What happens when two complete strangers without clothing are placed in some of the most extreme environments on Earth?
Find out Sunday, when Roanoke Rapids resident Hailey Barber stars in the season premiere of “NAKED AND AFRAID” on Discovery and Discovery+.
“They come with nothing and give it everything — and do it all while completely naked,” according to a statement from Discovery.
Hailey, 29, said she Googled how to apply for the show, and submitted her application almost two years ago. Then COVID-19 came between them.
“I did it and I didn’t even know if I had put the application in the right place,” she said. “I was very hopeful to get chosen. I don’t know what it was that made them pick me, but it was a very vigorous casting process definitely. I did a lot of on-camera interviews and videos of my survival techniques and abilities and sent them in to the casting company.”
On the show, she costars with a male, and the two are without food, water and clothing. They are each allowed one survival item as they attempt to survive.
“In each location, these survivalists must endure hostile climates, lurking predators, and a scarce food and water supply while undergoing the ultimate test of human endurance and willpower, unlike anything they’ve experienced before,” according to Discovery.
Without knowing she would be in a reality show, Hailey said she has been training her whole life for this. Her teachers are her dad, Butch Barber, and her mom, Andrea Piarce, who taught her how to get through her life on her own.
Butch was in the U.S. Air Force, teaching her survival skills and had spent some time in the jungles of Panama, Hailey said.
“He taught me how to navigate in the woods, how to start a fire, little tricks like how to save warmth and build a reflector wall around your fire and certain bugs you can eat, such as grubs,” she said.
And Hailey describes Piarce as “kind of a prepper,” who was raised in the homesteader-style. Some of Piarce’s training sessions took place during camping trips with Hailey, her cousins and family.
“She taught me different ways to live off the land and survive without food, how to keep herbs — there are at least 10 different edible plants in everybody’s backyard right now,” Hailey said.
As a single mother of two, Hailey said she passes on her knowledge and skillset to her children, sometimes taking them and their cousins to Medoc Mountain State Park to go mushroom hunting.
“I am teaching them about mycology,” she said.
Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi. It teaches their genetic and biochemical properties, taxonomy and use to humans as a source for tinder, traditional medicine, food and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as toxicity or infection.
Hailey is also teaching them about building structures used to get through hard times, in case they are stuck in the woods.
“One of my favorite things — we build a fairy house,” she said. “We find a fallen tree and build off the roots and I turn it into a little shelter. I love teaching these skills and passing them on to others.”
Hailey is the Misfits Bar & Grill bartender at Fairwood Lanes, where a celebration to watch her debut will take place on Sunday. In addition, she is a personal assistant for real estate agent Vickie Irby and sometimes works on her dad’s charter fishing company, Chocolate Lab Charters, in Rodanthe.
About being naked on film, Hailey said at first she was really nervous.
“But shortly after, I didn’t think about being naked anymore,” she said. “My favorite part of this experience is the new levels I reached in challenging myself.”
And without the ability to elaborate, as to not reveal the details of the show, Hailey said it is 100% real.
“They don’t help you out in any way behind the scenes — you better have the skills and knowledge because you get what you sign up for,” she said. “It is the most difficult challenge I could never have imagined. It surpassed my expectations.”
Tune in to find out at 8 p.m. Sunday on Discovery, streaming concurrently on Discovery+, or join the party Sunday at Fairwood Lanes, 201 Old Farm Road S. in Roanoke Rapids, where Hailey will be in-house and all screens will show the episode. It is also Seafood Sunday, so guests are invited to go early for dinner and bowling, with doors opening at noon.
“Just come on in — we have plenty of room and everybody will get a good spot,” Hailey said.