Treasure Island with Bear Grylls: Interview with Emily

Category: Press Pack Article

Why did you want to go on Treasure Island?

Me and my husband were watching the celebrity version and at the end Bear asked if anybody wanted to do the show themselves because they were taking applications now. I said to my husband that I was going to apply and he made a bit of a joke about it which just made me want to do it even more. My life revolves around my husband and my kids, I feel like I’ve lost my identity. You grow up, you get a house, you get a mortgage and then you have kids, if I’m not running around after the kids I’m running around after my husband, there is no time for me anymore. I feel like over the years I’ve lost who I am and I wanted to know if I could find out who I was again. I just thought the idea of being stuck on a desert island and only worrying about me was really appealing and I thought I could do it. I really thought I had got it in me to do that.

What did you make of Bear Grylls when you met him?

I don’t know really what I was expecting of him but he’s a really nice guy. We didn’t get enough time to spend with him to really get to know him. I feel like I can take life for granted a bit and when you meet him all he seems to care about in life is survival and what nature is doing to help the planet. The way he looks at the world is very different to the rest of us, he just loves nature, the simple things in life. You don’t meet a lot of people in life who are like that. The main bit of advice he gave us was really to think about everything we needed for survival, so a camp, a water source and of course a fire. He said we had to make sure that was a priority as soon as we got on the island, they are our main life lines, he said if we got all of those in place we would survive. All I was worried about was if I was going to get my hair wet, how stupid is that?

What were you most nervous about before you got on the island?

What’s really weird is I think I went into autopilot because I wasn’t really scared of anything. I don’t think I really sat back and thought about what it was going to be like, I just thought it was nice that I will be on my own for a while not having to think about the kids, what my husband was doing or what I had to make for tea that night. So I wasn’t nervous about anything, I was more excited about what I was going to do and how I was going to spend my time when all I had to think about was myself and not the children. I’m a home bird, I don’t like being out in nature. I like having all my creature comforts around me, my beauty products, I’m a pampered princess! But at the end of the day I’ve given birth to two children so I figured I could just do anything if I set my mind to it. If anything I was overconfident, I assumed it was all going to be fine!

What did you make of the other islanders?

Oh my God, the first thing I thought was, “Who have you put me with?”. I have to admit when I meet people I judge them on first impressions, how they are towards me, are they friendly? Their mannerisms and how they carry themselves. I was listening to them talking to other people and trying to pick up if they had an accent and there were a few people that I looked at and heard and just knew that I wasn’t going to get on with them. I was just like, “I don’t like the way you dress, I don’t like the way you speak, I don’t know what you have done with your hair, I just don’t like the way you carry yourself and you’re not the type of person I would hang out with.” I even looked at a few people and just thought that I would never meet someone like that, because someone like that wouldn’t be in my friendship circle. I just thought I was going to have to stay away from those people on the island because I would have absolutely nothing in common with them. I’ve always been raised not to say anything if you’ve got nothing nice to say, so I thought I was going to be quiet for most of my time on the island. But then I also saw people whose lifestyle was very different to mine and it looked like they were living the best life. I really thought that I wasn’t going to fit in because I didn’t see anybody there that looked like they could be friends with me, they were all so different.

Did you bond with anyone?

As soon as I saw Ruby I knew we were going to be friends. I had actually seen her at the airport because we were on the same flight and I remember thinking she looked really cool and the kind of girl that I would want to be friends with. She was in her gym gear, her hair was nice, her make up looked good and I just thought she was my kind of girl. I just knew we were going to get on really well. Everyone on the island was very excitable at the start and they’re all talking about themselves which is not something that I really do, I’m quite reserved on that front, so I sat back and just took it all in to start with. I’m quite a level person so I thought I would be able to get on with everybody eventually but I did gravitate towards Ruby and Elissa. The weird thing about me and Elissa is that even though we are similar in age our lives are so different. She is a strong independent woman, she goes to all these events, she is very glamorous, she is probably what I would be if I wasn’t married with kids. It was brilliant being around her, hearing all the stories and seeing how she carried herself because I just thought, “Wow, we are the similar ages but are lives are just so different.”

This is the first time they’ve introduced money to the series, what did you think about that?

