The first thing you notice about Jonathan Aldridge on video is the wardrobe.
Deftly draped in bow ties, suspenders and bright colors, the second thing you discover about the former Lee’s Summit resident is the energy he emits on camera as host of “Inside South Florida,” a lifestyle television program produced by Aldridge’s Maverik Productions.
Aldridge attended Lee’s Summit High School for three years before his family moved to Gulfport, Miss., in October of 1993. He finished his senior year in Gulfport, but it was in Lee’s Summit that he honed his skills as a baseball player and burgeoning print model.
He launched his entertainment career modeling for Kansas City’s Jones Store – where ads ran regularly in The Kansas City Star – as well as in the Kansas City Chiefs’ weekly in-season program guide.
A former ball boy for the Kansas City Royals, Aldridge scored the gig after being cut from the baseball team as a sophomore at Lee’s Summit High. He would later play his junior season on varsity at LSHS, his final season in Gulfport and eventually sign on to play professional baseball in Canada in 2003 for the Saskatoon Legends.
A year later he landed in a national commercial for Hershey’s Swoops.
“After I retired from baseball in 2003, I was fortunate to book the biggest commercial in 2004, which was the Hershey’s Swoops commercial,” Aldridge said recently from his new locale in Miami’s South Beach. “After that I just took off and drove my car (from Florida) straight to L.A. and set up in L.A. After being in L.A. for a few months, I just realized I was trying to avoid being the typical entertainer.
“Not that there is anything wrong with this, but I wanted to avoid being the typical entertainer that lived with five or six people in an apartment.”
Aldridge has traveled far and wide since his initial foray into the Hollywood lifestyle nearly a decade ago having lived in 12 states, including six cities in Florida alone. His recent assignments have spanned from professional sports, to the 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York and Miami, to VIP red carpets and celebrity charity events.
Over the past couple of months the CEO of Maverik Productions and on-air television personality has filmed shows in Los Angeles and Miami with a who’s who list of athletes and celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Donald Trump, Juan Pablo of “The Bachelor” fame, Burt Reynolds, Venus Williams, Tia Mowry, and NBA Hall of Fame player Alonzo Mourning.
No name dropping for Aldridge, just stone-cold facts of what Maverik Productions has been able to accomplish since he launched the company to produce lifestyle and reality-type television programs that have appeared on various networks including CW, MTV, VH1 and Fox.
“Reality (shows) is big,” Aldridge said. “The funny thing is when I got to L.A., my agent at the time said, ‘hey Jonathan, this reality thing is here for a little while; it’s not here to stay. Ride the wave.’ He couldn’t have been more wrong. Reality is here to stay. Reality shows are the new wave of celebrity. They’re calling it the new Hollywood right now because reality stars are the ones who are basically the stars in Hollywood.”
Aldridge has also appeared on “All My Children” with Rihanna, had his modeling ads appear in Maxim magazine, and has starred in more than 45 commercials alongside the likes of Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods among others.
After successful endeavors in Miami, Orlando, New York and Los Angeles, Aldridge will produce the upcoming “Inside Kansas City Show.” Aldridge said his main goal while in Missouri is to work with youth in Lee’s Summit and students from area colleges and universities.
He mentioned former Royals great Frank White may make an occasional appearance on “Inside Kansas City.”
“Throughout my career, I have befriended a lot of celebrities,” he said. “Having that celebrity appeal is, I think, it’s something like a hook. We can actually get in events (like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week) and bring that to the people and they can watch.”