Winter Garden native Jackie Sessoms is competing in a new reality show. She will be racing 3,000 miles across the country, from Los Angeles to New York — on a lawnmower. The Great Grass Race kicks off July 10th. Sessoms’ strategy for winning The Great Grass Race is unique. She can’t recall a time when she’s ever mowed a lawn — and she doesn’t plan to start now.
“My goal is to get through the entire competition without mowing a single lawn,” she said. “I don’t see myself going and mowing lawns for stuff to help us get ahead in the race. I’m anticipating using my sales skills the whole time. You can make friends in three or four minutes where people trust you and want to help you.”
A six-team, cross-country race on 5.5 mph Craftsman T110 lawnmowers might not be the kind of heart-in-your-throat reality show you’d expect to launch a new streaming site called Menace Vision. But in a summer where a crippling pandemic has slowed down everything exponentially, this might just be the bonding experience everyone needs, says show creator/executive producer Denis Oliver, a native of Neuville-les-Dames in France, who will host a launch party with the contestants July 9th in Tarzana. The show will also be available on a growing number of platforms including Amazon Fire TV, the Apple App Store and Google Play.
“I wanted a show that everyone could relate to while also forcing people, including strangers, to work together toward a common objective,” said Oliver. “This long lawnmower ride is a metaphor for our longing to bridge the tremendous distance we feel between each other right now.”
A single mother of 10-year-old twins Ethan and Tristan, Sessoms has 23 years of successful sales experience to tap into, including last year being named the No. 2 in timeshare front-line sales in the world for a large international hospitality company.
Jackie is outdoorsy but also loves resorts, so she took a six-month sabbatical in January to travel. She took a long houseboat trip with the boys, and visited Costa Rica (“I was almost arrested for skinny dipping!”) and Ireland.
She also writes childrens’ books — 17 and counting. “I call them ‘Little Nudges of Love,’ and they’re written in iambic pentameter about equality, love, peace and understanding.” They’re illustrated, self-published, and were to be sold in bookstores in Ireland before the pandemic put those deals on pause.
She’s never been away from the boys for very long, and that will be the toughest part of the race, she said. But they supported her decision and even helped her sign the contract.
“More than anything I wanted to do this to show my kids that their mom is a strong, independent woman,” she said. “This show is about making friends and relationships. I love meeting new people and one of my mottos is ‘collect friends that will talk about you the rest of your life, though you may never see them again.’ Put a smile on their face and be part of their memory of that experience, which is timeless.”