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Love In The Wild Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with winners Mike Spiro and Samantha Woods on August 18, 2011 about the show Love In The Wild.

Mike Spiro and Samantha Woods

Question:
Out of the whole season that's happened, what was your most memorable moment from the show?

Mike Spiro:
My most memorable moment was when we knew we were in first place and were coming down the other side of volcano towards the finish line. And each step I was thinking was a different place to go. So I'd take one step and it'd be Australia. Next step would be Japan. Next step would be Europe. So it was kind of surreal at that point realizing that we were that close to the finish.

Question:
What's the status of your relationship at this point and do you have any plans for the future?

Samantha Woods:
Yes, we're actually together right now. And he was here in Orange County for the finale. And today is my birthday so we're actually going to Disneyland once we get off this call. I mean the status of our relationship is we're very much together. And we can actually say that we're in love.

Question:
How did the experience change each of your perceptions of stress within a relationship?

Samantha Woods:
I mean I think that it just accelerated the whole getting to know you process. And we dealt with all of that very quickly. So the stress that was each adventure, the stress that was there was really just like hands on and right in our face at the very moment. So we learned how to deal with it pretty quickly.

Mike Spiro:
And it's interesting because you faced a lot of same challenges in a regular day to day relationship hey you made the wrong turn or hey you don't know what it's 10:00. Like it was the same things you argue about as a normal couple out in day to day life. The only difference being on the show is that it's that much more stressful because it's now a race element on top of all that. So yes, it kind of cuts to the core and really defines what kind of person you are till you tend to be in a relationship.

Question:
Since the final leg was so challenging on a physical level, how does it affect you both mentally?

Mike Spiro:
I mean there's a little bit of both in there. I've always told everybody that I had thing, the secret weapon that none of the other guys had and it was Sam because she was just so tough mentally and physically that she was able to do a lot of the things that the others girls couldn't do. So I think that the mental and the physical process really played an element in how you'd perform in these adventures and it really pushed to the limits of how you finish in these things.

Samantha Woods:
What I want to say too I think the very last adventure when we actually went through the argument about camping and we were having such a hard time with the tent and the food and we like faced all these difficulties. And that was really like a breakthrough moment for us and that was something that we were actually really glad had happened. Because we went into the next day with an open mind because that night we were able to sit there and talk about everything that had happened through the camping and all that. And we went through that with an open mind the next day. And I really do think that it helped us in the end.

Mike Spiro:
If you're not mentally prepared for each one of those adventures for the challenges that face you that day you're going to falter and you're not going to finish strong. And Sam and I had a pretty good system where we would talk to each other before each adventure, get comfortable, get in that mindset and get ready to tackle it.

Question:
A lot of contestants on other dating shows like the Bachelor said they're keeping the endings a secret and not being able to spend much time with the person they met on the show. Between the end of filming and the show end is actually really hard on their relationship. Just to clarify, how did that work on Love in the Wild? Could you tell your friends and family you were in a relationship with each other but not that you had won? Or what were the restrictions on your ability to see each other and be open about your relationship since the filming ended in April?

Samantha Woods:
Yes we definitely weren't able to tell anybody about the status of our relationship. And that was definitely one of the hardest things for us. Mike and I, we were trying to Skype at least like two, three times a week. And like we were very good at keeping open the communication with each other. We did sneak and see each other a few times in hiding which we were allowed but as long as we were very stealth. And we were.

Mike Spiro:
We had a very the people that were really close to us knew that we were having kind of a secret relationship and that they had to keep it close to the vest otherwise there was big penalties for us. So our parents and some close friends, we were able to tell them. But other than that, yes, we just had to make sure we got in a rhythm of keeping in touch with each other in order to make that work. And actually today is a big relief because now we can finally tell people that we're dating and that we don't have to do that anymore.

Samantha Woods:
And we're long distance as well. That's a challenge that we're facing along with having to keep everything a secret. So I just feel like since we got through all that we can definitely deal with the long distance thing.

Question:
Are you in touch with any of the people you met on the show via the other contestants?

