QUICK NOTE: The good folks at XFINITY sent me deep into the Fijian wilderness to bring you an exclusive look at “Survivor: Ghost Island.” While I was there I conducted interviews with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and the entire cast. I also captured exclusive photos and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Name: Jenna Bowman
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Current Residence: Venice Beach, California
Occupation: Advertising Account Executive
Gordon Holmes: I’ve been doing this for a long time. This is the first time I’m going to start out an interview like this. Are you ready?
Jenna Bowman: I hope so…
Bowman: My least favorite word.
Bowman: I don’t know. It makes me cringe. You know how some people can’t stand the worst “moist”?
Holmes: Yes, that’s a big one.
Bowman: The p-word…that’s my word. Isn’t that weird?
Holmes: We all have our things, but it’s not even like a curse word.
Bowman: I’m fine with curse words.
Holmes: All of them?
Bowman: Yeah. Every single one.
Holmes: Every one?
Bowman: Yeah. The c-word? I say it all the time. My mom is very offended. But someone said it and I thought it was kinda cute once. But the p-word? Nope.
Bowman: And the emoji? I don’t get why people use that emoji.
Holmes: You’re out there and before a challenge someone’s like, “Let’s kick the poop out of this tribe.” Are you done?
Bowman: I’ll say, “Let’s kick the (expletive deleted) out of them.”
Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Bowman: I have this outer shell personality. And then I have this inner personality that not a ton of people know about. The shell I’m very cold, unapproachable, I get resting bitch face a lot. People tell me, “She’s not happy.” Homeless people will come up to me on the streets and say, “Girl, you need to smile.” In my brain I’m happy, it’s just my muscles don’t move that way.
Holmes: Lemme see.
Bowman: (Sits casually)
Holmes: It doesn’t seem negative.
Bowman: If I’m looking at something it shows. So, I think my real side has shown through and that’s what casting saw.
Holmes: The game starts in casting.
Bowman: Oh yeah.
Holmes: Is this resting bitch face thing a concern?
Bowman: Absolutely. It’s hard because when you can’t talk, that’s the first impression they get of you. I’m not good at first impressions. I can tell with where people sit at lunch…I don’t get a ton of people sitting by me. I could be the first person to go.
Holmes: Is there anything about your backstory that you’re going to lie about?
Bowman: I don’t think so. Maybe that I’m not diehard fan. It hasn’t been my whole life. I grew up without a TV. I hadn’t watched it in ten years, but I’ve binge watched it ever since then.
Holmes: So if anyone asks, you’re the biggest fan.
Bowman: Right, and I am a big fan. But I haven’t seen every season. And I don’t have that quick recall if someone says, “Oh, in season twelve…”
Holmes: I don’t have that kind of recall and it says “Survivor Guy” on my business card.
Holmes: Any ethical boundaries as far as lying, cheating, stealing?
Bowman: No. Absolutely not. It’s a game. I hate how in “Game Changers” everyone was so emotional and gave Sarah (expletive deleted). It’s like Michaela said, “It’s a game, you’re here to win.” If you don’t have enemies on the jury, then you didn’t play right.
Holmes: Any issues with flirting?
Holmes: Anyone back home who’s going to get mad if they see you putting the moves on someone?
Bowman: No, I’m single. I’m not ready to settle down. I’m on Bumble and Tinder and I like to have fun.
Holmes: I’m an old married man, I’m going to need you to explain what Bumble is.
Bowman: You just swipe left or right based on what they look like. Whether they’re hot or not.
Holmes: So, it’s just like Tinder?
Bowman: Bumble’s a little classier because the woman gets to start the conversation. You don’t have these guys like, saying disgusting things.
Holmes: You’re in the dark as far as twists and whatnot. What do you think is going on here?
Bowman: I have no idea. Everyone seems to be pretty fit and have the same build and age-range. But then you have random old people. I really don’t know.
Holmes: How are you handling the stress?
Bowman: If I’m not the first person voted out, that’s a win. I already cried in front of Jeff Probst. He had to hug me because I was bawling my eyes out.
Holmes: What upset you?
Bowman: I wasn’t upset, I think it was an overwhelming happy feeling. I haven’t even been on the show yet and it’s already changed my life in a way. When I was in casting, that’s when they laid it on me. They said, “You’re really cold, nobody here likes you. I’m the only one rooting for you.” And when Jeff Probst tells you that, you’re like holy (expletive deleted). Yesterday was the first day I saw him since that happened. All of the sudden, and I never cry, well, I watch engagement videos on YouTube, and I just started crying my eyes out. He had to hug me. It was weird.
Holmes: Engagement videos get me. Or like when a soldier comes home….
Bowman: Oh! Me too!
Holmes: Like when a returning soldier’s pet freaks out.
Bowman: Or like if they’re in a box at a baseball game. Those ones, me and my friend watch those all the time.
Holmes: Alright, I’ll give you two scenarios, you let me know which one you would prefer.
Holmes: Align with a Hillary supporter or a Trump supporter?
