Reality Star Bares All Again In Search of Prize

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Openly gay reality television star Jake Nodar is back on the air in Discovery Channel’s hit, “Naked and Afraid XL.” Credit: Discovery Communications.

If you look closely enough, you just might catch a glimpse of reality star Jake Nodar’s junk—but don’t count on it. You’ll just have to take him at his word that it’s “gorgeous.”

Nodar returned to television this week on Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid XL.” He appeared last season in the network’s “Naked and Afraid,” which followed two contestants for 21 days in remote and unforgiving territories.

This time around, he joins 12 of last season’s best contestants, again naked and without supplies, for 40 days in the badlands of South Africa. They must find their own food, water and shelter while avoiding lions, leopards and hyenas.

“My first challenge (last season) was in Amazonia and there just weren’t that many creatures out there that could kill and eat you,” Nodar recalled. “When you’re out there with no protection, it’s pretty shocking.”

He added, “When we hit the ground, we hit the ground running.”

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Nodar described the sounds of nearby herds of elephants and prides of lions. All that stood between the contestants and these ferocious predators the first night was a bunch of sticks.

A longtime naturalist, adventurer and environmentalist, Nodar trains horses for a living in suburban Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. He began his television career by accident when he was asked to audition for another Discovery series, “Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment.”

Not one to back down from an experience, he accepted the offer and found himself in the finals. The only openly gay cast member, he went up against some of the toughest, most macho men the production company could muster.

At first, he was concerned about being the only gay competitor: “I was concerned going into my first show. I had been out for several years at that point and was thinking more about my fellow cast mates. It didn’t occur to me that I’d be coming out on television to the entire nation.”

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That appearance led to a stint on The History Channel’s series, “Full Metal Jousting,” another grueling physical challenge.

Pushing boundaries and stereotypes is natural for Nodar. He was recently featured in a film, “Bad Ass Guys,” that documents the stories of gay men working in ‘manly’ professions. The film premiered at the Atlanta Out on Film Festival and was later broadcast on the Logo television network.

“Doing something adventurous is important to me,” Nodar said. “I love getting the chance to represent the gay community in a positive light.”

In the meantime as he recuperates from his African ordeal, he plans to tune into “Naked and Afraid XL”—as long as he’s not watching it with his mother. That’s where he draws the line.

“I’m definitely not shy,” he chuckled, “but she was going to have a viewing party, and I wasn’t going to go to that one.”

Watch Jake Nodar compete on “Naked and Afraid XL” on Sunday nights on Discovery Channel. Check local listings for channels and show times.


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