Aurora's Sonne Shields wins All American Handywoman title on HGTV

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HGTV's All American Handyman competition tests the skills of handymen and women throughout the country, and the winner gets a development deal with the network to star in a show. This time, three of the ten contestants were from Colorado -- and Aurora resident Sonne Shields, 32, was ultimately pronounced the All American Handywoman. "When they announced me the winner, I was ready to stay in L.A. I was like, 'Do you want me to move here? Can we start the show tomorrow?'" she remembers.

But while the episode in which she was named the winner aired last night, it was actually filmed almost two months ago. "After we shot the show," she reveals, "I got really antsy, I was counting down the days and there were still fifty-something days to go, so I decided to go to Europe for a couple weeks." While she was there, she met supporters from all around the world; she's since sent out Team Sonne T-shirts to fans in Berlin and Australia.

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In 2005, Shields was working on a cruise ship based out of Hawaii when she discovered how much she enjoyed construction, a job that combined the two things she loves most: traveling and helping people out. After that, she earned a certificate in carpentry from the Community College of Aurora; she now works as a lead generator at Home Depot. And when she heard about the casting call for All American Handyman, she didn't hesitate.

Being the All American Handyman/woman takes more than just being handy. A big part of the game is being able to take criticism and adjust to any situation, she explains. And she believes her most important attribute on the show was actually her team work. "I think I get along very well with a large variety of personality types. So when you work, like we did, in teams of two or three, you really need to be able to kind of adapt or function well with others," Shields explains.

Shields not only became friends with all the contestants, but also with the production crew. "I have this odd ability to get people's names when I'm in a foreign environment, so I knew just about everybody's name on- and off-set," she says. And now that the show is over, she remains close with the two other Denver contestants, Scott Heeres and Christopher Topp: "The three of us have gotten together and collaborated on a project already, and we're looking at doing another one here," she says.

For now, Shields is back at work at Home Depot. But she can't wait to start on her show. "It was hard to come back to work at the Home Depot because it's just, it's not as grand, you know? It was an awesome adventure and you come back and it's kind of like you hear the crickets in the background," she says. To make more noise, Shields is asking all her Facebook friends to write Ellen DeGeneres, to suggest she have Shields on her talk show.

In the meantime, she dreams about what her show might look like. "I don't necessarily want to be famous," she says. "It's just to have my own show would kind of allow me to do what I most enjoy. I love to travel and meet new people and I'm a big helper."

And she'd like to help out her home base, too. "I love representing Colorado and the Home Depot," she says, "and I'm really excited to see where my future leads me."

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