The money was a motivator and that was what was going to drive me on a bad day. The fact that I was away from my husband and children for so long I needed to make it worth my while so the money became very important to me. I didn’t need to go out there on an adventure, I didn’t need to figure myself out or think of what I wanted in life because I’ve got it at home, but I wanted that money. Being able to go home with a load of money for my husband and my kids was what was going to keep me on the island no matter what. The thing for me is when it came to the money I thought of it as two separate things, so it was about surviving on the island, that was one thing, and any money I could find was separate to that, and any money I found away from camp with others would be split between ourselves.

It was unlikely I was going to share any money I found with anyone else on the island, my husband and I had spoken about this before I left and he was fully supportive of what I wanted to do. I felt that way because of how I have been brought up, I’ve never been given anything, I’ve had to work for everything, I’ve had to fight for everything, so I felt like I deserved this money. I don’t have the mentality of sharing something with people I don’t know. I had to think about my family first, even if that made me really selfish. I knew going out there that as lovely as these people might be they don’t pay my mortgage, they don’t pay my bills, so everything I was going to do, I was doing for myself. I decided that anything I found I would keep no matter what. We all had our own ideas about what we wanted to do with the money, and mine was going to be for my family.

How did the others react when they found out you had been hiding money?

The problem we had is from the very beginning we never sat down as a group and decided what we were going to do about the money, we just never talked about it. Nobody was honest about what they wanted to do with the money, it was just one of those things we never talked about, so nobody really knew if people were out trying to find money and if they had had any luck. After a couple of days we were all sitting in camp and Morag questioned Marco about whether he had found any money and he admitted he had. That was the first time anyone had ever admitted they had found money. It came out that Marco and Ivar had found money, then Elissa admitted she had found money too. I wasn’t ready to tell anybody that I had found money because I wanted to see how they all reacted to the others before I came clean about what I had found and I wanted to discuss with Elissa what our story was going to be. So I kept quiet which was probably a bad mistake to make. Rumours had started I had found money, and Cat found out, that it wasn’t the way I had originally told everybody, keeping quiet had truly backfired on me.

So money really did change people on the island?

A lot of people were talking about their money situation at home and I just didn’t think that needed to be said on the island, we all have our reasons for wanting money and I didn’t need to feel guilty about not handing over what I had found just because someone else’s situation at home is different to mine. I don’t think you need to learn how much somebody earned or what car they drove at home, or how they live their life. As far as I’m concerned on the island all that mattered was whether somebody was nice or not, would they give me a hug if I needed it?

You go back to basics on the island, how did you find the personal hygiene side of things?

The main issue for me was feeling clean, because it’s a big thing for me, I love all my products at home and I knew I was going to struggle with that side of things. The worst thing was about three weeks in I started scratching like crazy, it was like my skin was on fire because I was getting bitten by sandflies. You would wake up in the morning and be covered in little stings and it’s almost like chickenpox where they blister slightly and then they pop, so all of a sudden you would feel something cold running down your leg, look down and the spots are bleeding. It was so gross and we all looked a total mess because we were all in the same boat when it came to those sandflies.

How did you find the food situation?

Do you know what? I was absolutely fine with the food situation because I love the idea of going to different countries and trying different delicacies. On the island it was like we were living a paleo life, which is something I do at home anyway. So I try to eat natural whole foods where possible and I don’t eat sugar and we don’t really eat that many carbs at home, and everything has to be natural. Then about two or three times a year I will do a juice detox, so all I will eat for a week is juices to cleanse my system. So actually on the island I felt absolutely fine because we had breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. It wouldn’t be portions you would expect at home but it was more than enough to survive on, I thought we ate well, lots of things from the sea and we even had coconuts. I just don’t think I was ever very hungry and I think weirdly your survival instinct kicks in when you know there is a lack of food. So I kind of stopped thinking about it and that meant I never really felt hungry.

How much weight did you lose?

The weird thing is when I came off the island but I’d only lost about a kilo, but when I looked in the mirror I looked a right state. I’m not a big girl so I don’t have much fat on me anyway, but you just lose all your muscle and you look like a skeleton. You just look gaunt, skinny and awful. It was a real shock, I’m not going to lie!