Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: You were on Survivor: Nicaragua.
HH: How did you get on the show? I decided in May of 2009 that I wanted a challenge and an adventure in my life. All three children were off to college and it was time to do something for me. I made a 3 minute audition tape and filled out the application and sent it in. Eight months I got a call from a casting director and went to a casting call and made it. I was shocked!! One audition tape, one application, one casting call…….yes I was shocked.
MW: What were you thinking on the way to Nicaragua?
HH: Am I really going to do this?? I don’t even like camping ha ha ha I was very nervous. I was really worried about living in the jungle with nothing. I was also concerned about getting along with everyone. I must admit I had doubts.
MW: Were you a fan of Survivor before you got on the show?
HH: Yes! I watched every season BUT not every single episode.
MW: What was your favorite reward challenge?
HH: I didn’t win the challenge, Chase did, but he picked Jane and I to go with him to the overnight spa. It was a blast. It was the first time in 30 days I saw myself in a mirror, took a shower, slept in a bed, used a toilet and wore something different than what I was wearing the last 30 days. The challenge consisted of diving through mud, trying to get a key off a high hook and then throwing bean bags. I remember driving to the spa with the mud all over us and it started to dry and it was horrible. We had that mud on us for like three hours! I should also say Day 17 we won a meal and that was great as well.
MW: What was your favorite immunity challenge?
HH: Anyone we won Espada didn’t win a lot of challenges at the beginning.
MW: Who did you like to hang out with while in the game?
HH: Chase, Jane and Sash.
MW: Who did you not like at all?
HH: I wouldn’t say there was anyone I personally couldn’t stand but at the beginning of the game I couldn’t stand Dan. He just got under my skin for some reason!
MW: How was tribe life?
HH: Harder than I thought it would be. You are thinking in this game 24 hours a day! Watching who is talking to whom and who is leaving camp. It rained the first 17 nights we were out there and we didn’t have a tarp. We had a lot of rain and it was always very cold at night. We tried our best to keep wood stacked all the time so we had it when needed.
MW: For the short time he was there how was it to play with NFL coach Jimmy Johnson?
HH: Fantastic! He was out leader it was great to get a pep talk from Jimmy Johnson before challenges. He truly saved my game. When I wanted to quit on day 5 he was the only one I felt I could trust at that point. He convinced me to stay in the game!
MW: You were 4th to last to be voted out. How did you last that long?
HH: Believing in myself. I had a bad attitude at the beginning of the game and I wasn’t playing the game. I was letting the elements and people get to me. When I picked the blue rock on day 12 to become the captain of my tribe and go to pick four of the young players to come over to the Espada tribe that saved my game. At that point in the game I knew I needed to make some change! I knew I needed to change my attitude and start playing this game. I made a strong alliance with Chase and Na Onka and knew I still had Jane from the other tribe on my side. I stared to work harder and make sure I always knew what was going on and who was talking to whom. I also had more determination telling myself I could do this!
MW: What did you take away from Survivor: Nicaragua?
HH: A LOT! It truly became a life lesson for me. At the beginning I did not believe in myself, I doubted why I even applied for this show. I didn’t fit in with my tribe and I wanted to quit. I learned from this experience that attitude is important. I also learned that with determination anything is possible. Confidence is huge, the whole world can believe in your but if you don’t believe in yourself nobody else matters. Desire – tell yourself you can do it! Personally my faith was also strengthened. I did a lot of praying while I was out there! Yes I was alone, I didn’t have my family and friends to help me but I had strength from God.
MW: Would you ever play again?
MW: What have you done since Survivor: Nicaragua?
HH: I have opened a business; I have become a motivational speaker, doing over 250 speeches. I speak to schools, organizations, companies, and churches, whoever I can. I relate my Survivor experience of what I learned to survive in the real world. I have also written a book. I love to travel and I also have attended charity events.
MW: Tell me about your book “Your Winner Within”?
HH: The chapters in my book are what I speak about in my speech. Attitude, Confidence, Determination, Desire, Faith and Perseverance. I bring in personal stories of my own and relate them to those topics. I come from an abusive alcoholic family and I also talk about that. I encourage people not to dwell on the past and move forward and become the best person you can be.
MW: What made you want to write the book?
HH: After I would speak I would go back to my hotel room and I couldn’t sleep. So I would start typing. I then decided it would be nice to have a book to go with my speech so when people leave my speech and they are having a bad day they can read a motivational quote to encourage them. It was one more thing off my bucket list
MW: What reality type conventions are you doing?
HH: I have done Reality Rally and plan on attending in April again, Give Kids the World in Florida and one in Lexington Kentucky. I also help with Kids Against Hunger and Relay For Life. I love speaking for Go Red For Women through the American Heart Association as well.
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
HH: Never say never. When I applied to be on this show I would have never thought I would make it. Take opportunities! In life we need to jump to opportunities as quickly as we sometimes do to conclusions. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure isn’t falling down failure is staying down. I took this opportunity and it turned into a life lesson for me. It’s amazing how a challenge in life can turn into an opportunity if you just believe in yourself. The most important thing I want to leave you with is this – Never Give Up! If I would have walked off that show on day 5 I would have told the entire world I am quitter. When life gets tough that’s when you need to dig deep and use your inner strength to keep going.
Mrs Hoffman is going to sign a book for us to giveaway. If you would like to be in the drawing for this book please send your name and facebook to email@example.com.