Survivor Mom

Ben Lippert

Ben LippertSenior Reporter

One of the first reality television shows to grace popular culture in the United States is Survivor. The twenty-first season of the show premiered one week ago on Sept. 15. This edition of Survivor takes place in Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America. If you should decide to tune in, keep an eye out for Holly Hoffman, the first South Dakota woman to compete in the show.

Hoffman was born, raised, and still resides in the small town of Eureka. Hoffman said she applied for the show for the adventure and as a personal challenge.

“One night I was watching Survivor and I looked over at my husband and said, “I’m going to apply to be on that show,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said she has volunteered as a swim coach for 16 years and helped run her husband’s campaign for District 23 South Dakota House of Representatives. She has also raised three kids, two of which came to SDSU for school.

“All my life I’ve given a lot of my time to other people,” Hoffman said. “I just decided I wanted to do something for myself.”

In order to get the spot Hoffman had to fill out an application and send in a short video explaining why she would be a worthy contestant on Survivor. After the selection was narrowed down she went through a process of interviews before finally receiving the news that she had made it.

“I feel like I’m a very energetic, determined and competitive person,” Hoffman said. “To be on this show you definitely have to have those qualities.”

Hoffman said that being on Survivor requires physical ability. She contributes her physical abilities to a lifetime of exercise and the personal trainer she worked with while preparing for the show.

Hoffman said mental toughness is also crucial to being successful on Survivor. She said the hardest mental obstacle she had to overcome was being away from her family.

“I knew that leaving would be hard because we are a close family,” Hoffman said. “I tried to really mentally prepare myself to leave.”

Hoffman is glad to be back in South Dakota and near her family again. She said more people have noticed her since she’s been back.

“I was filling gas in a different town the other day, and someone came over and asked if I was Holly Hoffman and if they could shake my hand. I want to share the experience with as many people as I possibly can.”

Holly’s daughter, Alex Hoffman, is a senior journalism major at SDSU. She said that her mom’s celebrity status hasn’t affected her much.

“People don’t really treat me any differently than before the show started, but I do talk about Survivor a lot with my friends. It’s fun to discuss the show and hear what they think about other cast members.”

Holly Hoffman said that being on Survivor has given her a greater appreciation of her life.

“It’s really made me appreciate what I have, where I come from, time with my family, and if I’ve gotten anything out of the game, that’s what I’ve realized the most.”

Survivor: Nicaragua runs through December on CBS.

#1.1641767:2857269509.jpg:Holly Hoffman, a swim coach, currently living in Eureka.:Holly Hoffman, a swim coach, currently living in Eureka, is one of the 20 castaways set to compete in Survivor: Nicaragua.:Submitted Photo by Monty Brinton