FAIRBANKS — Two North Pole women, lifelong friends, are making their reality TV debut in which they compete against teams all vying to be the first to find a briefcase full of cash. It’s tension, drama and competition set against the backdrop of tropical locales and foreign countries to see which team can outwit others and work together to find — and keep — $100,000.
Marie Robinson, 24, of North Pole, and Aimee Fogelman, also 24 and from North Pole but now living in Los Angeles where she works as a model, are competing in the new show “72 Hours,” which debuted Thursday on the cable channel TNT. Robinson appears on the episode premiering Thursday and Fogelman appears on the episode airing June 20.
“72 Hours” follows three teams of three strangers thrown together and dropped off in the wilderness with only a GPS and a bottle of water. In 72 hours, the first team that finds the briefcase gets to keep the bounty — providing all three team members arrive at the briefcase at the same time after dealing with inclement weather, animals, hordes of insects, and of course, each other. In those three days, the teams must also find food and shelter while working as one unit to be the first team to find the briefcase.
“This was a once in a lifetime experience,” Robinson said, “and it was really exciting, overall. I’m from a small town. I got put with strangers and that experience was good for me.”
Robinson and Fogelman grew up together in North Pole where they both engaged in standard Alaska pastimes — hunting, snowmachining, skiing, boating or riding ATVs in the Bush. It was Fogelman’s modeling agency in Los Angeles that approached Fogelman about appearing on the TV show, and when Fogelman found out the producers of “72 Hours” were still casting for the show, she pitched her lifelong friend Robinson as a fellow competitor. Both women have what reality TV thrives on — outgoing, strong, vivacious personalities that work well in the world of competitive reality TV shows. That is, until outgoing, strong, vivacious personalities clash with other outgoing, strong, vivacious personalities, providing that mix of drama and angst viewers love to watch.
“There’s no role playing,” Robinson said. “They threw us in the woods and what happens, happens. They picked it right. There’s definitely a clash,” she said of team members whose strong personalities bubble over during her episode.
For the contestants, it’s not just a matter of going out and winning money, Fogelman said. Producers are looking for the right mix of competitors who are exciting and adventurous and have a passion for life.
“And that’s what intrigued me,” Fogelman said. “This is probably the least crazy thing I’ve done. The first thing my mom said was ‘I’m not worried about you, I’m worried about your teammates.’”
In Robinson’s episode, she and two other teams are left on the coast of New Zealand where they navigates thick forests, limestone cliffs and massive sand dunes. For Fogelman, it was on the Hawaiian island of Lana’i where teams makes their way across and through dense bush, abandoned beaches, steep canyons and scorching flat lands.
Neither Fogelman or Robinson told their families what they were doing until after filming wrapped, and per contractual obligations with the show, neither can talk about the outcome of each episode until that episode airs. For that information, you have to watch to see if the women are on the teams that win.
Robinson did explain to her daughter, who is almost 8 years old, that she was going to be on TV, and Robinson tried to explain to her daughter the concept of what a competitive reality TV show is.
“She’s been walking around saying, ‘My mom’s cool,’” Robinson said.
If you watch
What: “72 Hours” on the cable channel TNT
When: Marie Robinson of North Pole appears on the episode airing Thursday, June 13
When: Aimee Fogelman of North Pole appears on the episode airing Thursday, June 20
Twitter: twitter.com/72HoursTNT or search the hashtag #72HoursTNT
• “72 Hours” is hosted by Brandon Johnson
• Aimee Fogelman is on Twitter at twitter.com/TheFogez where she has been tweeting about “72 Hours.”
• Marie Robinson is on Twitter at twitter.com/AKmarie907.
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter: @FDNMfeatures.