1)Were you recruited for the show?
One of my husband's employees was being considered as the Skipper and he mentioned to the casting crew that his boss and wife would be great as the Howell's. Glenn received a phone call and the next thing we knew we were being interviewed for the role.
2) Did they feel bad for killing poor Gilligan? He needed that money!
Sure Gilligan needed the money! Each and everyone of us had the fortunate opportunity to be chosen to play the parts of these beloved characters. Each castaway on that island including my husband and me, were in that game to win, that's why we all did it. Glenn and I stated throughout the game that we were playing for our children's charity.
Gilligan had just as much opportunity to get to the final three as the rest of us, unfortunately for him, Gillagan's temper got the best of him. There was one incident that did not air in which Maryann Kate told Gilligan and My Husband: "I am not going to vote for either one of you" It was a heated moment right before we walked into Voodoo Village on that last night. Gilligan's temper was so fired up that he failed to hear what Kate was saying. Had he listened to her, he could have chosen to vote for me and then he and I would have faced off in a tie breaker. He has commented on that moment since. The fact is that all three of us won (maryann kate, my husband and myself) we played a strong game and our alliance got us all to the final day!!
3) Have you kept in touch with anyone from the show?
Oh yes, almost everyone. Donna Beavin calls us regularly. She wants Glenn to get into boat racing. Kate and Chris are both living in Southern California. Kate lives right down the street from us here in Newport Beach. Skipper Bob stayed with us a couple of days with his wife. They are a hilarious couple.
Gooner was out here for the finale. We flew in Gooner and Skipper for a big party that we threw for the finale. Professor Pat drove up from San Diego.
Professor Eric keeps in touch. Rachel is the only one we don't see. I think she is still mad about the game! Which is pretty funny in itself.
4) Who was your favorite and least favorite person to be there with?
I really enjoyed every character for different reasons. They were all so diverse and dynamic. The Skippers were so funny both of them, the professors were intelligent and Professor Eric always provides colorful commentary. I found myself bonding with Maryann Kate, I felt like she was a little sister to me. I have felt very protective of her. Rachel was a hoot. She is a very witty and intelligent woman. She surprised me.
Even the Beavins provided a colorful and interesting dynamic.
5) How did they really feel about the other millionaires?
I really liked Bill. But maybe because he didn't really say much. Ha ha. Donna is a colorful kook That woman is like watching a car wreck. You just can't look away, because you don't know what's going to come out of her mouth next. You can't create a character like her. She is a reality producers dream!
6) Would you do this again?
I don't think so. My husband and I were asked to be on the Amazing Race right before we left for Gilligan's Island. And after going through the emotional highs and lows of this experience, I have no desire to be involved in another competition reality show.
7) What type of projects do you have going on now?
I am looking over a few different TV projects. For the first time in 20 years I am enjoying not going to work !!! I'm having my own Desperate Housewife episodes right here at home!
8) What was the best part of being on the show?
What, besides the fine cuisine we devoured???
Losing 5 pounds! My clothes fit so well when I returned home.
9) What was the worst part?
The worst part was being completely out of contact with our families.
10)What was Rachel Hunter like?
She is a great woman. Not only is she beautiful; she is witty, intelligent and she has an enormous heart and soul. I really enjoyed getting to know her. I know she was pretty upset that she couldn't break up our alliance. I think she is still mad about it. haha.
11) How did you learn to do the animal noises and how exactly did it happen that you did it on Oprah?
I was raised by wolves. Actually I don't know how I learned? I just did. I was such a nuisance in High School!!
When I had moved to Chicago my mother visited and acquired tickets to Oprah's show. Before the show I was presented with the opportunity "crow my stuff" so to speak. Oprah was in her dressing room and heard me entertaining the audience. So when she walked out to start the show she pulled me out of the audience and had me perform some more noises for the viewers. That moment changed the course of my life. In the next few years following that initial show, fate led to me to a career in Television. Oprah has continued to feature the different legs of my career and personal life on her show. I have been featured on Oprah on more than six different occasions.
12) What did you think about Rachael and the whole 'crackers' saga?
I think it was a smart move to attempt to create doubt in Maryann Kate. Rachel had to do something to break up our alliance. And that seemed like the only way to do it. I now know who ate those crackers but I'll never tell!
13) Where was the island that the show was filmed on?
In Mexico in the Yucatan Penninsula.
14) How much were you allowed to pack? What was the best thing you brought and what do you wish you would have brought?
My husband and I packed more than we have ever packed for any vacation we have ever been on. We had 4 oversized duffle bags. But ultimately the wardrobe staff on the show chose a few items that they stuffed into the trunks that they provided. We really had no choice as to the final items that were placed in the trunks. They wanted us to dress up the "Howell" role as much as possible. My husband wore an ascot everyday!! I don't think he's worn one since!
15) How long did have to get ready before you left for the island once you found out?
We had about a week. We went out and purchased survival gear, mosquito nets, fishing gear, spear guns, snorkels, etc. We didn't get to bring any of it to the final destination!!!
16) Were you allowed to tell family members?
Our immediate family members knew where we were going. We had to tell them why we were going to be gone for almost a month.
17) How realistic was the reality?
What I have found is that the situations and the environment aren't necessarily the "reality" aspect of these shows. Because you would really never be placed in these wacky circumstances in your daily life. The "Reality" is the raw emotion that people show when they are placed in a stressful, competitive environment. People show their true colors in crisis situations. And most of us don't face major crises in front of the general public. So when you put 14 strangers in an unfamiliar environment, strip them of their amenities, and comforts, deprive them of food, and then make them compete against one another, you get to the core of who a person is very quicky. That meltdown and emotional conflict is all caught on film and that is what creates "good television"
18) How scary was the hurricane?
I found it very exciting! Of course we were completely sheltered from the events happening in the world so when we were informed that a hurricane was approaching it created some good excitement. The fact that we were placed in a hotel that had a fabulous buffet didn't bother me in the least!!!
19) How scared were you when the skipper went down?
That was one of those moments in life where you really evaulate what is important. Although it happened in the first episode, we had spent a good 3 days getting to know Skipper Bob. He was part of our experience from the beginning. So it was a scary moment for everyone.
Thanks Mindy for your time!
Pictures courtesy of ~ Mindy Stearns Official Site