Michael Jefferson, 30, applied for three consecutive years to be part of one of his favorite shows. His mother, Brenda Jefferson, printed out the application for her son each year, urging him to send it in to the casting call.
"She said, 'I can see you on this show; this show's totally for you,'" Michael Jefferson said. "Every time it was so last minute and when I applied (in January 2011) it had to go out the next day."
Jefferson, who lives in Seattle, applied for the reality game show and was accepted as one of 18 contestants on "Survivor: One World." The first episode of the season is set to air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 7.
The reality game show follows a group of strangers who must fend for themselves in order to survive in remote locations. The contestants form tribes and compete against each other to stay in the game and ultimately win $1 million.
Jefferson, a part of the Manono Tribe, said he and the other castaways didn't know where they were going until they started filming the show last summer. They also had no idea this season was set to begin differently with two tribes -- one all men and the other all women -- on the same beach site in Samoa.
The two tribes of nine people have to decide whether to share their resources with each other or let the opposing tribe fend for themselves.
"Men versus women on the same beach threw us all for a loop," Jefferson said. "It was the big twist."
Jefferson describes himself as an "outdoors guy" who enjoys camping, kayaking and playing sports. His active lifestyle and daily routine of going to the gym helped him feel prepared to face the show's challenges, he said. The entire competition in the 24th season lasts for 39 days.
While he doesn't want to give away any specific parts of "Survivor: One World," Jefferson did say fans definitely don't want to miss the first episode.
"I think it's really going to bring out how this season is going to go down," he said.
Brenda Jefferson said she's been a fan of the show since its beginning and believes her son has everything it takes to do well. She plans to watch the first episode of the latest season with family and friends.
"I'm very, very excited to watch the show," she said. "It has always been my favorite show. I love how it changes all the time. I love how it challenges people. I love to see how different people react. I just love it."
Jefferson said he is proud of getting a spot on the show, but it's not the first time he's been part of a competition.
Jefferson, who is a 2000 graduate of Marysville-Pilchuck High School, was named the state's most dateable bachelor by Cosmopolitan magazine readers in October 2010. Although he didn't win the title of Cosmo's Bachelor of the Year, being one of the 51 contestants might have helped his chances of being on "Survivor," he said.
Jefferson added that he was a little surprised to learn he is considered a season villain, but the title really doesn't bother him.
"I wanted to start the game as the nice guy, the hero, the go-to guy you want to have a beer with, but I like being the villain more," he said.
Jefferson declined to discuss any of the strategies he used in the game show.
"I watched so many seasons ... there are so many strategies you can take," he said. "I just didn't want to have a target on my back the whole time."
He doesn't know what his next move will be, but said he plans to enjoy watching the season and wouldn't mind a shot at the game show's hosting spot filled by Emmy Award winner Jeff Probst.
And while he was searching for love in October 2010, Jefferson did say that he's no longer unattached.
"I am dating somebody right now, and I'll leave it at that," he said.
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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