Mike Spiro:
Yes. You know, we remained the closest with you guys that stayed there the longest I feel like, at least I did. Skip and Miles I consider to be pretty close friends. And we've got kind of a buddy, buddy we're constantly jabbing at each other. But we respect each other because not only were they pretty formidable opponents out there. But they're also really funny, honest true people. So yes this friendships in my mind if I could help it but it lasts a very long time.

Samantha Woods:
Well and this is one of those things too where it's a bond that no one else can really understand. It's a bond that we all went there with and had nothing. We didn't have our cellphones or TV or nothing that friends, family, nothing that we would consider normal life we didn't have when we went there and so it was very like we all relied on each other a lot. And we were all very in this horrible state to be there and put ourselves in that situation. And I think we all like connected on that level a lot. And it's like a bond that we can't really like replace ever.

Question:
Samantha, why did you choose him when you were able to choose out of all the men, what attracted you to him?

Samantha Woods:
Well at the very beginning actually they didn't show in Episode 1 but all of the guys actually said a one liner. And the one liner that Mike said was he said I may not be the biggest guy here but I think this competition is going to involve brains and brawn. And then he claims that he's done something really cute. What was it?

Mike Spiro:
Well I told everybody that the competition would likely involve both brains and brawn. What I didn't tell her was that I had neither of those qualities. No that came out later. Not funny.

Question:
Does winning this trip feel just like a bonus compared to finding the love of your life?

Mike Spiro:
You know, we actually said that before the second half of the final adventure. And whether or not we want it, we still feel like we won.

Samantha Woods:
It's really cheesy and cliche.

Mike Spiro:
Yes, it's stupid when you think about it but I mean it's true. We were kind of in the zone there where we really affectionate for each other. And means that we keep seeing each other after the show whether or not we won. So the fact that we get to share this bonus along with what we found out there each other is pretty cool.

Question:
I just wanted to know, did you guys make any long-lasting friendships with the other contestants in the show? Is there anyone that you're going to be keeping in contact with now that things are over and everything's kind of returning normal?

Samantha Woods:
Yes we definitely did. I mean I think that the people who were there the longest were who we probably connected with the most both the girls and the guys really. But I feel like it's just kind of a bond that you have that you can't really get with anybody else. It's a connection that you make with them because we didn't have anybody else. We didn't have anything else and we were kind of forced to all connect and get to know each other really quickly. And it's a bond that we will have with those people forever.

Mike Spiro:
And what it does show for on the show is that between each adventure we've got a lot of down time. So spending time, hanging out with each other, socializing, it showed a little bit of that when we were just bored hanging out with Heather and Miles. We met at that stupid game. We were water boarding each other and hitting each other with like big Avatar fruits. It's fun and we have those times where we actually got to really connect with each other. And since the show stopped production we have kept in touch and we've seen each other a couple of times and hung out. And we intend to keep that going. Since you were supposed to keep your relationship a secret did you guys kind of break the rules a little bit when you met each other parents or what's the story there? Because at the end of last night's finale the updates that Heather and Miles hadn't met each other's parents yet so we're kind of wondering why?

Mike Spiro:
Yes so well I wouldn't say we broke the rules I'd say we bent the rules a little bit. But we made sure that NBC was aware of everything we were doing. We kept them in touch. It's just too hard when you come out a Costa Rica and you've found this great new person and you want to start spending time with them to get to know them further and you've got these contract limitations. So NBC was pretty accommodating with that respect and we're able to make it through the - between the lines in the contract.

Question:
What did you learn about each other through these adventures that might have taken you months to find out in like a normal dating situation and was that good or bad?

Samantha Woods:
I learned very quickly how Mike dealt with high stress situations.

Mike Spiro:
Not well.

Samantha Woods:
Not true. But I felt like I really got to learn very quickly how he would deal with in very high stress situations and things that would actually happen in everyday life outside of the jungle. And so we were really able to connect on that level very early on.

Mike Spiro:
I's like dating on steroids because you're spending every single waking moment with that person and you're competing on these adventures with that person. It's a way to really cut to the core of who that person is and how they're going to function in a normal relationship. So yes, it definitely was kind of a slingshot to get to this point.

Samantha Woods:
Like he saw me without makeup on the first night that we hung out. Like that was just the nature of being there and being like in a live-in situation. That's not something you would really do on the first night that you're dating someone.

