April 29, 2019 07:33 AM
WEBSTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Webster native bared it all on national TV, competing on Discovery Channel’s "Naked and Afraid."
A world away from Webster where he grew up, Dan Link found himself stranded in the wilderness of Chiapas, Mexico without even the clothes on his back.
The 27-year-old was armed with a fire starter and mosquito net, meeting his survival partner Holly after they both stripped down on camera. It was certainly a way to break the ice, as the pair met on day one of their televised survival challenge.
“I had seen a few episodes of the show, enough to know what I was getting into. But once it started getting real I started to obsessively watch the show to try to figure out, try to see what helped people succeed, not succeed,” shared Dan Link from the comfort of his Hawaii home after filming.
The biologist-turned-reality-TV-star moved from the Rochester region to Hawaii a few years ago.
“Some of the islands I work on, if there was a medical emergency it would take longer to get to a hospital than if you had an emergency on the International Space Station,” shared Link, referring to the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where he works as a field biologist.
He took that experience with him, knowing you have to have the forethought on everything you do in order to survive a remote area.
“You have to have the same mentality in this challenge. If you get a cut, even a small one and it gets infected, you’re out,” he explained.
To prepare, he would binge watch episodes of "Naked and Afraid" and would talk to former contestants.
“I practiced so many physical things, fire making skills, I practiced traps, snares, building shelters. But by far the hardest part of being out there is the mental aspect,” said Link.
Link said he applied for the show on a whim, seeing a Facebook post during his lunch break.
“I sent one sentence, sent one picture. About a half an hour later, I got a phone call from the casting manager and had an impromptu two-hour interview that afternoon,” he recalled.
That conversation led to a few more interviews, before the reality started to sink in.
He said the experience changed his perspective, especially on the basic necessities most of us take for granted.
“Even just a water bottle. You struggle to find something that holds water, that purifies water. Every single thing out there you have to fight for it, it takes so much energy and calculated moves,” he expressed.
He added, “you’re out there with nothing. Every little thing you have is crucial to your survival and you think, ‘oh, how nice it would be to have a little ranch dressing’ hahaha!”
Of course, the first thing he did when he got done with the survival challenge was eat.
“I ate like crazy for almost a month. All the weight I lost, I gained back in a week.”
While his episode, titled "What the Duck," aired Sunday night, it will replay on Discovery.
Updated: April 29, 2019 07:33 AM
Created: April 29, 2019 07:29 AM
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