By Tricia Massey

In previous columns, I have mentioned to you that the reality television show “Survivor” is my all-time favorite show. Three years ago I submitted an application and video but never heard from the producers.

Recently, a friend e-mailed me the link to an announcement about an open casting call for “Survivor.” I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. The CBS station in Greenville, SC, hosted the call Jan. 21 in Travelers Rest, SC.

When you apply for “Survivor” you submit a video, application, passport picture and proof of passport or application for one. Since this was an open casting call, applicant videos were done on the spot.

If you’ve seen an episode of “Survivor” and know anything about me, you can quickly observe that I’m not the ideal contestant. All my body parts are original with no enhancements; the only body piercings I have are in my earlobes and the only tattoos I have are the designs my varicose veins are quickly making on my legs.

Nevertheless, I was going to attend the open casting call because I thought it would be a great experience. When I arrived at 1:00, there were so many people at the location that I almost didn’t get out of the car. However, I parked and grabbed my folder of materials and made my way to the line.

After finding out where to go and what to do, I made my way to the back of the registration line at 1:10. I met a lot of people who shared their personal life stories. Among them were a retired female army sergeant who is now a high school English teacher; a text messaging, phone calling and overly confident salesman; a mechanic, a father-and-son duo, and a self-proclaimed professional wrestler. We were all intrigued with the wrestler so we spent a lot of time talking to him, during which it became clear to me he would probably not get far if he made it onto “Survivor.”

At 3:30 I made it to the end of the line just to register! I was given number A-190 and was told to wait until it was called. I went back to my car for about 20 minutes and turned the heat on full blast to warm my toes. I was worried that a spy for the producers was watching me and making note of my inability to wait in line in 38-degree weather.

At 4:00 I walked back to the waiting area and met up with some of new friends. The father-son pair and I spent the next hour and half talking about what we should say for our video. As we were doing this, people were exiting the building looking extremely relieved since they had just finished their video interviews and all of them were trying to bum cigarettes from people.

A-190 was called at 5:25. I was so nervous when I actually saw the camera and the staff of “Survivor.” While waiting your turn, you are watching other hopefuls give their 2 1/2-minute video talk on why they are the ultimate Survivor. When it was my turn, you can imagine the butterflies and anxiety that built up knowing that all these people were watching. I really have no idea what I said; I think I was a babbling idiot. When my time was up, I let out a big “Waa-hoo” and twirled the microphone. In doing so, the microphone broke off the cord and went flying across the room, probably along with my chances of making the cut.

That might explain why I haven’t received my call to be one of the 800 who make it for the face-to-face interviews. But, I was one of 614 who endured the cold January weather for over five hours to give a 2 1/2-minute pep talk about why they should choose me.

The experience was a lot more fun than just submitting a video in the mail. And even though I will never make it on the show, I have a t-shirt to prove I survived the open casting call of “Survivor.”

Tricia Massey is a stay-at-home mom, a member of the Commerce Downtown Development Authority and chairs the Commerce Public Library’s capital campaign.

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