I’ve been so excited to see how the Show Us What You Got participants would do in a survival setting ever since I learned about the opportunity for survival newbies to give “the Everest of Survival” experiences a go.
I am jealous that I wasn’t selected for the experience, but also a little not jealous; I’m watching this episode in a t-shirt drinking a cold, orange-flavored La Croix. So while I may be nearly naked, I’m protected by my trusty goldendoodle. And I am not thirsty.
Thousands of people applied for Naked and Afraid’s Show Us What You Got experience and the show’s casting directors narrowed the field down to 9 charismatic people. Fans ultimately chose the folks selected, and the series’ casting director revealed that Kristin and Paolo were winners by a landslide. It’s pretty obvious why; both are incredibly attractive and Kristin is as sweet and bubbly as you could hope and Paolo has an on-air charisma that is incredibly appealing.
Age 32, Ohio
Mom of 2
Kristin is afraid of being naked and “Things coming at my privates that should definitely not be in my privates.” Me too, sister!
Paolo Di Girolamo
Age 26, Massachusetts
Paolo grew up loving the outdoors and has spent much of his life seeking adventure.
A month before leaving for Nicaragua, each participant learned the basics of fire-making, shelter-building and basic trapping. I learned that the experts who taught Kristin and Paolo are the very same Naked and Afraid experts who assign the PSRs! Their online videos are a must-watch for anyone interested in applying for the show.
This isn’t the first time Naked and Afraid has ventured to Nicaragua, home to rain forests, poisonous snakes, and thick jungles.
Paolo arrives chilling in the back of a pineapple truck. Kristin is nervous to be naked.
Initial Primitive Survival Rating (PSR)
Paolo- 4.2 out of 10.0
Kristin- 3.6 out of 10.0
They’ve been given a knife, and Kristin brought a fire starter, and Paolo brought 30lb. fishing line.
On the tough insertion hike, Kristin reveals that Naked and Afraid is her favorite show (mine too, new BFF!) but quickly wishes that she had shoes. They set up camp near an awesome waterfall, and build their shelter tucked into the nooks and crannies of a pretty amazing tree.
That night, they settle into their less-than-stellar (but still waaay better than I could do) shelter for a long first night. Their camp was visited by a few four-legged unknowns, which would have made me soil my shelter.
The next morning, they try to make fire. I remember watching Kristin’s fire-making video and she isn’t doing some of the things that her instructor taught her.
They also head to the waterfall, where Paolo bravely drinks some of the untreated water. And, when Kristin catches a frog, Paolo looses it while taking to the camera.
Kristin is feeling pretty dehydrated and since Paolo isn’t feeing ill-effects from yesterday’s water, she imbibes too. The waterfall is so pretty, that they almost look like they’re in a romantic tourism video.
But that night, they freeze.
They want fire. They know that fire means warmth, protection and relief from the relentless bugs. Paolo shows Kristin’s bug-chewed back and I know that I would be as miserable as she is. Bugs just find us ladies irresistible! After a few unsuccessful tries, Eureka! — they have fire! Good job team, making fire is one of the skills that Naked and Afraid’s casting director told me that participants absolutely must master before being cast on the show. So if you want to be a future participant, read what else she told me that you have to know.
Now that they have warmth, light and security, Paolo set out in search of food. He wages war against a few crabs (and loses), so decides to engage in a little hand-to-scale combat with a deadly coral snake. Armed with a stick, Paolo pokes the snake and smashes it with a rock.
Since these are fans of the show, it’s nice to hear them refer to past episodes as places where they’ve learned some of their survival skills.
After eating, Paolo crows, “Now I’m just naked, not afraid.” Kristin immediately calls him out on using that same cheese-ball line in his 60-second application video. (Here’s Kristin’s application video too).
Then they try to make bird traps. Kristin decides that she hates Paolo’s fishing line. Frustrated, Kristin heads down to the water source, and enjoys the sweet sounds of nature. The bird traps also frustrate Paolo, who rolled his eyes at Kristin earlier. I think there may be a reason that only one show on Naked and Afraid had a successful bird trap. It’s easy to make when you have sticks and string, but when you’re improvising (and tired, and hungry) the process is really, really hard.
Paolo is starting to get frustrated at his partner. He’s annoyed that she’s happy when she’s happy. Kristin is just overjoyed at the awesomeness of the experience. But later, he asks her to focus on survival and commit herself to working hard instead of soaking in the experience.
To make it up to Paolo, Kristin makes him an awesome box trap, which thrills her partner.
They still haven’t really eaten. Paolo tries to flog a lizard to death and I may have heard the lizard laugh as it scampered away.
Paolo reveals that he hasn’t pooped in a week. Eew, Paolo, T.M.I.
Back at camp, Paolo loses his balance and falls over. He’s got nothing left. That night, he is despondent.
Nature does the duo a solid and they find a bird in their trap. Kristin proudly kills the beast. “We’re having wings tonight!” she cheers.
That night, with full bellies, they thank each other for being good partners.
Their extraction hike is pretty grueling and vertical. As they walk, Kristin teases Paolo about how much he stinks. Full bellies make people so much more playful! But their hike is still dangerous and they have to focus and fight for every inch they gain.
Eventually, they stumble out of the valley and into a waiting ambulance. Unlike past participants, they are shown drinking water immediately and covered with blankets.
Over the course of 14 days, Paolo lost 35 pounds and his PSR rose from 4.2 to 5.1 out of 10.0.
Kristin lost a total of 11 pounds and her PSR rose from 3.6 to 4.4 out of 10.0.
Back home, Kristin was overjoyed to see her adorable children and eat the world’s tastiest sandwich. Paolo is addicted to the experience and would happily try a full 21-day challenge. What do you think, should the producers give him a chance? Are you tough enough to give it a try? I think I could handle 14 days, 21 days seems like a really, really, really long time.