SEATTLE — The new survival reality show “Outlast” features a contestant from Washington state.
Dawn Nelson is from a small town on the east side of the state.
"Probably the best way to say it is Creston, Washington, out by Grand Coulee Dam,” she said. “Crowds are not really my main thing in life.”
The crowd on “Outlast” is small - 16 people, who are left on an Alaskan island in the fall/winter with few resources. Contestants can only win the game by working together in teams. Whichever group outlasts the rest wins up to $1 million.
Nelson’s experience growing up on a remote ranch in the Northwest gave her confidence about her abilities to compete.
“Oh heck yeah. The survival part, I had no worry about,” she said. “We have all four seasons here. I know cold. It was always the social aspect of this game that I knew was going to get me."
Some other contestants proved they would go to any length to win, even if it meant sabotaging others.
“I would say (it’s like) if ‘Survivor’ and ‘Alone’ had a baby and then added in ‘As The World Turns,’” Nelson said with a laugh. "About four people who were on the show, if they were on fire on the side of the road, I would toss a bottle of water at them but I probably wouldn't open it."
While the results of the show aren’t yet known, the experience did change Nelson’s life in a different way: she became a phlebotomist/lab assistant following her time in the wilderness.
"I actually went almost hypothermic one night,” she said. "It was one of those things like, ‘Oh my gosh, I probably could have fixed this if I'd known a little bit more,’ and that was the beginning of something.”
Despite rough waters with some other contestants, Nelson has no regrets about signing on to the show.
“I would do it all over again in an instant,” she said. "I didn't put on airs. I wasn't going for 15 minutes of fame. I did it all for myself. And I hope people get some entertainment out of it."
“Outlast” debuts on Netflix Friday, March 10.