How do you choose a location or adventure for each celebrity? Do they have to go through tests?
There are no specific skills test, but we do ask about their abilities, what they’ve done and what they’d always dreamt of doing. When we’re in the wild, it’s always in such a dynamic situation that you have to be on your game, and obviously as a crew we can only anticipate so much out there. Our team usually scouts a location ahead of time and we map out a journey, with the goal of having an adventure that is based on what will provide each guest with a truly unforgettable and empowering experience. That’s it. Let the wild reveal and then empower.
How has the show changed by moving to National Geographic?
I’m just so pleased that we have brought the show to such a strong global platform now as National Geographic. Nat Geo are synonymous with adventure and a true appreciation for our planet. It feels a little like coming home. Overall this season feels bigger and bolder than we ever did before with tougher missions, wilder locations and the most incredible line up of fan-favourite celebrities. It’s been a memorable one for me for sure. And a huge privilege as ever.
Do your adventures help turn audience attention to issues like animal and environmental conservation?
If my travels have shown me one thing it’s just how precious this planet is and how fundamental nature is to humanity. I think you have to see it to believe it. This is why it’s so important to get outdoors so we can all forge a stronger relationship with the natural world. You don’t have to look far to see first-hand the devastation that is happening. That's why for example US President Obama wanted to go on the journey with us on Running Wild – he’d studied the science and he said, "I've seen all the data, I understand that, but I want to see it first hand and experience it." Ditto Prime Minister Modi of India who after I took him on a journey to the rainforest, announced his vision to ban one use plastic in India. These moments are the seeds of change. Because when we stand up close and we see first-hand the effects of climate change, then that's the best classroom.
What do you hope viewers take away from Running Wild?
To get out there in the wild, and embrace all that adventure can do for us. It is about learning from nature and developing a never give up spirit that you take back to everyday life.
Who inspires you?
My late father, a former marine who taught me the spirit of adventure at a young age.
What sets this show apart from other nature shows?
I’d say it’s unique in terms of taking these super well-known individuals so far outside of their normal life, far beyond their comfort zone in order to experience something beautiful and empowering that they normally wouldn’t. People love watching their idols tackle the wilderness, face some tough moments, and to see how they change and grow in confidence along the way, it’s always inspiring.
Are you ever nervous or scared before an adventure?
It’s always scary to tackle new things, and especially in a wild environment where things are super unpredictable. I’m probably just as nervous beforehand as the celebrities, but the key is to be willing to face your fears head on and to keep moving forward. It seems that I’m daring and wild, but in fact, I’m quite cautious and very aware of the risks for both my guests and myself. The hardest part of Running Wild I think is for the guest to probably just committing to it all 100% from the get go and having to trust me from the very beginning. Trust takes time in the wild but on these journeys these stars have to take that initial leap of faith whilst we have only just met. That always adds an element of added adrenalin and excitement for sure for both of us.
Which new locations would you want to go to for your next adventures?
I am excited to film more shows in India and China this year as well as Australia. All such diverse, beautiful and remarkable countries.