Josh Schwadron won over $130,000 dollars on Fear Factor! Here is his exclusive NBC.com interview.
How and why did you get involved in Fear Factor?
I tried out for Fear Factor at my school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, during Fear Factor's bus tour in 2003. I wanted to be on Fear Factor very badly, not because of the money, but more so I could prove all of my doubters wrong. All my life people have been telling me what I couldn't do, instead of what I could do. I wanted to show the world I could do anything- and I think I did.
What was your reaction when you heard you'd be competing in Vegas?
When I heard I would be on Fear Factor: Las Vegas, I was excited and nervous at the same time. On one hand, I knew that the stunts would be more difficult and challenging, but on the other hand, the opportunity to film in one of America's most famous cities was just mind-boggling. The coolest thing about filming in Vegas is that for the rest of my life when I go on vacation there, I can point to a famous landmark, like Mandalay Bay hotel, and tell people I was hanging from the edge of that roof 400 ft in the air, something only 5 other people in the world can say.
What were your first impressions of the others?
I thought Bobby was more talk than substance. I wanted him to get eliminated first so I did not have someone making my muscles look smaller than they already are. Krisandra was my favorite person on the show. Not only was she smart, determined, and motivated, she was truly a nice girl and class act.
Lark, I thought was going to be the toughest of the girls to beat. She was strong in both mind and body. I was happy to see her lose to the piranhas.
Jamison was a comic. He always made me laugh. I underestimated what he could do. I thought he would be a pushover, but he turned out to be my biggest nemesis on the show. Melinda is hot. Too bad she lost in the first stunt. The show might have turned into "The Bachelor."
You said during the taxi-cab stunt that you are afraid of heights, yet
you did really well. Did the very first stunt freak you out at all? Which
stunt freaked you out the most?
I have been terrified of heights my entire life. The show, though, has helped me get over some of my fears of heights. I am no longer scared of step-ladders now. The taxi-cab stunt was definitely the scariest, especially because I went first. I was the test dummy. The scariest part of the whole episode was definitely the jump from the first taxi to the second. I still have nightmares about that jump.
What was the hardest part of the final stunt, where you were dunked
repeatedly in the pool?
My ankles were killing me. Being suspended by your ankles hurts. But once the stunt started my adrenaline took over. Since I was wearing contact lenses, it was hard to open my eyes under water to find the flags. Everything was blurry. When I got the $10,000 flag I thought it said $1,000. Better to be lucky than good, I guess.
Were you getting tired of all the jokes about your hair?
All of the time people spent making fun of my hair combined did not even add up to the amount of time it takes to do my hair for one day! So no, I thought the jokes were actually pretty funny.
Are you a normally a gambler/risk taker?
I am definitely a risk taker in life. I know what I want and I go for it, no matter the risks or obstacles that stand in my way. My goal in life is to be successful in everything I do. I do not believe in standing on the sidelines. If you are going to do something, do it right or do not do it at all. Even though I am a risk taker I am not a gambler. The house always wins, and since I do not like losing, there is no point to losing my hard earned money.
How did you feel about having to wager $44,500 of your winnings?
My heart has never beat so hard in my entire life. It was the most amazing blackjack hand I have ever seen, let alone played. Seeing over $44,000 worth of chips pushed to the middle of the table was surreal. It was like playing with fake money, except it was mine. The coolest thing was after I won the hand and I took my $133,500 in chips to the cashier. With a straight face she said to me "Would you like this in cash or would you like a check?" It was then that it hit me that I had won.
Did having a live crowd around help or did it make you more nervous?
I love crowds. It makes everything more exciting. Hearing people cheering you on and kids asking you for autographs is so weird I cannot explain. The crowd really helped me on the blackjack hand. I did not know whether or not to hit on 16. The odds said hit, the crowd say stand, so I went with the crowd and I won.
What are your big plans for the money?
I am going to save it, so when I get a girlfriend I can spoil her.
Any final thoughts on the whole experience?
Being on Fear Factor was the most amazing experience of my life. Some people are lucky enough to have had great experiences and memories in their life. But not only do I have those great memories, I have my greatest experience filmed, produced, and directed by some of the best in the world. It will be something I will be able to show my children and grandchildren. I can hear it now, "Grandpa, was that you eating those spiders!"