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The Naked Truth behind ‘Naked and Afraid’



Discovery’s Naked and Afraid has been a massive success since it aired in 2013. There reality TV show has been showing some impressive moments that continue to captivate millions of viewers with the contestant’s survival skills. Yet some fans wonder: Is Naked and Afraid fake?

Unlike other survival shows, Discovery chose to up the ante with Naked and Afraid. The show features two complete strangers in the wilderness for 21 days as their limits are tested.

The cherry on top? They are left naked. Like most reality shows, Naked and Afraid doesn’t shy away from including drama. Either with sobbing stories about some participants or even squabbles between the partners, dramas take up a fair amount of each episode.

Therefore, fans still wonder: Is it real or fake? Let’s explore the naked truth behind the show.

Show’s Executive Producer Insists That ‘Naked and Afraid’ is Completely Real

While fans speculate Naked and Afraid is fake, the show’s executive producer, Denis Contis, insists it is REAL.

According to Wall Street Journal, Contis said, “There is no manipulation, no element of scripted reality.”

When asked about the potential dangers for the participants, he added, “I don’t know that they were very clearly in danger. They were placed in this location, where and how they survived, and if they traveled at all, that was up to them.”

Since the show was completely different, Denis also denied that Discovery aimed for any shock value. He explained, “It’s the ultimate survival show. Neither has clothes, which is a complete non-issue when they are on the ground.”

He added that the show was not shot differently because of the participants’ nudity and that certain areas would be blurred out for broadcast.

Is ‘Naked and Afraid’ Fake? Former Contestants Defend the show’s authenticity.

Given the drama and thrill, Discovery’s Naked and Afraid has raised several eyebrows and many have questioned whether the show is fake or real.

One questioning fan took his suss to Quora to see whether Naked and Afraid is scripted or real.

The top answer came from Jason Szabo, who competed on the show and declared that the series was real.

Jason explained, “It’s not scripted, and you don’t receive help unless it’s a medical issue and a medic is kept within a mile radius and can take some time to get to your location.”

Szabo added:

“Yes, it’s real. Anyone who says the “survivalist” cast is an actor doesn’t know what they’re talking about and is merely assuming.”

Jason also provided some context, “As someone who completed 3 weeks in the jungle, it’s entirely real. A cameraman follows you around during the day, and 2-night vision cameras are set up, constantly recording all night.”

“Once the camera crew leaves, you’re left until they arrive in the AM. Leaving you vulnerable per se, if a Jaguar happened to walk through your camp and grab you, you’re screwed.”

Season 1 Contestant Alison Teal Confirmed the Show Is Not Fake

Fans following the show might remember one of the first contestants, Alison Teal.

She hosted a Reddit AMA and confirmed the show was not fake but hinted at edits here and there.

When a Redditor asked Teal if she was subjected to pressure from the producers or if there was any intention to emphasize drama.

The commenter also noted, “The editing seems to focus more on the interpersonal drama rather than the actual situation” before asking the question.

Teal recalled that not all of her skills were shown on the show.

She responded, “I was like, Wait, what about the 40ft ladder I built, and what about the fishing net I made?’ etc… But, as a filmmaker myself, watching someone build a fishing net for 5 days is probably pretty boring.”

She went on to explain how the production leaned towards the more action-packed scenes and showcasing character dynamics, which was understandable given the show was also meant to entertain the audiences.

Blair Braverman in Naked and Afraid.
Blair Braverman said Naked and Afraid isn’t fake. [Photo: YouTube]

Teal also replied to a Redditor who asked her to explain the show in her own words. She wrote, “… it’s basically “Adam and Eve” concept… no prize…just a test to self-worth.”

Blair Braverman Confirms the Show Is 100 Percent Real

Contestant Blair Braverman wrote almost an entire essay about her experience, and she affirmed that the show was real. Not to mention, her scars proved the show’s authenticity.

In her article published by Orange, she dispelled some myths, such as the fact that the film crew was present during the show or that the show was scripted. She insisted that nothing was scripted, but some ‘scenes’ were recorded twice, like Blair disrobing immediately before insertion.

In fact, when her partner Gary ate something unsafe and had a medical emergency, a medic rushed with his aid, but Blair had to retrieve water for him.

Moreover, she also noted how real the experience was when she became ill due to an infected bite on her face. Beyond the provided medics, she recounted, she was on her own as her mystery symptoms got worse as she and Gary teamed up with their fellow survivalists.

Blair tapped out on day 14 and was extracted by the crew.

It appears that Blair and many other contestants on the show had questioned for themselves whether the show was real.

Although the show might be manufactured, with help not far away, it was still real and life-threatening at times.

But some events could be staged, and contestants are vocal about it.

Also Read What Happened to Fred Lewis?

Honora Bowen’s Magnifying Glass Wasn’t Her Father’s Gift | Staged Fights

Although many contestants have vouched for the reality of the TV show, the main aim is to be entertaining. Hence, the show’s producers had apparently instructed participants to lie about certain things.

Honora Bowen claims that the showrunners brought the magnifying glass.

Naked and Afraid fans are aware of the fact that contestants were allowed to bring one survival item. Hence, Bowen had brought a water filter and three knives.

However, production decided against the filter and asked if they would bring a fire starter. On her website, Bowen revealed to agree to a magnifying glass. She wrote, “I agreed and said that my father had recommended a magnifying glass right before he passed away.”

The producers loved the concept, as well as the potential storyline they could then follow.

Honora also spoke about the drama between the two partners. She revealed that many things exchanged between contestants that led to fights were edited, and some were shown without context.

Bowen also claimed that some arguments were entirely staged by the producers.

Rigged Timeline

It’s not uncommon for reality shows to edit videos in a manner that heightens the tension in the drama. But some glaring continuity issues within the same episodes hint at either the crew helping cast members or using footage from different times.

Is Naked and Afraid fake?
Bearded Jeff Zausch from Naked and Afraid. [Photo: Instagram]

Redditors noted that in one of the scenes, “It went from clean-shaven Jeff to bearded Jeff to bearded Jeff to clean-shave Jeff.”

One might argue Jeff Zausch inherited some strong hair genes, but Redditors following Occam’s Razor insisted it was rigged.

Furthermore, viewers also noted when contestants were paddling a boat to the water, and in the next scene, the boat magically had palm trees on top of it.

Fake Character Portrayal

Discovery’s Naked and Afraid is easily one of the best survival show in history. But the show, at the end, is a reality entertainment show. Hence, some character portrayals aren’t always authentic.

For instance, Shane Lewis, one of the contestants from the show, endured a minor foot injury during the show. Consequently, he was shown suffering greatly, leading some viewers to label him ‘pathetic.’

Turns out, he had three broken toes within the first couple of days into the challenge. It remains unclear why the severity of his injury was subdued in the final cut.

Shane Lewis's fake injury
Shane Lewis’ grave injury was downplayed in the show. [Picture: YouTube]

Likewise, season 3 competitor Phaedra Brothers began the show badly, battling food poisoning. Months later, when the episode aired, the illness was falsely portrayed as a consequence of drinking bad water. This created the illusion of poor decision-making on her part.

Dissatisfied by the misleading narrative, Brothers contacted producers to rectify the false situation.

While talking to Channel Guide, she expressed, “They decide the storyline”, referring to the producers.

Brothers clarified, “But in that particular incidence, I think they thought it would be a better, more dramatic story.” She emphasized, “But it wasn’t the truth.”

There are a few reality TV truths viewers deem fake. Nevertheless, when an illness is weaved into the episodes due to extended time in nature, one may wonder what else can be faked for entertainment.