Premieres Sunday 9/8c. Watch online previews.
Hometown: Little Rock, AR; resides in North Little Rock, AR
Ali Leitza is a sexy, Southern belle who is not afraid to pull some pranks to find her Prince Charming. Though she doesn't fall in love easily, once she reaches that point, she loves with every fiber of her being. Many of her past dates lacked the capability to handle a strong-willed woman. Her dating requirements now include a man with a backbone, yet one who embraces her passions. Her ideal date would be sharing her extensive sports knowledge during a baseball or hockey game.
Leitza, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism, aspires to report for a major sports network. She also has a passion for animals and likes to volunteer for her local Humane Society.
What are you afraid of?
I am deathly afraid of heights... I think people back in my home state of Arkansas heard my scream when I jumped from the cliff in Episode 2. During the adventure, I didn't have a lot of time to focus on my fear... I just had to react! But once I was able to regroup, I had an anxiety-filled meltdown off-camera. Unfortunately, from that point on, anytime I anticipated an adventure involving heights, I'd automatically be overwhelmed with tears. Those that know me would be surprised to know I'm capable of crying, but now I know my fear of heights can easily be a trigger!
Whom did you feel most connected to during the competition?
Out of all the contestants, I think I bonded with Jenny above all the others. She and I could just look at each other and know what the other was thinking. I know we'll remain friends for years to come. When it comes to the guys, I would have to go with Jesse. We definitely had our clashes, but sometimes arguing motivates you to finish the adventure quicker or reveals unknown feelings. In any case, I'd rather be partnered with Jesse than a wallflower.
Ultimately, are you happy the additional contestants were brought in to mix it up?
I think the additional guys in the beginning did not have as big of an impact as the girls did being introduced later in the series. By the time the fresh-faced, well-rested second round of girls were introduced, us original girls had spent two weeks being mauled by the mosquitoes and nursing our battle wounds from the adventures. Had the introduction of the additional girls and guys been reversed, the original guys might have felt re-energized by the threat of additional competition. Us girls, however, began conspiring against the bubbly newbies as soon as they were introduced.
What behavior surprised you the most from the other contestants?
There were definitely some girls that acted like they were deserving of more attention than what they received. Some contestants made an impression before their dismissal and you were sad to see them go - others knew their time was short and focused too much negative energy on things they were powerless to change, and some people just didn't leave soon enough!!
What was your favorite challenge and why?
My favorite challenge was the second adventure because I went to extremes. I was able to redeem myself from the previous challenge and also overcome a paralyzing fear all within one adventure!!
Was there anything off-screen that you feel the audience missed out on?
There's always moments that are shared among the contestants that the audience isn't privy to - inside jokes, concealed animosity or secret alliances. At times when our guards are let down because we forget about the cameras, the environment is more like a college scene - there's partying , cliches and plotting. And though it's impossible to showcase every minor detail to the viewing audience, sometimes the boring collusion is more telling than the drama that ensues!!
Any fun anecdotes or run-ins with nature you'd like to share?
I choose to believe that every mosquito on the planet decided to make the Dominican Republic their home while we were in town!! There were parts on my body I didn't know existed until I felt that all too familiar itch. I swear they were on steroids and had a bounty on my face.
What did you learn about yourself through this experience?
For one, I thought I was in better shape than I am. I also realized that just because I was from the Natural State and most assumed I would be accustomed to outdoorsy adventures, I was completely out of my element. The camping lifestyle of washing my face and brushing my teeth from standing water out of a barrel is not for me. I checked that one off my bucket list.
Why did you decide to take part in this show?
I've let doomed relationships dictate too much of my past so after my most recent painful breakup, I decided to take another route to find love. I'm a firm believer that you can discover love through nontraditional methods. He's not always going to be your college sweetheart, a co-worker or a member of your church; you might meet the love of your life in the aisle of a grocery store or even on an island while competing on a hit dating show! And to combat those who are skeptical of the sincerity of reality relationships, there's no forced outcome... if connections are made, no one is dictating the need to get engaged at the end of this experience. This show, "Love in the Wild," just provided the platform for introducing the couples!!
Would you call yourself an outdoorsy person? Why or why not?
Growing up in the South, I was always involved with outdoor sports... I played softball and tennis and was a varsity cheerleader. However, I don't recall ever going camping (at least as an adult), so I was unprepared for some of the sleeping accommodations. I really thought the lean-to was invented solely for this show. It was as though someone began building a small shack and gave up!!
What surprised you most about being in the jungle?
I think what surprised me most about being in the jungle is how little prepared I was for the adventures. I guess I relied too much on adrenaline and the hope that the retired athlete within me would awaken because throughout most of the adventures, I felt like a chain-smoking bush-league reject.
What was the hardest thing for you to live without? What did you miss the most?
There are times that I prefer the company of animals over that of humans. With that being said, I greatly missed my dogs and cats while I was in the Dominican Republic. Luckily, there was a resort dog that filled in as a stand-in pet. Shout out to LeeLou!!
What would other people say are your best qualities?
I think my best qualities would be my ability to be "one of the guys" when necessary - and the girly girl at other times. I love attending baseball and hockey games and can hold my own in a conversation about either sport - but I also know when to play my girl card!! I'm also not the typical girl that cakes on makeup and won't leave the house without their face and hair done. I prefer to sleep those extra few minutes in the morning!!
Describe the worst date you've ever been on.
I went on a date where the guy paraded me in front of his ex and their mutual friends (unbeknownst to me) and angered her to the point where she attempted to attack me physically and then verbally... yea, he didn't get a second date! Then there were some in college that probably shouldn't have happened and wouldn't have had I not been so fond of my Malibu Rum. But I think the worst date I've been on up to this point would be the trip I took to Venezuela to see my ex play Winter Ball. There was a disconnect between us and it signaled the end to our relationship. And the cherry on the top was me getting detained by Customs... because my expensive ticket was bought last-minute and I couldn't recall/pronounce names and landmarks to justify the purpose of my trip.
What qualities do you find to be most important in your partner?
I find passion, trust and the desire to protect their loved ones as the most important qualities in the men I've had serious relationships with. Nothing is more attractive than a guy that's trustworthy and has a close relationship with his family. I'm extremely close with my parents, brother and sister, and appreciate the strong support system we provide to each other. Having a man with those same ideals shows that he values his loved ones and would probably treat me with that same respect. Also, I appreciate when the guy I'm with is passionate about a cause. I'm very active in my local humane society and it's easier for him to understand my dedication when he too has something that captivates his interests.
Describe your ideal date.
So this is when my guy side comes out. My ideal date would consist of having a few beers while attending either a baseball or a hockey game. (It's not enough to just be in attendance, I want to be close to the action... so if nose-bleed seats are our only option, I'd rather catch the game in the local sports bar.) Also, you can't go wrong with grabbing dinner at a Mexican restaurant or spending time playing fetch or hiking with my dogs.