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Interview with Rachel of "The Hero"
The first thing that struck me during my conversation
with 34-year-old Rachel Renee was her open and positive
outlook on life. This is a woman who despite or perhaps even
because of the hardships that she has faced refuses to let
any obstacle thrown her way keep her from succeeding.
Mendie: I understand how children can
be a motivation to do get you to do things you may not be
Rachel: I was never really in to
reality television, but when I read about The Hero and that
they were looking for 9 ordinary people I was like well I'm
ordinary, I work 5 jobs, a single parent, and I want to
prove to my son and all my students that no matter what
challenges you are faced with in life if you put your hear
and soul in to it you can accomplish anything. So I was just
like, let me do this. Let me just audition for the show. I
got this. And I knew that because it had The Rock's name on
it that it wasn't going to be garbage. So absolutely it has
been an experience. It's been a journey and it's been
Mendie: Now what do you think it is that makes
someone a hero?
Rachel: What makes someone a hero is compassion,
first and foremost. Putting yourself before others. I'm that
type of person that is constantly putting myself before
others, doing for others, and I always push myself aside and
I think a hero really defines that. You are always doing for
others and sometimes you don't look and do for yourself and
told myself that in 2013 I was going to do something for me.
Which is why I auditioned for the show. Definitely putting
others before yourself, being brave, having strength and
integrity. Just having compassion and being a real person
and being strong.
Mendie: I like that answer and you're right
sometimes in the end it's just being a good person.
Rachel: Absolutely, I think there are so many
different types of heroes and there are so many different
characteristics in a hero. But if you have a good heart and
are being a good person that defines what a hero is. Not
well, I'm going to do this preach this but then I am going
to go behind everyone's back and be hypocritical. That's not
a hero. Being good and wholesome person. Compassionate,
that's the key word.
Mendie: Why do you
think it's important for the world to have heroes?
Rachel: It's important for the world to have
heroes because I feel there is a hero with in all of us and
I think in someway shape of form we help each other in some
way. So even if you may not like someone they may have
heroic characteristics that help you to learn to better
yourself and build your inner hero. I really feel that you
just learn from each other. Different heroes have different
characteristics. You might be a mentally strong hero, but
someone else might be physically strong and they can balance
each other out and help each other and motivate each other.
So I think it's very important that there be more than one
hero in this world.
Mendie: You mentioned that you have a
son and that you work multiple jobs, how has your life
experiences prepared you for the competition?
Rachel: Well first and foremost I was born with a
condition called Metatarsus Adductus where the doctors told
my mom that I would never walk. So that was my motivation
and when I was a child my motivator was someone telling me I
couldn't do something and I was going to do it period. So
being in a cast from my waste to my toes for multiple years
I forced myself and motivated myself to walk. Just getting
through that and being able to run and to dance and to walk
and to do all the other things I did growing up. Also having
my child who was born hearing-impaired. I tell him as well,
I say "You have to take what God gives you and make the best
of it." You have to take your disabilities, what is taken
from you there is always something that is put in its place.
There's always the extra something that's given to you.
I definitely feel a lot of struggle starting with being
born not able to walk with this condition. Going through a
lot of what I had to go through in life, I was bullied
extremely badly as a child in school, and having a
hearing-impaired child I was like what doesn't kill you
makes you stronger and I am a very strong woman and I have a
huge heart and you just have to use that to get through. All
those situations have definitely prepared me to be on this
Mendie: If there is one thing you hope
the viewers take away what would you like it to be?
Rachel: I would like the viewers to take away that
always remember who you are. You are going to have
temptations thrown at you. You are going to have challenges
given to you on a daily basis whether it's work or school or
even a parent. Never let people try to twist your mind and
try to manipulate you and try to change your ways for the
sake of themselves. Always remember who you are and I have
this saying its "Keep it real or keep it moving." If you
can't keep it real with me you just have to keep it moving.
I want to surround myself with people who bring light and
not heat. I definitely want people to watch the show and be
like 'oh I would have done that' but could you have slept
good that night. Always remember who you are. I look back at
the show and I believe all my decisions and everything I did
on the show I don't regret anything because I kept to that
motto of always remembering who you are. I look back and I
don't regret saying that or I don't regret doing that. So I
think that's very important.
Mendie: I know you can't really reveal anything
about what's going to happen but what was your favorite part
about the competition?
Rachel: Honestly when you have The Rock in your
face and in your ear and he is pushing you and motivating
you, encouraging you to get this challenge done that was
just awesome to me. I was that person. I coach basketball so
I'm always the one in my kid's faces and I teach school and
dance so I'm always the one in the kid's faces. So I loved
the fact of being pushed from somebody else because I don't
really get that and the fact that it was The Rock, I mean
how awesome is that. And obviously doing cool stunts and
going to amazing places and visiting that part of the world
was awesome. That whole experience was just great to me.
