The producers of Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid” insist that they didn’t create the show to be sensational, but rather to add a new level of challenge to the survivalist reality television genre.
“It’s not about the nudity,” executive producer Steve Renkin said during the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.
“It’s about the survival,” he continued. “And it’s really a relationship show between a man and a woman.”
The producers were joined by former contenders of the show. Together, they explained the hardships of the 21-day experience and how to prepare for it.
1. Prepare for your nude feet, as well.
“I walked around barefoot for months,” contender Dani Julien said.
“Things like being barefoot, that was one of the worse parts of the challenge for me,” contender Justin Bullard added. “It’s absolutely horrible walking around barefoot in the deserts of Madagascar with no shoes. We all tried walking around barefoot, hiking barefoot, to get our feet prepared.”
2. Put on some pounds.
“I think most people make an effort to put on a couple pounds and to beef up on the protein and go heavy duty on the vitamins,” said executive producer, Mathilde Bittner. “So, when we’re rolling out to the field we’re in the best physical shape we can.”
“I gained some weight before I went down,” Julien said. “I gained about 10 pounds.”
3. Get a tan.
“I went to the tanning booth, so I wouldn’t get burnt,” Julien said.
4. Get your mind straight.
“Most of all, I did mostly mental prep before I went out,” Julien said. “I ran through every worse case scenario and worked through it as if it actually happened. In case it did arise, I was ready.”
5. Prepare to hate the cameras.
“It’s interesting, because we’re following them around and we always want to be there for the moments of triumph,” Bittner said. “Sometimes, [the contenders] are at such a low point emotionally, they’re suffering and struggling. They don’t want the camera on them, because they haven’t been able to find food for a week. So, the camera is actually an annoyance. And it was never personal, it was always about the camera.
“Naked and Afraid” airs Saturdays at 10/9c on Discovery Channel.