Rochester Hills native competes in ‘Survivor’

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 25, 2019

 Lauren Beck, a former resident of Rochester Hills, will appear in the 39th season of “Survivor."

Lauren Beck, a former resident of Rochester Hills, will appear in the 39th season of “Survivor."

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Lauren Beck, a former resident of Rochester Hills, will appear in the 39th season of “Survivor,” which premiered at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 on CBS.

Beck, who went to Van Hoosen Middle School and graduated from Rochester Adams High School in 2007, will compete against 19 other contestants on “Survivor: Island of the Idols,” for the chance to win $1 million. 

The 29-year-old said she has been a longtime fan of the Emmy-award winning television show, which she has regularly watched since she was 11.

“Because I am so opposite of what the show embodies, it’s something that I have always been drawn to,” she said.

Beck admitted that camping and spending time in the great outdoors have never really been her “jam.”

“I’m a princess,” she said. “I like the comfort of my home and my bed and my blankets. And I love makeup and hair and all of that stuff.”

Despite her love for modern-day amenities, Beck — who now serves as a nanny in Glendale, California — said she has always wanted to audition for the show. 

“It’s something that has always been in the back of my mind. I just didn’t know if I was ready to do it, because there is a lot of preparation that goes into preparing for ‘Survivor,’” she said.

She was encouraged to audition by the family she works for, who has ties to host Jeff Probst and gave her the chance to hand-deliver her audition video during a festival.

“I see my boss talking to Jeff … and I had the thumb drive in my pocket. So I was like, ‘It’s go time.’ And I walked over and I was like, ‘This is my audition tape. I want to be on the show,’” she said.

Just days later she got word that she had made it to casting and would have to go through another round of cuts, but she eventually made it onto the show. 

“I just knew it was meant to be,” Beck said. 

She wasted no time in preparing and hired a survival coach and a balance coach to help whip her into shape. Beck immediately stopped drinking coffee and wine, turned her air conditioning off and started taking cold showers. She was taught how to use a machete, build a shelter, make fire, tell time by looking at the sun, make traps to kill rodents, and balance on a basketball, and she started sleeping outside.

“There’s nothing that I would not do in order to be fully prepared to go out there,” she said. “I practiced … just to sort of get me out of my comfort zone before I went on TV, so that way I wasn’t completely in shock. I’m really glad I did, because I definitely had a couple of breakdowns,” she said. “It was all very weird. The first time I slept outside I cried like a baby. Granted, I am a very emotional person, so there are a lot of tears, but I was so glad that I did it there first.”

Beck said her experience on air has helped her tremendously in life.

“I learned everything. I literally feel like if something happens and I’m outside and not in civilization, I could fend for myself,” she said. “There are so many things that I have taken away from this experience … things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. And I love to be outside now.”

“Survivor: Island of the Idols” was filmed near the end of March 2019 in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. The show features two former winners, Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine, who return to the game not to compete, but to serve as mentors to the group of 20 new castaways. 

“For our 39th season, we are bringing back two of our most dominant winners to serve as mentors to a new group of castaways,” executive producer and host Jeff Probst said in a release. “It’s a ‘Survivor’ bootcamp where each week, players will be instructed on a different facet of the game and then have a chance to test what they’ve learned for a shot at an advantage.”

During the 39 days of the show, some castaways will have the opportunity to visit the Island of the Idols to learn skills and strategy from these “idols.” Players 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 and 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, according to producers.

To find out how far Beck advances, tune in to CBS on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. through Dec. 18.

For more detailed information on “Survivor” and the castaways, log onto www.cbs.com/survivor.

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.

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