By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
A TV celebrity will be paying a visit to Gardendale this week to sign autographs and meet fans.
Lisa McCreless of Pinson, a competitor on the current season of Country Music Television’s “Redneck Island,” will be at Gardendale Jewelry on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.
The event is to help promote Greater Gardendale Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Shopping Weekend, which takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to Gardendale Jewelry owner Bob Boffa.
“Lisa has been a customer of mine for years. I know her whole family,” said Boffa.
Despite that, she will not tell him — or anybody else — how the show ends.
The most recent episode, which aired Saturday, was McCreless’ last on the show.
“Redneck Island” is similar to the “Survivor” TV show in that competitors go through rigorous challenges and at the end of each show, one person is voted out by the others.
“The last one standing gets $100,000,” McCreless said.
McCreless, who is 33, was one of 14 people to make it onto the second season of “Redneck Island.” She said there were 10,000 applicants.
“I saw the first season and I had a fit over it,” she said. “I thought, I have to go.”
She sent in an application and picture as soon as she saw the call for contestants on Facebook.
She and the other competitors first survived a week of doctor visits that included physicals and psychological evaluations, not to mention interviews on Skype, submission of a home video and the signing of a 58-page contract.
The actual taping of the show, which was in Mexico, took about a month, McCreless said.
“It was amazing, it was beautiful. It was the experience of a lifetime,” she said. She and the others survived a tropical storm and four earthquakes, in addition to the challenges they completed as part of the show.
“We were terrified,” she said. “They considered evacuating us once. That part was scary; there were some tough elements.”
McCreless said she learned much about herself, including that she is stronger than she thought she was. However, she added that she he made it through the experience because of her faith in God and by “staying true to who I was.”
“It takes a lot out of you,” she said. “You’re away from family and civilization, and you’re with people you don’t know. We all had type A personalities, so there was some strong personality clashes.”
The host of the show is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, of WWE fame.
McCreless said one of the biggest surprises for her was to find out what a nice guy Austin is.
“The coolest part, I think, was how down to earth and humble he was,” she said. “He’s just such a cool guy and a genuine person.”
Austin could afford to be nice; he wasn’t a contestant.
McCreless said the competition on the show was “cutthroat.”
She did, however, walk away with one good friend from the experience. But that wasn’t the goal.
“I didn’t go there to make friends. I went there to win $100,000,” she said.
“Redneck Island” is on CMT on Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Keep in touch with McCreless on her Facebook page: "Redneck Island’s Lisa Mc."