When ABC approached Dani Johnson about starring on a new show called Secret Millionaire, she said no. When they tried a second time, she said no. Ditto the third time and the fourth.
Not until ABC asked for a fifth time did Johnson, a self-made millionaire, finally say yes, and the results can be seen on Sunday's primetime premiere (8/7c). The premise is simple: Take a millionaire to "the other side of the tracks" and let them live in poverty for a whole week. Arrange for said millionaire to volunteer in local outreach organizations, places that are usually operating on a limited budget. At the end of the week, reveal the secret identity of the millionaire as he/she writes big checks to these organizations. Cue the violins, and let the tears roll.
It's that last part—writing the checks—that bothered Johnson the most. Not that she can't afford it, and not that she's stingy. Johnson—who earned her millions as a motivational speaker, author, and founder of a financial advising firm —is a devout Christian and quite generous. She and husband Hans run King's Ransom, a non-profit foundation dedicated to giving and serving people in need around the globe.
But Johnson prefers to write her checks in private, based on Matthew 6:1-4, where Jesus says not to do our "acts of righteousness before men," but to do our giving "in secret." So why'd she ultimately say yes? Because Scripture (Matthew 5:14-16) also calls us to "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
For Sunday's episode of Secret Millionaire, Johnson 42, traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., and lived in a scuzzy apartment for a week while doing volunteer work with several charities. We spoke with Johnson ...