The Inspirational Josh Shipp

Titled “The Dr. Phil for teens” by FOX and “The Dear Abby for the MySpace Generation” by CosmoGirl Magazine, Josh Shipp has gained an international reputation as an inspiring speaker with a simple, yet challenging message. His roots began in Edmond and have since expanded across the globe.

Q: How did you get into this type of speaking?
A: I’m not gonna lie to you. As a joke. I was the class clown guy in high school. I use to get kicked out of class for talking, now I get paid for it!

A teacher, tired of my disruptions, said that if I’d shut up she’d let me emcee the pep rally. I was intrigued, shut my mouth in class and found that my nuisance of being a class clown was actually a gift that had yet to be developed. Here’s a random thought: most “gifts” with teenagers often appear first as annoyances.

Q: How old were when you began this profession?
A: Seventeen. Which was a pain, because I would fly across the nation to do a speaking gig but couldn’t rent a car. So the female advisors who hired me for a gig would become my mom for 24 hours. No allowance though. Lame.

Q: Do you get nervous before speaking to large crowds?
A: Yes. If you’re nervous it means you care.

Q: Tell me a bit about your childhood.
A: I grew up in foster care. I grew up in many different foster homes, experienced abuse, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and general teenage angst.

But then I moved into “yet another” foster home that ended up being the most amazing people I’ve ever met. That was a catalytic moment for me. Something that forever changed my life and sparked the motivation inside of me that I share with others.

Q: How different is living in California than Oklahoma?
A: I moved to California for the opportunities and for a change of pace. I wanted to put myself in an environment I was unfamiliar with. I feel like this caused me to push past my self-imposed boundaries. No, that’s not true. I moved to California for the weather. Fine, that’s the truth!

Q: Who is your inspirational speaker?
A: My foster parents, Rodney & Christine Weidenmaier of Yukon, Oklahoma. When I was at an all time low in my life, they said something that forever shook my world.

“Josh no matter what anyone else says, you’re not a problem- you’re an opportunity.”

That moment forever changed my life in an instant. I’ve now shared that same message with millions of teens all over the world.

Q: Tell me about somebody that has had a big influence on your life.
A: Other than my foster parents, I would say my big brother through Big Brothers & Big Sisters. His name is Gary Jones. I grew up not knowing my father, so I needed a good male role model. He far surpassed that modest title. He showed me what it meant to have integrity, take care of business yet still have fun, and respect others and yourself.

Q: What are some things that you would like to accomplish in the future?
A: True story. I don’t have any dreams. Know why? Dreams don’t come true. Goals do. Here’s what’s happening in 2008. We are in development on a television series dealing with teenagers and their everyday challenges. It will be entertaining and inspirational, something sadly rare in current day television.

We’ve got the Hey Josh column in several publications (including CosmoGirl) reaching millions of teens each month.

I’ll criss-cross the globe making teens laugh and think, and I’ll run my second marathon in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I like to surf, cook and play with my Nintendo Wii.

Q: Who is your favorite musical artist?
A: I have three of them right now.

Stereophonics, Silversun Pickups and The David Crowder Band.

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