Mike Spiro:
No and a lot of times when you're dating maybe some people put on a front, they try to impress the other person. You just don't have time for these adventures. You know, you're trying to win and you're trying to get it going.

Samantha Woods:
Mud and all.

Mike Spiro:
Yes, you just kind of take the dirt and the grime and you present yourself and if they don't like it then I think that's why a lot of people quit.

Question:
Do you have any like big plans for your future marriage, moving somewhere, anything like that? Have you guys discussed these things?

Samantha Woods:
We definitely are entertaining the fact that with him being in San Francisco and me being in Orange County and his job being quite secure that it would be most realistic for me to move to San Francisco and we definitely want to entertain the idea. There is no specific date set in stone but it's something that we're definitely looking forward to happening.

Mike Spiro:
We're doing it one day at a time. Today is Samantha's birthday and the future of today is going to Disneyland. We're planning a trip around the world soon. The future of that is still uncertain. So we've got to pick out those spots. At this point we're just kind of enjoying the fact that we can tell people we're in a relationship with each other.

Question:
When is your trip around the world? How long will it be and do you know any more details on what the show supplied?

Mike Spiro:
Yes. Yes, so there's kind of a contract provision that we signed at the end that specified the details of the trip. Essentially we don't know where we're going yet but we get to pick wherever we want to go up to ten cities. And the time that we're planning on leaving is probably sometime the end of September.

Question:
Do you know how long it'll be about?

Samantha Woods:
It's roughly a month.

Mike Spiro:
About a month long.

Question:
Ben told a couple of a the guys that dating on Love in the Wild after a few short weeks was kind of like being in a relationship already for like five months. Do you guys agree with that and did you know that was actually the case? You know, do you think your relationship moved a lot faster than you had expected or intended?

Mike Spiro:
I think Ben was wise beyond his years. That was a very accurate statement.

Samantha Woods:
We actually said too while we were there that every adventure felt like it was at least one month of dating. Like it was very - it was dating on crack. I mean it was very just like fast. And it accelerated the whole process really like a lot.

Mike Spiro:
I mean you think about it like a normal dating process like you'll go on a date and maybe see each other a couple days later, go on another date, maybe there's a few days in-between. So it's just spread out over a longer period of time. Here it's every day you're completely saturated with the presence of that one person and you've got physically and mentally challenging adventures that you're going on. So and then I couldn't agree with you more buddy.

Question:
Samantha, you rolled your ankle while running to the finish line. How did that happen and how serious was that injury?

Samantha Woods:
I really when we were coming down the stairs we were really excited to get down there. And like he said, every step we took we were thinking of like another place that we could travel around the world because it was like that close we could taste it. But yes, I rolled my ankle a little bit and so he was just saying go a little bit slower, make sure we don't injure it too badly.

Question:
Why did you both originally go on Love in the Wild? Were you looking for a lasting relationship at the beginning or kind of just a fun dating experience when but then you guys got to know each other and obviously things might have changed?

Samantha Woods:
I was actually working part-time at a restaurant and I got approached by two captain directors. They asked if I was single. And the conversation started from there. They told me a little bit about the show and they said it was NBC. I was intrigued. And so then I went on my interview and the whole thing started from there. I was on a plane five weeks later. So it happened very quickly for me. But basically I think that my New Year's resolution actually was to be more spontaneous. I'm a wedding planner and I tend to go by the books and things. And if it's not written in my agenda it usually doesn't happen. And so my New Year's resolution was to be a little bit more spontaneous. And the captain director found me in February so it was a little too early in the year to give up on my resolution. So I just I said I have to do this. And I'm going to go and put myself out there. And I dedicated a lot of my time to work. And I'm just going to let myself have this experience.

Mike Spiro:
For me it's a lot like Smith. I didn't seek this out. I came home late from work one night and the only place that was open was the place that we were having casting calls. So I'm sitting by myself drinking a beer and eating a burger and a girl comes up to me and asked if I liked wild adventures, beautiful women and exotic locations. So it was a pretty easy sell in my book. I went back, met the casting director and that was it.

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