Elaine Culotti Dishes On What It Was Like To Film Undercover Billionaire - Exclusive

Every entrepreneur wants to be successful — if we're being honest, making billions is the goal — and what better way to learn how to grow a lucrative business than to learn from the best? That's where Undercover Billionaire comes in. The second season of the hit show, streaming on discovery plus, follows three successful business professionals, gives them 90 days and $100 to create a successful business, and of course, follows their journey along the way. One such business pro, Elaine Culotti, spoke to The List about her experience on the show and the twists and turns she faced.

Culotti is a design mastermind. Her work and distinct eye is behind some of the most iconic spaces, including the famous House of Rock in Los Angeles. She's spent her career curating spaces, navigating the world of design and construction, and has done so by staying authentic to herself and her vision.

Culotti is one of the three undercover billionaires on the show's second season, and she sat down with The List to talk about the experience, the business she created, and the challenges she faced along the way. So buckle in, because here is everything you need to know from Elaine Culotti, who dished on what it was like to film Undercover Billionaire.

Elaine Culotti was given some distinct pointers from production while making the show

Making an unscripted reality show sounds like a lot of work, and a lot of pressure. Unlike reality shows like Bachelor in Paradise that consist of contestants sipping drinks on the beach and falling in love, Elaine Culotti had a challenge: to create a lucrative small business with just $100 in 90 days. She told The List that she went into the production experience with a clean slate, and actually made the conscious decision not to watch the first season of Undercover Billionaire. 

"So, this is the truth, honestly. And the reason I didn't watch it is because I wanted to be authentic and have my own journey," Culotti said. She explained that she didn't want to pirate anything that had already been done, and that she wanted to go into the experience not influenced by what had come before her. But that's when production stepped in: "A third of the way in, the network wanted me to watch it because they're like, 'Elaine, seriously, you don't know how to make television'." 

Culotti said that her style of working, which is not explaining what she is doing or the process she is going through while working, was not producing the television the network was looking for. "I'm so lucky to have had to have been with the team that I was with," she said. Looks like we all have to do homework sometimes.

While filming Undercover Billionaire, Elaine Culotti and the production faced this tragedy

If California is known for one thing, it's for its devastating wildfires. The fire season each year seems to get worse than the last, and not only did the production of Undercover Billionaire have to navigate the coronavirus pandemic (more on that later), they also had to face the devastating wildfires in Yosemite. Elaine Culotti told The List that "an entire community was devastated" in the middle of production, and got quite emotional when talking about what she witnessed. 

"It was heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking. I can barely speak about it," she said. "It was so incredible, the way that everybody banded together and stopped, with everything going on in their lives to sort this out in this moment in time, is truly the most prideful part of American pride." 

Culotti shared that food and provisions were provided for everyone in need, firefighters and first responders were taken care of, that "everything was dropped" to help those affected, even in the middle of production. "It's just so empowering to me how incredibly persevering Americans are," she said, pointing to how the community came together.

Elaine Culotti reveals what it was like to film during the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has been with us since March 2020. Every walk of life has been impacted by it, from schooling to dining to employment, to just about everything in between. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Undercover Billionaire went ahead with its production, and Elaine Culotti told The List what it was like to film under such unique (and slightly scary) circumstances. 

"We had people in our team that were terrified of COVID. We had people in our team that didn't care about it. So we had a lot of moments where we had to sit down and say, 'No, no, no, look, it's not about you. It's about them. They are scared. And we mustn't scare people,'" Culotti said. She further explained that the pandemic and the challenges it brought to production was a lesson for so many people, that the moment was "not about themselves" but rather about taking care of everyone

"I can't wait until the world gets to see this group of people harness all this energy and just become... We were unstoppable, literally unstoppable," she told The List about the ways in which production came together to make the show.

Undercover Billionaire is now streaming on discovery plus.