'U' student takes his shot at NBC's 'Fear Factor' fame

BY
BY FOREST CASEY

Published October 5, 2003

MBA student Joshua Schwadron is spreading his 15 minutes as far as they will go. With the recent win of the GQ Man on Campus award, Schwadron felt that he was easily qualified for NBC's "Fear Factor" when auditions for the show came to Ann Arbor.

Kate Green
Courtesy of NBC
Schwadron climbs his way to the top.

After several stages of interviews, Schwadron was the only contestant selected from the University, mainly because he won the GQ award last winter. He was booked for the season premiere of "Fear Factor" - a special two-night contest in Las Vegas promising stunts more horrible than those discussed in all of the adolescent treehouses in the country. Schwadron, unafraid of his fleeting fame, spoke with The Michigan Daily.

The Michigan Daily: Was "Fear Factor" like boot camp; very hard but not regrettable?

Joshua Schwadron: I think that being on "Fear Factor" was the best experience of my life. It was good to experience Hollywood, with all of the publicity, the make-up artists and the cameras. It's especially significant to me because there were 20 cameras recording my experience and sending it out to 20 million people. I'll always be able to have that.

TMD: The competitors on "Fear Factor" always seem like they are trying to degrade their opponents, but Joe Rogan (the host) always seems so supportive.

JS: Both Joe and I have ... strong personalities, and they seemed to clash, so he didn't really support me.

TMD: What were your feelings after the first stunt?

JS: After I made it through the first stunt, I was really reassured. I was told that the biggest fear is failing the first stunt and having to go home. After that, I was pretty confident and ready to win.

TMD: The spider trick that you did (tossing a spider into your mouth) - did you plan that to intimidate your opponents?

JS: I did it because there was a crowd behind me of a thousand people. It was the first live stunt that "Fear Factor" has ever had for their "gross stunt." Eating it normally would've been boring, not to intimidate but more to please the crowd

The spiders tasted like tree bark and were huge. They actually bit me, my mouth was bleeding by the end of the stunt.

TMD: You said that the piranha-tank stunt was the hardest thing that you had ever had to do?

JS: No. I said that the piranha-tank stunt was hard because I have a really hard time holding my breath. There was a height stunt (on the second night) that was the hardest stunt.

TMD: How did you feel watching yourself on TV?

JS: Weird. I thought that I made a fool of myself a lot of times.

The two-part "Fear Factor" episode featuring Joshua Schwadron concludes tonight at 8 p.m.