Episode #168- Naked, Afraid, and Rehabilitating Animals with Samantha Cline

Yesterday was Halloween, but we aren’t focusing on ghost stories this week because we play by Victorian rules. In other words, ghostly tales are reserved for Christmas, it should take at least two hours to get properly dressed, we run our respective households based on the advice from “Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management,” and if you belong to an underground sex club, we want all the details. That being said, if you want some supernatural tales, let us know. We have some good ones. Just don’t invoke the term “spooky season” when asking — we’ve been over this before. We’re not afraid of much but are terrified of arbitrary seasons created by cable television. (Looking at you, Hallmark. Why did you start twenty-four hours of holiday movies starting on October 22? It’s madness!)

So, while there aren’t any ghosts in this episode, there is someone who was famously afraid. This week we spoke with Samantha Cline, who survived an entire season of an extremely strenuous reality show. She also works in a wildlife rescue, so we chatted with her about her work there, her love of the outdoors, and why she was the ideal candidate to be on that particular reality program.

We fully acknowledge that we would be terrible on reality shows, no matter the focus. Heidi refuses to bake desserts under pressure from anyone and Luke can’t settle on an audition song for his singing competition dreams. “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” is crowd-pleaser (particularly with the audience call and response of “hey, you” and “who, me?”), but has it been done to death? Probably. But one thing is for certain when considering applying for a show — if you’re looking for a reality program to be on, “Naked and Afraid” isn’t the natural choice. Unless you’re Samantha Cline.

Samantha made it through the twenty-one-day challenge to survive in the wild on “Naked and Afraid.” She’s pretty savvy when it comes to living in and respecting the wilderness. Along with her love of the outdoors, she also works as a wildlife rehabilitator at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke. We spoke with Samantha about her work, including the difference between wildlife rescue and wildlife rehabilitation. We also asked her to dish on any animals that were particular troublemakers, but to her credit she wouldn’t badmouth them. Though Samantha did explain why racoons and skunks weren’t welcome rehabilitation candidates.

Given her interests, it’s no surprise that Samantha thought the reality wilderness challenge was right up her alley. She gave us all the details about whether the contestants know ahead of time where they’re going and what they can bring. (The partial answers to both are kind of but not specifically… so not really.) Regarding the “afraid” aspect of challenge, Samantha didn’t feel too much of it unless some of the animals got too close. As for the “naked” part, she filled us in on how weird it actually was to go about surviving in the wild with nothing on. For three weeks. With a partner she had never met before.

Food and energy obviously played a major role in getting through the challenge. Samantha talked with us about food availability and how she eased back into everyday eating after the show was over. She also talked about potential breaking points in her filming of the show and whether she was always conscious of the film crew being right there all the time. We gained some serious perspective about how the show is made and were reminded that heavy robes and the deserts of Africa don’t mix. Seriously, couldn’t the Discovery Channel spring for silk robes after everything Samantha went through?

Ultimately, Samantha divulged whether she’d actually do the show again and how much drama she drummed up. And while she’d be a great partner for wilderness survival, if she chooses to do it again, we’ll give it a hard pass and let her pair with someone who won’t hold her back with their incessant interview questions and attempts to build a cute pair of shoes out of jungle vines and tree sap. But if Samantha needs someone to help her make Mrs. Beeton’s famous arrowroot blancmange or know when to send invitation cards before hosting a gala dinner, we’ll be here for her!

For more information on Samantha, you can follow her on Instagram, and for more on her important work, check out the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center in Roanoke, Virginia.

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