A Woodbine resident will be the second Whitley County native to go for the $1 million cash prize when the newest season of the hit reality TV show “Survivor” premieres its new season on CBS Sept. 25.
Forty-one-year-old Elaine Stott said she’d tried out four times to be on the show with no luck. Recently, her godmother encouraged her to give it another shot when an open casting call for the newest season took place in Bowling Green.
“I had just kind of given up on it, but she was telling me I should try again so I thought ‘why not!” Stott said. “I guess the rest is history.”
A 1996 graduate of Whitley County High School, Stott went on to attend the University of the Cumberlands on a Bert T. Combs scholarship and played on the school’s softball team. After graduation, she worked on jobs around the campus until being hired at AISIN Automotive Casting in Lily, where she’s worked for the last 15 years.
Being a reliable, dedicated employee at AISIN; Stott said explaining her sudden departure was difficult.
“I was dependable. People who know me know I wouldn’t just quit my job, so it was hard not being able to tell people what you’ve been doing,” Stott said. “But you know what … life only happens once, and you’ve got to chase it.”
In an official press release, CBS announced the 20 castaways who will compete on season 39 of “Survivor.” This season’s show is being called “Island of Idols,” and takes place on Fiji where previous “Survivor” seasons have been set.
The season has already been filmed, and Stott said being on “Survivor” was the most amazing experience of her life.
“It’s a lot harder than you’d think, but I’d go back in a New York minute,” she said. “I’m a redneck, so I like being outside. It was awesome. I felt right at home.”
She said watching herself on television will be strange.
“When they called me, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’d been on a fork truck for three years and I’d put on 50 lbs. I was out of shape like you wouldn’t believe,” she said. “Seeing myself on TV looking rough like that, it’s going to be different. But, it is what it is. I can’t wait for it to actually start.”
This edition of “Survivor” features two legendary winners, Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine, who return to the game to serve as mentors to a group of 20 new castaways. Combined, Boston Rob and Sandra have played over 200 days of “Survivor” and plan to share their knowledge with the new castaways, but for the first time, they won’t be competing for the money. During the 39 days, some castaways will have the opportunity to visit the Island of the Idols to learn skills and strategy from these “idols.” Each player, selected to visit the special island in various ways throughout the season, will have to decide if they should put their knowledge to the test for a chance at a possible advantage in the game, or risk losing something very important in the process. Those who can rise up to the challenge will possibly gain an advantage and continue their individual quest for $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor.
Nick Wilson, another Whitley County native and graduate of Whitley County High School, won season 37 of “Survivor.” He still lives locally and is an attorney.
Stott said she didn’t know Wilson and had never met him before the show.
“He’s younger than me, and people were asking me if I knew him since we were from the same town,” she said. “It’s crazy there’s two of us now right from this area.”
“Survivor: Island of Idols” has a 90-minute premier Wednesday, Sept. 25 on CBS at 8:00 p.m.