About a decade ago, you might not have pegged Stacy Keibler as the host of an amiable food-competition show on Lifetime. Back then she was using her slamming body to body slam her way through WWE Diva-hood, but has since transitioned to slightly less outlandish pursuits: bit parts on TV shows, a third-place finish on Dancing With the Stars, and (until their recent breakup) a constant presence on the arm of A-lister George Clooney.
But somehow, as host of Supermarket Superstar, she still ended up eating a cricket.
“I’m always up for an experience,” Keibler says. “So when [Chris Cornyn] actually brought the jar over I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll try it.’ It tasted great! It just tasted sort of like a nut. I don’t think it tasted like what people would think it tastes like.”
Most of her time on the series is spent sampling more traditional fare (think sweets), as each week three culinary entrepreneurs bring their recipes before a panel of judges — called “mentors” — in the hopes of becoming the next Chef Boyardee or Mrs. Fields (a.k.a. Debbi Fields, who is actually one of the mentors). The winner walks away with $10,000 cash, $100,000 in product development funds, and the chance to compete in the Sept. 23 season finale where the grand prize is a launch onto the shelves of A&P supermarkets.
“We’re really making someone’s dream come true, so it’s aspirational,” she says. “It’s about giving someone all the tools they need to transform their dream into a reality. I really hope that in the show’s success we have thousands of people coming with all their recipes and all their food ideas. … Everyone has a recipe. Everybody can throw something together and come on this show and have a chance to have a product launched and make millions of dollars. I think that’s what makes it so fun.”
It was also an educational experience for Keibler, who is working on launching her own healthy-food line in grocery stores.
“The supermarket industry is really tough and big brands have the edge, but we think there should still be room for the little guy,” she says. “I was fascinated through the whole process, and I was definitely able to take a lot of the knowledge that I learned and a lot of the help. I was constantly asking questions to the mentors and the experts.”
Known for her strict diets, one might wonder how Keibler dealt with having to eat the kind of rich foods served up on Supermarket Superstar. She says the secret was just to take small bites. But her concern for health overall has become a passion of hers over the years, one that has stemmed from what she’s learned about how Americans get their food.
“Everything is so processed,” she says. “I really am trying to educate myself so I can educate other people, especially children. We have to help our kids to eat more whole, organic food so they can help their kids and get everybody on the right track here.”
Yes, it’s all a long way from turnbuckles and headlocks, but Keibler says she will always be proud of her pro wrestling roots.
“It does seem like a long time ago, but I still have such a big place in my heart for my fans,” she says. “I have my fans who are so loyal from WWE that started following my career when I was 19 years old! But I just live in the moment and I see where life takes me.”
Supermarket Superstar airs Mondays beginning July 22 at 10pm ET on Lifetime.
Photo: Credit: Kevin Lynch/Lifetime