Lights, Camera, Action
What comes after our Emmy nominated reality TV show, Miss INNdependent?
Since Miss INNdepdent aired our first episode on May 7th 2022 I have often been asked, what’s it like..? Given my profession is in politics, you might think it probably feels pretty normal. It’s true, my professional life is in the public eye. But that’s very different from the world of “reality tv”. Reality TV is a unique mix of entertainment and documentary, requiring both carefully orchestrated and candid moments, all recorded by a camera crew. That follows you around. For hours at a time.
Frankly, it feels a little weird.
None of us expected to be cast members of a reality TV show when we started The Guest House. But when the opportunity to film was presented, it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity that none of us could say no to.
While I’m on camera in front of a microphone often for a living as an Anoka County Commissioner, it’s in the context of implementing state mandates, creating staff policy and allocating funds to various projects. There are protocols and language in place that act as a sort of armor, keeping “me” at a distance from the public.
Reality TV by its definition is meant to capture you by sharing organic moments and experiences. In our case of renovating the Guest House, this included new tasks I had never done before like demoing the kitchen or going ice fishing for the first time.
Renovating a historic building had its challenges and victories. Some of which was filmed. Miss INNdendent was a snippet of what really happens behind The Guest House. The show was an exceptionally fun bonus and I would do it again in a heartbeat. But it was a moment in time covering the renovation. Today the cameras are off and we are going through the growing pains of building a business—a business that is owned by 9 very different women.
How and what are we doing to keep The Guest House doors open? Who are the women that are running it? And how do we “really” work together? I became a co-owner to create something meaningful in the community; to create a space for others to connect, be inspired and make incredible memories.
I wanted to pursue what I consider one of the most daunting and respected titles out there: entrepreneur. And I get to do it with a group of power-women from all different professions with their own unique and complex personal backgrounds.
The renovation was a massive undertaking and crucial to attracting new business. But I can assure you, it’s not the paint color, or new countertops that will make The Guest House a success. It’s the 9 women behind it.
Follow our blog for our candid stories of Year One.
The Guest House Mission Statement: To build a legacy of memories for others by providing a beautiful and welcoming space for all communities to gather, create and share.
Mandy Meisner is one of nine women co-owners of The Guest House; A restored Victorian home serving as a vacation rental and event venue in the beautiful city of Excelsior, Minnesota. Walking distance from Lake Minnetonka. This is her first venture as an entrepreneur.
A creative at heart, she graduated from the Perpich Center for Arts Education and continues to be an advocate for the arts, community and philanthropy.
She is a blogger for various syndicates, including the Minnesota Orchestra and has been nationally published. In addition to writing, she enjoys taking ballet classes, cooking and having a glass of wine with friends. She lives in the Twin Cities with her two children.
Mandy is also the Anoka County Commissioner for District 7. She is the first woman to hold this seat and the first person of color on the Anoka County Board.