Sam Provenzano is quick to not put himself in a box. Provenzano was a contest on LOGO’s “Finding Prince Charming” and was one of the 13 suitors fighting for the love of Robert Sepulveda Jr. Although the 33-year-old Chicagoan did not find love, he did make a name for himself for being the outspoken Italian that didn’t hold anything back and having the most talked about exit of the reality series — spitting on fellow contestant, Dillon Powell.
Now that the cameras are off, Provenzano is proving there’s more to him than what you get on the surface. When you take away the spotlight, what you’ll find is an entrepreneur, fitness lover, former journalist and a seasoned fundraiser.
Sitting down with Provenzano on a typical cool and sunny day in the WIndy City, SFGN discovered that he’s far from a reality television villain, but rather an individual with a vibrant personality and a big heart to match.
Before he was a reality television star, Provenzano was just a scrawny 6’1, 140 pound teen trying to survive being picked on for his weight and closeted sexuality. Wanting to find an escape from the bullying and sleepless nights, Provenzano turned to fitness, where he was not only able to regain his confidence, but see what impact he could make on the LGBT community.
“Fitness really got me to believe more in myself. I could just go to the gym or go to the tennis court and forget all my problems,” said Provenzano. “A personal trainer quickly becomes your close friend and confidant. When I came out of the closet I was a little nervous finding a trainer to understand who I was as a gay man. That’s why I started Right Fit For You, because you can find a trainer that’s an ally to the community or LGBT themselves. It’s all about feeling comfortable.”
For the past five months, Provenzano has been actively revamping the website that he started back in April 2013 and its services will soon be available nationally. For him, it’s more than just a business.
‘It’s not about me making money. It’s a sense that we’re making a difference for the LGBT community. So many people struggle with how they look and feel in our community. They feel there’s a pressure in the community to look a certain way. I can give them a platform to not only look better, but more important feel better,” said Provenzano.
He’s not only working behind the keyboard. Interacting with people and building communities has been a goal of Provenzano’s since his golden days of being a journalist. A drive and curiosity to tell others’ stories led Provenzano to being an anchor and on-air reporter at ABC News in Kentucky.
However, after hearing that a young cancer patient from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who he had done a story on had passed away, Provenzano felt the need to regain his spirit in another career path; working in non-profits.
“I said to myself this is not who I am. I love being on television, but I don’t truly love what I’m doing. So, I packed up my bags and moved to upstate New York to fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Provenzano. “Fast forward to 2017, here I am, working at one of the best universities and I couldn’t be happier. I meet with our alumni from across the country, hear stories and experiences about their college days and eventually the conversation moves toward them making a generous gift back to the school. I really found my niche.”
Although, he’s been able to shift his narrative from being the villain of “Finding Prince Charming” to being an advocate for his community, Provenzano has no regrets with his time on the show, feeling he not only had a fun time but made great friendships.
“The best thing that happened from the show is the friendships I made, like the one with Robby. I really admire him and his authenticity. On the show you didn’t see the fun times I had with the other guys that were memorable and fun,” said Provenzano. “In my mind, if I’m going to leave reality television, I’m going to go out in a way you don’t forget me. Love me or hate me, I did what I wanted to do. Was it the best representation of myself? No. But I had a great time and hopefully you won’t see the last of me.”
It’s highly unlikely we will.
As for those still struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality, Provenzano encourages you to write your own stories.
“The best thing I can say is if you are going to come out, do it when you are ready. People will try to bring it out of you and try to tell your story. Own your story.”