Mendie: Did the show teach you about yourself or
in general that you are going to continue to use in your
Rachel: Absolutely. Living in a house with 8
strangers, I really have an issue with trust anyways, and
the way things would change throughout the show and people
would change and things would start to happen...I've always
learned go with your gut feeling about people because at the
end I wasn't wrong. I feel I wasn't wrong in what I thought
each person brought to the table. If you surround yourself
with real people and you keep it real that's what's
beautiful at the end of the day. The people who created the
heat for me, if you don't allow that to come in to your
circle it makes you feel better.
Honestly I've always doubted myself and second guessed my
decisions because I'm a Libra and I'm very indecisive.
Mendie: I'm a Libra too, I know exactly how you
Rachel: This show really taught me to stop being
so indecisive and go with my gut feeling. There was no time
to make decisions sometimes. It was like you have to make
decisions right now and that was hard for me because I would
be like I'll just put it off for 10 minutes and I will think
about it and what's right and what's wrong.
Mendie: You can see the sides of both situations
so you're like "I can't I can see the good and bad in both
Rachel: Exactly and I couldn't do that. So I was
just like "Rachel, go with your gut feeling and do what you
gotta do." And that is what I ended up doing. Which was
tough for me because sometimes at the end of the day I would
be laying there "Did I make the right decision? Rachel you
can't question yourself. It's over with, you had to do
Mendie: You said that you taught
both dance and school, what do you teach?
Rachel: I teach K-8th Spanish; I'm a Spanish
teacher during the day. After school I teach hip hop; I'm a
dance choreographer for an academy after school. I also
coach the middle school basketball team.
Mendie: You really are busy.
Rachel: Yeah, and then I wait tables Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday nights. I wait tables on the weekends.
I know it's nut. People ask me when do you sleep? And I do
find time. It's just not as much as I would like. But it was
awesome because all my jobs were supportive of me being on
the show. They were all very understanding and they all
support me 110%. I was very grateful for that because most
places would have been like "You're going to be gone for how
long?" And every single one of my jobs was said go and kick
booty and come back and make us proud.
Mendie: Do you have anything you want
to do next? Do you have another goal in mind that you are
just going to go for?
I've always wanted to open up a center for
underprivileged and at risk kids or kids that just that want
to take dance or they want to be in sports but they don't
necessary have the means because they come from a single
parent home and the money situation is tight. I just wanted
to open up a center for kids to come and jam out after
school and have mentors there and tutors there to help them
with their homework. Maybe take some classes. I've always
wanted to open a center like that for kids. So we will see
what happens. Maybe one day because this area definitely
needs something like that.
Mendie: That would be amazing. So where can fans
go to show you their support? Are you on Twitter?
Rachel: Absolutely. It's @RachelRenee01
Mendie: Well thank you very much. It's been great
talking to you.
Rachel: Thank you, it's been awesome talking to
you as well. Thank you so much.
Hometown: Little River, S.C.
Occupation: Spanish Teacher, Basketball Coach, Hip Hop Dance
Motto: “This day happened like it did so tomorrow can happen
like it should.”
About: Rachel is a 34-year-old single mother who works five
jobs in order to support her son, Alijah, who is hearing
impaired. When Rachel was a child, she faced numerous
struggles, including being born with a condition that caused
misalignment of the bones in her legs and feet. She spent
multiple years in full leg casts, but she was determined to
be able to walk no matter what the doctors said. Despite
enduring constant bullying, Rachel persevered and now
coaches basketball and teaches dance.
Acts of Heroism:
•Rachel taught dance classes for underprivileged and at-risk
youth. She showed up early to counsel the kids and
an outreach program for them free of charge.
•After noticing that the kids had no shoes upon coming to
class, Rachel started a charity called Sneaks 4 Dance
Freaks. She had shoes for all of the kids by Christmas of
that year, and the charity is still going strong.
•Rachel does not let too many people into her inner circle.
•She went to the Philippines to play basketball for a year
after high school.
•She is also a classically trained pianist.
This summer, Dwayne "The Rock"
Johnson is going to challenge a group of ordinary people
to face extraordinary situations and see who can emerge
as the ultimate champion
in TNT's exciting new competition series The
series will incorporate social media like never before
and allow viewers to vote on the
Hero will be headlined by Johnson, who will
executive-produce with his producing partner,Dany
Garcia. The series is set to
premiere on TNT Thursday, June 6, at
8 p.m. (ET/PT),
TNT's The Hero will
bring nine ordinary people together
in an unexpected and dramatic setting, then assign them
various missions that will test their brains, their
brawn and even their morality. The
show will challenge the
competitors to prove they've got what it takes to be
heroes, pushing them to their
limits to see what they are willing (and able) to
overcome, undergo or sacrifice.
Johnson will serve as The
and motivator, encouraging the
contestants to reach far beyond their personal limits.
In the end, one player will rise
above the others, overcoming
obstacles he/she never thought possible for a chance to
walk away with up to a million dollars.
The series is set to premiere on TNT this summer.
The Hero will
incorporate social media throughout every facet of
the show. Through
the series’ unique and
interactive digital platform, viewers will be able to
engage with the show and one
another, ultimately playing an important part in
the outcome and helping to
define what it means to be a true hero.
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Page updated 6/8/13