Advertising’s Dating Queen

“One kid said he wanted to bask in my copywriting prowess,” laughs Lisa Shannon, former copywriter at CE Retail in Southfield, Mich. “He said, ‘I think it’s so admirable that you’ve succeeded in this field at the age of 25.'”

Shannon has heard plenty of cheesy lines since resigning in April from the Campbell-Ewald division to star in Cupid, a CBS reality series debuting in July and co-produced by American Idol’s Simon Cowell. Shannon and two of her girlfriends have been crisscrossing the country in recent weeks, interviewing thousands of suitors. She will eventually pick 10 guys to compete to be her soul mate, with viewers voting them off one by one. If she and the last man standing continue the relationship, and stay together for a year, they stand to pick up $1 million.

But first things first. The grueling 18-hour days have been “emotionally overwhelming,” Shannon admits. The men “bring in paintings and poems and songs and chocolate. It’s just very surreal.” In addition to all the goofy lines, “there have been a lot of great-looking guys who are just so dull,” she says. “We’re just like, ‘Get out of here!’ ”

The hardest part was sticking to the confidentiality agreement. For a time, she had to “flat-out lie to everyone” about what she was up to – including her creative partner, Brad Jendza, who continues as an art director at CE Retail. “Everyone thought for sure that she had gotten on Survivor,” which she also auditioned for, says Jendza (who may know something about what Shannon likes in a guy, since the two dated briefly before they were creative partners).

Shannon isn’t goofing around. “I do just want to meet a guy and have a normal life and start a family,” she says. Would she go back to the agency, even if she gets $1 million? “In a minute,” she says. “They are just so phenomenal.”