10 seconds a child can either bully another child or else stop and think. So I’m thinking, all kids always look down at other kids’ feet. 9 times out of 10, they’re going to look at the shoes. If they look down and see “Imagine no bullying”, it’s going to make them stop and think. It has been getting some notoriety, because the kids are paying attention to these shoes. I haven’t been able to get it going yet, but I’m trying hard to get them into the schools and retail stores. We’re currently in talks with the buyers at Target to get these products on the school supplies list. No one in America has any type of shoes like these and these kids want them, so that’s why I did it. I really want to make a difference. I want to help people. I want to make a difference with anything that I do – whether it’s signing autographs or giving a hug or two, or speaking out against things like my No Bullying initiative.
SL: Why are you so passionate about this cause?
Rodeo: Well, I just started speaking about it recently, but when I was a child, I used to get picked on because I didn’t have a lot of nice clothes. I didn’t have nice shoes. My father was an alcoholic and the abuse was really bad – sometimes to the point where he didn’t remember beating me if I didn’t spell a word right. The only reason that my friends found out (in high school) is because my girlfriend came into the bathroom and saw that my skin had been split and bleeding and saw the bruises. Those are the things that happened to me when I was a child. I always laughed – everyone said, “Cindy, you were always so happy” but they never knew the dark side of when I went home. I hated going home. I got myself into swimming – actually my stepmother did. She did the best she could with me but she couldn’t handle the beatings anymore and she left – I can’t blame her. My father then went back to me. Drinking is such a bad disease and children end up getting hurt because a lot of people are alcoholics and they don’t know how to deal with it and deny that they have a problem and never get help. I’m hoping by telling my story that I can help adults get help with their alcoholism and help prevent a child from being beaten or committing suicide or being bullied in school. (Kids) can be so angry at home that when they go to school they start bullying other children because of how they’re treated at home. That happens. That’s what happened to me. I was picked on a lot because I didn’t have the Nikes and Polos and things like that in school. I’m hoping I can make a difference by people hearing my story.
SL: How are you spreading your message?
Rodeo: I’m speaking out on Skype to schools. If a school is interested in having me speak to the students, they can contact me via my website or email my manager Jeff Beal at firstname.lastname@example.org. I give the kids and even the teachers and parents resources and websites they can go to for additional information such as Do Something: Step Up to Bullying and the National Bullying Prevention Center. In addition to speaking via Skype, I’ll also go and visit schools. I recently visited one in Louisiana with Steve Carrier as part of my TV show, The Voice Within. You can see a trailer online. I’m hoping a network can pick up my show. I just want to be one of the reality stars who makes an positive impact. I really want to get on Ellen. If I can get one of my sneakers on her I know she’d wear them! I just don’t know her size!
SL: How can people get involved with Save the Horses?
Rodeo: It’s all over the country, you can get more information at SavetheHorses.org. it’s just been launched on Facebook . Cheryl Flanagan is the founder. We have volunteer days and often, we have women and even teenagers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol come there as rehabilitation. They have to come out and take care of the horses. It’s beneficial for them to see that when they care for these animals that the horses care for them in return and it really has made a difference. I’ve even had a company in California speak with me about incorporating Save the Horses with my No Bullying initiative. The horses really help calm the kids and adults down and it’s really making a difference here in Georgia.
SL: What else do you have in the works?
Rodeo: I’m also doing a show called TheGlamLifeTV – life as I know it. Exotic cars and luxury lifestyle living. We go out and do road trips, cover various events and visit top resorts and talk about the best places to stay, the best cuisine and everything – the top of the line places to go and visit. That’s brand new. It’s not on a network yet but there’s been some interest from some networks. I host it with Jeff. You can see some trailers on YouTube. I also have Rodeo’s Urban Workout – every city I go to, I show people how to work out outside because you don’t need a gym. I’m showing people how to train outside on the street. That was fun! I’m also going to have some e-books for the Glam Life, my Urban Workout, recipes and all of my diet plans and everything that I have for different body types from children all the way up to the elderly. In May we’re going to be doing a polo match in Georgia for Save the Horses and we’re looking for sponsors and volunteers. I’ll be there to promote Imagine No Bullying.
SL: Do you ever sleep?
Rodeo: I know, I know! People ask me, “Cindy, how in the world do you do it?” I just manage my time – and I go 100 miles an hour. I think I might be ADD…I don’t know! (Laughs) I’m always gone. I’m very fit and I like to be on the go a lot. I like to drive when I go places – even if I’m going to stop in a city and stay over, I like to train and workout. I get to see so many new fans that I’ve never met before in my life and and that’s why I like to travel by car or by bus. I’d love to have a my own tour bus and tour with Cindy Rodeo Imagine No Bullying and TheGlamLifeTV – anything I’m promoting across America. It would be great if I could find a sponsor – someone to take me on and say, “Let’s not let this lady gather dust on the shelf. Let’s let her shine and spread her wings and make a difference in this country with people.” A lot of people still say, “You might need to do something drastic to get back on TV.” I just don’t want to do that and I haven’t had to. I don’t think people would respect me as much. I think they’d look down on me and I refuse to do it.
SL: Well, I think that you deserve the best with all that you do.
Rodeo: Thank you, I appreciate that. There’s so many people coming out of the woodwork telling me that what I’m doing is worthwhile. I just want to get on those talk shows! (Laughs) It hurts, I’m not going to lie. When I see Snooki and the Jersey Shore people and they’re given kudos about everything they’re doing on their show and it makes me wonder why I can’t be brought on the show to talk about what I’m doing with No Bullying. I would like to be one of the reality stars to show what I’m doing now. I don’t want anyone to forget about me! I want everyone to visit my website and see what I’m doing now!