Ryan Thomason

The Colony Interviews: Becka and Amber

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The show ended last night, and now it’s up for discussion on how you think the Colonists did and if they would have survived. Though the very end did leave a little bit in doubt! Becka and Amber were kind enough to get back to us with our questions, with Becka enlightening us a little more about what her whole being kidnapped situation was like for her. I feel a little sad that I don’t have a date and time to plug for Discovery channel to watch the show until next season, but I sure am excited to let you guys in on what Becka and Amber had to say! Enjoy the interview!

WPR) Becka, What was the experience of being Kidnapped and held for ransom like?

Becka: Being kidnapped was by far the scariest thing I have ever been through in my life. The most difficult thing about it was the feeling of complete helplessness I felt when I was attacked. No matter how hard I kicked, bit or scratched or how loud I yelled, I knew I couldn’t win. I have never felt that helplessness before. I’ve always thought if I were ever in a situation like that, I’d be able to get out of it. I’m pretty strong and I do a little kickboxing. But realistically, if a 120-pound girl is attacked by three huge men, the chances of her escaping are pretty slim. And that helplessness was by far the most difficult part of the entire thing. It’s the worst feeling in the world.

When I was in the cell for those long, uneventful hours, I had a lot of time to think, and I thought a lot about myself and what I wanted to change in my life. It was a much needed moment, and I don’t believe I would have had the opportunity to have that moment if I was not taken to that cell. For that, I am thankful. I was also hoping they wouldn’t trade very much for me, because all we had was so valuable.

WPR) Has that experience changed how you act outside of the colony? Meaning, do you only travel in groups or are you just more aware of your surroundings?

Becka: I am more jumpy and aware of my surroundings than I was before. Although I live in an extremely populated area, and really am never in situations where I’m completely alone, I am still wary of everyone around me. I carry pepper spray now, and I also gave up on picking berries. Ha ha!

WPR) How would you describe your experience being on The Colony?

Becka: My experience on The Colony was difficult, but it was a huge eye-opener and life-changing event. One of the hardest parts for me was doing so much work in the heat with so little food. Food became an obsession. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, even dreaming about it. The pains were constant. It’s very hard to maintain normal thought processes and physical endurance without food. The entire experience made me look at my life now in a different light and I’m much more thankful for everything I am blessed enough to have in my life.

Amber: Indescribable… There were times that it was unbearable, the heat, the bugs, hunger, the pain of being treated as an outsider. But in the end we learn from our struggles

WPR) What was your favorite build?

Becka: The windmill was my favorite build. It looked so amazing when we were done with it, and it gave us power- something we badly needed.

Amber: I enjoyed watching Michel build the still. Even though it was a small project it was great to see him have his own build, plus we got a little hooch out of the deal in the process! Throughout the experiment we were doing so many little things every day that helped us all in big ways. We were living off of trash really and I was surprised at what we created from nothing.

WPR) Do you keep in touch with any of your other Colonist?

Becka: Yes, I keep in touch with all of the other Colonists.

Amber: I talk to all the Colonists on almost a weekly basis. Obviously some more frequently than others. We will always be connected because of our shared experiences. We are like a big family, you accept people for who they are, the good and bad because they understand things that no one else can.

WPR) It looked like leadership and security was an issue for a long time, why did it take so long (30 something days) to finally get addressed?

Becka: I personally was against the idea of one person taking total leadership over everyone else at first, simply because I viewed them all as peers, equal to me. I didn’t want someone stepping up and telling everyone else what to do. However, it was much needed and we couldn’t have elected a better leader. Security was an issue because none of us were really familiar with the level of security we actually needed. Everything we did, we thought would be enough, and it just wasn’t. It took a few good whoopings for us to realize we seriously needed to beef up our plan.

Amber: As a whole we were too fixated on what separated us as individuals instead of focusing on the things that united us.

WPR) How hard was it to keep a mindset that this wasn’t totally real?

Becka: Those 50 days in the Colony were 50 days in our lives. Our real lives. Feeling real pain, real hunger, real fear, real triumph and real emotions. The Colony to us was very real, because everything we experienced there, physically, emotionally, spiritually, was real. Of course, at the very base of our minds we knew we didn’t really go through an apocalypse, but the situation was very real to us.

