TCU alumnus makes top 4 on MTV’s “Stranded With A Million Dollars”

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Strong communication skills, grit, primitive fire skills and the hope for $1 million dollars has helped a TCU alumnus advance into the final four of a survival reality show challenge.

Apple is in the final four on MTV’s new reality show, “Stranded With a Million Dollars.” Credit: MTV

Stranded With a Million Dollars” is MTV’s new reality show featuring 2014 alumnus Alex Apple. In the show, contestants are given $1 million dollars to survive 40 days on an island in Fiji.

Contestants aren’t given the necessary tools to survive. Instead, they have to use the $1 million dollars to buy survival items, which can cost thousands of dollars – and it comes out of the shared prize money.

The show began with 10 contestants, and now it’s down to the final four: Cody Dunlap, Gina Lam, Natalie “Mikani” Paul and Apple.

“I’m not surprised I made it this far because I had a strategy, and I’m a very competitive person,” Apple said. “However, you never know if you will get sick one day, so I’ve been really lucky.”

Apple said his biggest strategy was his strong social skills to form alliances with other contestants on the island. He also said buying the tools needed to survive is a mental challenge. Anyone can choose to survive the 40 days alone, but Apple said having a companion to talk with was beneficial and kept him sane.

“In the show, you are away from civilization, friends and family,” he said. “The majority of the cameras used to film the show are drones or robotic cameras, so human interaction is very limited, and you develop this sense of paranoia from being isolated.”

In the first episode, Apple said he was quick to form alliances because he had good fire-starting skills and other contestants valued him. However, his alliances quickly dwindled after contestants became too sick or wanted to leave the island. One contestant got appendicitis and had to leave to get an immediate surgery.

Alex Apple attempts to survive 40 days on MTV’s “Stranded with a Million Dollars” reality show. Credit: MTV

“It was scary because getting sick could have happened to any one of us or at any time,” he said. “This game is unpredictable and you never know if you will wake up one day and want to leave.”

In the latest episode, Apple said he almost shot his flare gun, a signal to let the producers know contestants want out of the show, because he felt the game was too much for him. He overcame this mentality and told himself he came on this show to challenge himself, not to be rich or famous.

“I did this show because I wanted to learn about my strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “Whenever I was in a mental funk, I told myself I’m a lot more capable than I think I am.”

Some of the contestants from “Stranded with a Million Dollars” walking to a campsite.
Photo Credit: MTV

Apple said he was glad he did this challenge because he’s learned to be appreciative of his blessings and not take things for granted.

“You hear from your parents and mentors say not to take things for granted and you kind of just nod your head,” he said. “This show makes you realize how much you miss the things you have at home.”

Apple said being in the top four is awesome, but there was no time to celebrate because he was still up against three other people for the cash prize.

Apple said the challenge is getting intense because there are two different alliances who are trying to sabotage the other alliances’ chance of survival by stealing each other’s food and the only access Apple had for clean water, a boiling pot.

“Myself and Lam are the only ones left from the alliance I created earlier,” he said. “The other alliance is Dunlap and Paul, who found each other because they had no one else.”

Alex Apple sitting on the ground.
Photo Credit: MTVApple said “Dunlap is a conceited jerk who rubbed many of the other contestants the wrong way, but I give him credit because he’s mentally tough.”

Apple said he couldn’t say what happens in the upcoming episodes or who won, but he did say this:

“The last three episodes are the wildest ones yet because the two alliances will do one of the most unique moves pulled on a reality show.”

Since the show has aired, Apple said people have recognized him in public and on social media. Viewers have critiqued his strategy and called him various names, but he said he couldn’t care less what people thought because he doesn’t regret anything he’s done to survive this long.

Along with critiques, Apple also said fans of the show have messaged him if there will be a season 2 and how to get on it.

Alex Apple and nine other contestants attempt to survive 40 days on an island in Fiji
Photo Credit: MTV

“I don’t know if there will be another season, but the show has done pretty well and the people who watch it like it,” he said.

To find out if Apple survives the full 40 days, watch the next episode Tuesday at 9 p.m. on MTV.