Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 22, 2014

The ultimate Survivor?

Lindsey Ogle will try to outwit, outlast and outplay 17 others on season 28 of "Survivor"

By Lindsey Ziliak Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Lindsey Ogle secretly sent in an audition tape for a spot on “The Amazing Race,” but she landed on “Survivor” instead.

When her fiance asked her what she wanted for her birthday last year, she said she wanted them to compete on the CBS reality series “The Amazing Race” together.

They’d get to travel the world for free and compete for cash while doing it. What could be better than that?

“I just wanted an adventure,” she said.

Her fiance, Dustin, didn’t like the idea, though. He begged her to pick out something normal, but that’s just not her style, she said.

Instead, she secretly sent in an audition tape of the two of them.

“We were jamming out to some Tom Petty on it,” she said. “We’re lip syncing and joking.”

Her friends tell her now that they expected a crazier audition from their friend who lives in extremes, Ogle said, with a laugh.

The video must have been enough, though.

She got a call saying the people at CBS wanted to interview her and Dustin.

So after surprising her fiance with the news, they went to the interview.

It turns out Dustin is a little shy, though, and not exactly what the people at CBS were looking for.

“They’re looking for crazy-town people,” Ogle said.

They were looking for someone like her. She said they encouraged her to come in and interview for a spot on “Survivor.” It would be a better fit for her, they said.

And so she began the long battery of tests and interviews that led her all the way to the Cagayan province of the Philippines as one of 18 contestants on season 28 of the show.

Before she left for the island, though, she had to prepare herself.

She started by working out like crazy.

“With my family, we can get really ripped really fast,” she told CBS in an interview. “I started working out pretty hardcore, and I had these ripped abs and huge biceps.”

Then, she said, she quickly decided that could hurt her in the competition. She looked a little too intimidating, even to herself.

“I don’t want to become too intimidating,” she said in the CBS interview. “You can also get voted out for that, for being a woman and being perceived as a little too dominating.”

Then she started eating whatever she wanted. She’d go to local restaurants and have Pepsi, beer, steak, baked potatoes, fries, dessert or whatever else she wanted, she said.

Meanwhile, her fiance talked strategy with her. He would set up possible scenarios for her and ask her how she’d react.

Ogle would say things like, “I’d cry, and I’d yell.”

Dustin would tell her that’s the wrong answer.

She said he’s kind of a hippie and wanted her to read these books about being accepted. She’d get two pages in and ditch them.

She did value one exercise he set up for her. It was a survivalist camping trip.

They embarked on a four-day trip with only a canoe and a bag of rice.

Ogle said she’s used to going on canoeing trips with him. But she’s also used to roasting marshmallows and hot dogs around a fire and staying in a cabin.

This was something completely different.

“I hated every minute of it,” she admitted. “I complained to him constantly, but it definitely helped.”

Once on the island, the 18 contestants were separated into three tribes: brawns, brains and beauties. Ogle landed in the brawns tribe alongside former NBA star Cliff Robinson.

Everyone in Kokomo keeps asking her how as a hairstylist and bartender she ended up there, she said. Anyone who knew her growing up, though, thinks it makes sense.

“Everyone knew me as a jock girl who’d put on lipstick,” she said.

She played basketball and ran track in high school and still holds some records. She even played basketball in college.

Just on Thursday she played a pickup game with the guys at Kokomo Sports Center. They were surprised she could keep up with them, she said. Ogle said she’s still got a little something left.

Did that athleticism pay off on the show, though?

Ogle can’t say. People will have to tune in to the Wednesday premiere to find out for themselves.

She said she’s still deciding whether there will be public viewing parties for the show. She will likely host something, though.

“I have a feeling we’re going to do some really cool things,” she said. “A lot of people want to watch it with me.”

There are so many clients, friends and community members who have shown support since the cast was announced, she said.

Her CBS interview on YouTube has 12,985 views, and her Facebook fan page has 2,279 likes.

But someone very dear to her is excited, too. Ogle has a 7-year-old daughter who sure is happy her mom is going to be on television.

“She came home from school one day and said, ‘Mom, I’m really cool at school now because of you, so I think you’re kind of cool,’” Ogle said, with a laugh.

The little girl has been wearing her “Survivor” buff around her head.

The pressure is riding now on the 29-year-old. She said she has some especially big shoes to fill on the show. The last “Survivor” contestant with a Kokomo connection was a fan favorite.

Rupert Boneham, known for his tie-dyed clothes, placed eighth on “Survivor: Pearl Islands.” He appeared on three more seasons after that and was voted the fan favorite after his appearance on the All-Star season, a title that earned him $1 million.

Ogle has already heard the comparisons.

“People ask me if I’m going to wear tie dye,” she said. “They ask if we’re best friends.”

She doesn’t mind. Ogle said Boneham is an awesome person who has used his newfound celebrity to inspire a lot of young kids.

Ogle said she hopes she can use “Survivor” as a platform to help others.

She already has 20- and 30-year-old women asking if she would go camping with them. They, too, want to learn how to live off the land.

She encourages every woman to try it, even if it’s just a couple of days in the woods.

Ogle said she definitely learned something from her time in the Philippines.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she said. “It’s all about accepting any situation you’re in.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LindseyZiliak.

HAVE QUESTIONS FOR LINDSEY? Anyone with questions for the "Survivor" contestant can reach her at Fade Salon. Call her at 765-450-5108 or drop by at 507 N. Buckeye St., Kokomo. Or you can check her out on her Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/lindseysurvivor. The show premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.