Delaware Valley graduate is a 'survivor' at last
Friday, August 29, 2003
BY PETER N. SPENCER
The third time was a charm for a 22-year-old Pittstown native, who will be one of the 16 castaways on the upcoming "Survivor" reality TV series, CBS officials announced yesterday.
Michelle Tesauro, a Delaware Valley Regional High School graduate, was turned down when she auditioned for two previous "Survivor" series, but that didn't stop her from trying again. Now, Tesauro's friends and relatives can tune in on Thursdays beginning Sept. 18 to see whether she wins the million- dollar prize on, "Survivor: Pearl Island."
Speaking from her Hunterdon County home yesterday, Michelle's mother, Chris Tesauro, said she was relieved to end six months of silence about her daughter's participation in the show.
"I'm just happy I'm finally able to tell people about it," said Chris, who received numerous phone calls and e-mails after her daughter was introduced as part of the cast on "The Early Show" yesterday morning.
Although Michelle's immediate family and boyfriend knew she spent the last six to seven weeks on a remote island off the coast of Panama, banding together with seven other "tribe" members to build shelter and catch food, they have no idea about the details or the show's eventual outcome.
Though she could be a millionaire in a few months, the only souvenir Michelle was able to salvage from her Pearl Island experience was a frayed, blue nylon rope, which her mother wore as a lucky belt.
But the $1 million grand prize isn't the only reason Michelle was willing to subject herself to the rigors of castaway combat, according to Chris.
"She did it for the challenge," said Chris, who cited the same reason she auditioned for the show three times herself, including this year.
The mother-daughter duo also participate in the Polar Bear Plunge fund-raiser every February, running into the icy-cold water at Jenkinson's Beach in Point Pleasant to raise money for the Special Olympics.
Being outgoing and athletic is a family affair for the Tesauros, said Chris. All of her children -- two sons, Joe, 24, Chris, 20, and Michelle's sister Kim, 26 -- play sports.
Michelle was a cheerleader in high school and at Virginia Tech, where she recently graduated with a degree in business and marketing. While in college, she worked as an airport media marketing intern, a lifeguard and, during summers, with the Universal Cheerleaders Association.
So how will Michelle survive?
Her sense of humor and her ability to get along well with all sorts of people, Chris said.
"She's also pretty good at the grunt work," she added.
While she is currently looking for a job in the Washington, D.C.- Virginia area, Michelle has no plans for a future in show business, Chris said.
Ever the adventure seeker, Michelle is hopeful to one day work as an agent in the FBI.