Amber: People ask us this all the time. Just because it was a TV show doesn’t mean our experiences and emotions weren’t real. For me I had to look at the experiment as real life other wise why would I stay? Plus there were always things that would directly affect your life. If you said something today, you would be challenged by that statement the next. You say you’ll never eat bugs?? Tomorrow cockroaches are on the menu.

WPR) What was the first thing you ate after the show was done?

Becka: Anything and everything I could get my hands on. Cookies, ice cream, chicken fingers, fried shrimp, oysters, mac ‘n cheese, potatoes. I ate to the point of sickness. It was bad. Ha ha!!

Amber: Bread pudding with vanilla ice cream, and lots of fresh clean water.

WPR) Did you have any kind of culture shock after going back to the real world?

Becka: I definitely had a little bit of culture shock when we returned to the real world. It felt so good to be back around people and civilization again, but at the same time, I felt awkward. I felt a little uncomfortable talking to people, which never happens for me, usually. After about a week, I started to feel slightly more normal, but it definitely took awhile.

Amber: I had a panic attack two days after I got home. I tried to shop at Costco, and was overwhelmed by the lights, people and all that food!!
I got over stimulated and physically sick… it kind of felt like I was motion sick… it was a bummer. But I still bought lots of snacks!!

WPR) Has anything about you changed that you owe to your time on The Colony?

Becka: My perspective on life changed drastically. It is absolutely crazy how much we take for granted in our lives. Everything from toothbrushes to safety, we overlook WAY too much!! As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. This is very true. I am so much more thankful for everything I have. I don’t waste food anymore and I have become even less picky. I definitely eat food I have dropped on the floor now, dirt and all. Ha ha!

Amber: While on the show we didn’t eat much bread or wheat products. In doing so I came to realize that I am allergic to gluten (called Celiac Disease). After I came home I started a gluten free diet, and am feeling better than ever, but it’s a long process with many setbacks. Eating out can be difficult, and finding what products contain gluten can be hard (did you know most soy sauce has gluten?). About 1 in 133 people have the disease, and on average people are misdiagnosed for 11 years before they find the right treatment. Some people show no symptoms of the disease while others may show many of the 300 different kinds of symptoms. For more information contact the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness; http://www.celiaccentral.org

WPR) What was the hardest thing you had to do/went through while on The Colony?

Becka: The kidnapping was the most rattling thing I went through, but the hardest part overall was the long days, combined with the lack of food. Eating is one of my all-time favorite things to do, and when that was nearly taken away, it became very hard to fully focus on what needed to be focused on.

Amber: The prolonged separation from my husband. We have been together for 14 years and have worked together for 10, so having no contact was unbearable.

WPR) Which Colonist surprised you the most with their change/turnaround during the experiment?

Becka: Jim, by far, was the most changed Colonist, in my eyes. Watching him go through the changes he went through was very rewarding to me. In the beginning, Jim and I didn’t get along very well, but after getting to know each other more, and talking through things in our own lives, we fell into this “father/daughter”-type role, and it just worked. Jim is a great guy, and it was awesome to see him learn more about himself and work to improve.

Amber: I was surprised with Becka, she may not have liked me but the girl had spunk. She always had a good attitude and was eager to learn, and lend a helping hand. If she had been given the title ‘student’ or anything other than ‘model’ I think people would have a different view of her. I can’t leave out any love for Deville though. I was constantly impressed with Deville- the man is my hero, I love you Daddy De!!

WPR) Would you do it all again?

Becka: I think a situation like this is one of those things that will have the most impact on you the first time you do it, and after that, would lose its value a little. I’m not sure if I would do it again, to be honest. If you would have asked me this question soon after I returned to civilization, the answer would be, “NO FREAKIN’ WAY!!!” Now, though, I kind of wonder what would happen if all of us were to re-live it. Same Colonists. Different location. Could we rebuild, no matter where we are? Hmmm…. Something to ponder, I suppose. For now, I’m extremely OK with my fully stocked refrigerator and freedom to move about my world.

Amber: If you had asked me this in June, I would have said HELL NO! But like childbirth, the pain ebbs with time (not that I know first hand or anything!). In the end I learned some important lessons and made some life long friends. So yes I would do it again, but I’d sneak a tool kit with me somehow…

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