Courtney LeMarco is a Bellevue-based entrepreneur and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated TV show, “Hoarders.” LeMarco is also the CEO and founder of MOTSI, a beauty and lifestyle brand that offers clean skincare, cosmetics, sustainable swimwear and more. Learn about Courtney LeMarco…
Hometown: I was born in Los Angeles, Calif., but I consider Bellevue, Wash., my hometown.
First job: My first official job was as a dishwasher at Elliott’s Oyster House on Pier 56 in Seattle.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: I enjoy driving and taking photographs of the local scenery, especially on the Olympic Peninsula.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest accomplishment to date is successfully producing over 20 episodes of “Hoarders” on A&E. I had no prior television experience before taking over as the executive producer of the series, and now it is the network’s most popular show One of the biggest professional challenges I’ve had to face is my credibility in the industry. But being doubted is the story of my life, so this challenge is nothing new. Regardless of the doubters, I have always stayed focused on the goal. I understand that there’s a lot I know, and a lot that I don’t know. But I’m intelligent enough to realize that the resources I need are out there, and if I take the time and energy to educate myself and stick with the plan, then I can only progress. Given my upbringing, I’ve learned at a very early age to never give up and what it means to make sacrifices to achieve my goals.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I was born into a poor, single-family household with strict religious guidelines and a parent with a mental illness. I was homeless during my teenage years and had to constantly figure out how I was going to feed myself and where to stay. It was very clear to me that you make do or be homeless – you either sink or swim. The latter is not an option for me, and I had to find a way to make ends meet regardless of the hardships I was facing. With more life experience, I have come to understand that challenging times are always temporary. I’ve seen people who have hit rock bottom – some of it due to circumstances, but most of it due to choices. If there’s anything I hope to accomplish in this lifetime, it is to use what I’ve learned to inspire people to make better choices – to help people learn how to deal with challenging situations. This possibility keeps me going, even on my hardest days. I also need to acknowledge that overcoming obstacles and achieving success is largely because I stand on the shoulders of a lot of people who have suffered before me. I owe it to them to keep going, and to the generations after me to make a difference while I’m here.
Someone who inspires you and why: Sean “Jay-Z” Carter is one of my biggest inspirations. He went from growing up in the projects to a billionaire business mogul and entertainer.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: I would advise anyone who wants to succeed in my line of work or in any career path for that matter, to focus and do the work. You have to sacrifice and eliminate distractions which can sometimes lead to a lot of alone time. The payoff in the end, however, is going to be so much greater.
In any field of work, it’s also important to remember you get the same energy that you give. If you come into a situation with negativity, then you should expect to receive that same energy back. Of course, there will always be minor variants to this equation, but overall, if you go through business and life with a positive attitude and the will to do good, then you will find amazing opportunities opening up that you’d never imagine.
Lastly, don’t forget to live in the present. You owe it to yourself to take a moment to pause and acknowledge what you’ve accomplished. For me, it’s in those moments where I find true joy and peace. Being in the present allows you to gain a clear perspective on your situation. The past cannot be changed and the future is yet to be. The only moment that exists is the present. Enjoy it.
Favorite quote: “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools. ‘Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who.” –Jay-Z
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I used to work as a professional personal chef for a member of the Boeing family. While I’m no longer a professional chef, I’ll always have a love for cooking – it’s actually an essential part of my self-care.
What makes someone fabulous: Doing you makes you fabulous. When I stopped putting energy into other people’s ideas and started focusing on my own stuff, everything changed for the better.