Bowman: Trump supporter because I voted for him.
Holmes: Would you rather steal a vote or eliminate a juror?
Bowman: Eliminate a juror. I’m planning on having some angry ones.
Holmes: Endurance challenge or word puzzle?
Bowman: I don’t know. I’ve never done a puzzle under pressure. Endurance…your adrenaline is racing. I’ll go puzzle.
Holmes: Align with a racist or a sexist?
Bowman: I hate racists, so I’ll go with the sexist.
Holmes: Voted out first or before the final Tribal?
Bowman: Final Tribal.
Holmes: Align with an adulterer or a tax cheat?
Bowman: I hate adulterers. If you can’t stay true to your spouse…
Holmes: Lose the family challenge or win and have to decide who to take?
Bowman: I want to win because it’d make my dad proud. And then I’d take surfer boy.
Holmes: Is your dad a fan?
Bowman: He watched it a while ago. But he’s proud I’m here.
Holmes: Caught stealing food or idol hunting?
Bowman: Idol hunting. You can talk your way out of it. Everyone wants to do it. But if you’re stealing food you’re kind of a bad person.
Holmes: Align with a superfan or someone who doesn’t watch the show?
Bowman: A superfan.
Holmes: Dance challenge or karaoke challenge?
Bowman: Karaoke…Celine Dion…”My Heart Will Go On.” No question about it. I’ll throw out a Whitney Houston every now and then.
NOTE: The cast members do not know each other’s names at this point. I showed Jenna a picture of each of her competitors and asked her to share her first impressions.
Bowman: Can I be mean?
Bowman: And no one will see this till the end.
Holmes: This recorder vanishes into a corner of my office until next February.
Bowman: I think she’s wearing a little too much makeup to be playing “Survivor.” That was my first thing. She’s hot.
Bowman: She was reading a “Game of Thrones” book. She looks like she’d be on “Game of Thrones.” Maybe she’s cool. She looks like she could be a gymnast.
Holmes: Have you ever watched “Game of Thrones.”
Bowman: I tried, but then I saw a midget watching his brother and sister have sex.
Holmes: It was a child.
Bowman: Oh was it?
Holmes: Yeah, that doesn’t make it better.
Bowman: Oh, then maybe he was getting a (expletive deleted).
Holmes: We can move on.
Bowman: A little Latina. She kind of reminds me of an Eva Mendes. I haven’t gotten a good read on her.
Bowman: Super nice, really genuine. I think I want to align with her because she smiles a lot.
Bowman: I want her body. She has a really good body. She looks like a personal trainer or like an Olympic swimmer.
Bowman: Kind of like a bookworm. Not someone I would gravitate towards, but probably someone who would be a really good friend.
Bowman: She has an amazing wardrobe. I want to tell her every five seconds. But, she kind of scares me.
Bowman: He lurks a lot. He’s always kind of staring. Got to watch out for him. If I’m trying to make eye contact with someone, he’s on to me. I think he’d vote me out first.
Bowman: He’s the only guy I went through casting with. So, I feel like we’ve got that initial…same casting group connection. And he waves to me. I don’t know if he’s an actual dad, but he’s a DILF.
Bowman: Real-life Ken. He probably has the same issue as me; first impressions. Upfront he looks like a dumb jock douchebag, but he’s probably like a southern Christian boy. Maybe he’s a virgin.
Bowman: I love him, he’s my little crush. Surfer boy.
Holmes: Your spirit animal.
Bowman: With his man bun. Future husband. Move to Fiji, raise our kids like little Fijians.
Holmes: I always say that. We’re out here and I’m thinking “Why go back?”
Holmes: “Honey, pack up our things and meet me here.”
Bowman: You can leave Pennsylvania and move to the islands.
Bowman: He looks like Donald Glover. Right when I saw him I thought we had a celebrity on the season. I’d kick it with him, he seems cool.
Bowman: Interesting guy. I want to talk to him to figure out how his brain works. He’s always taking notes. His notes look like they’re in another language. I think he makes up his own little language. He put a bandana on today like he was going to war.
Bowman: He looks like he’ll be strategic in everything he does. Even the way he eats breakfast in the morning. He puts Nutella in between two pieces of bread and eats like a sandwich. And he does it every morning.
Holmes: So, like a chocolate sandwich?
Bowman: I don’t know what it is. It’s weird. I think he’s OCD or something.
Bowman: He was the first person I was attracted to because we were both wearing Vans. We’d be like a cute couple.
Holmes: That’s all it takes? Matching footwear?
Bowman: (Laughs) Yeah. Everyone else was in flip flops or athletic wear.
Holmes: Guys all over the world are thinking…
Bowman: I need to get me some Vans.
Bowman: This kid always sits on the pier by himself. He’s always in deep thought. I feel like he sits there and is trying to be perceptive. He’s going to know a lot. He’s like a little rat.
Bowman: This guy is going to be evil.
Holmes: Fun evil or bad evil?
Bowman: He looks menacing. I feel like he’s going to do some damage.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes