Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One on One with Gillian Larson : Reality Rally!

I recently had the honor to sit down by phone and conduct a brief interview with Survivor Gabon's own Gillian Larson about her wonderful event Reality Rally. Gillian's event Reality Rally has done so many wonderful things for the community of Temecula Valley California, where Gillian resides, as well as Michelle's Place a wonderful resource for many women with breast cancer, that I felt it should be highlighted on my page here. Below are some questions concerning Reality Rally and it's history and it's impact on so many.

Brenda: Thank u Gillian for agreeing to do this interview with me. It is a pleasure doing this and sharing the wonderful event. I would like to get things started by asking this question. You are a former cast member on Season 17, Survivor Gabon; how did u get cast to the show? Were u a fan of the show previously?

Gillian: Yes I was a huge fan of Survivor from the first season and I applied from the second season on. I applied to every season. For 8 years I sent in 15 applications. I went to two open casting calls. I was brought into 2 interviews a year apart and I had a very extensive phone interview at one point. I sent in 20 applications before I finally was able to get on. I truly love the game and still love the game. My advice is to NEVER GIVE UP if you are trying to get on Survivor. If you are the right person for the right season then u will get picked. So just never give up!!!

Brenda: I love the story of how the idea for Reality Rally came about when you were walking down the beach one day in Gabon. Had you wanted to do Reality Rally previously or did Reality Rally come as a result of this walk?

Gillian: No, when my torch was snuffed out the idea for Reality Rally came about. I wanted my experience of 6 days to make a difference. I realized I was able to use my Survivor platform to do so much more with it. During the 5 weeks that I was at Ponderosa waiting for the game to end, I was training for a 60 mile walk and while training for this walk the idea for Reality Rally came about.

The vision behind Reality Rally was to enhance the community of Temecula to offer an event that anyone can be a part of and for reality stars to attend and have fun in the process. which is why we call it Fun For Funds, while raising money for a charity. It is a wonderful resource and can help so many people. Reality Rally has truly become what I envisioned in that it benefits so many more people in the community and others across the country and has done so much more than me playing Survivor could ever have done for me.

Brenda: Why Michelle's Place? What stood out about this resource?

Gillian: I had read Michelle's story about 8 years ago, she was a young woman who had been misdiagnosed with a breast lump when she was 19 and told not to worry about it. She was diagnosed at 23 with breast cancer and then died when she was 26. Michelle's Place was started about 10 years ago and they provide over 6,000 services a year for women and their families who are affected by breast cancer.

Brenda: What all goes into planning Reality Rally each year? Is it a 365 day a year thing? What goes into the staging of your event?

Yes it has become pretty much a full time job 365 days a year. Reality Rally takes a village to make it happen and the village is approximately 600 people. I remain in the driver's seat but all 600 of these people are a part of what makes it happen. These 600 people are volunteers, sponsors, challenge checkpoint participants. People who make the games happen. Plus our reality stars who come and take part in the event as well.

Brenda: I hear that your work covers a larger distant reach now with other countries and charities. How much of an impact does it have as that is remarkable!

Gillian: This has definitely become an event that has reached all across the world and allowed many people to be involved in helping with the fundraising. Reaching out to the reality star fan base and the reality star base the fundraising came in from nine countries, all 50 states and 455 cities. Plus the public (teams) that were part of the games their fundraising came in from 5 countries, 23 states 106 cities. So it has definitely expanded all across the world. Reality Rally is a trademark planning business that can be taken to other communities to expand their communities and their charities. We re looking into doing that this year and expanding out across the country for the same event focus.

Brenda: Looking back on this past event, is there anything that stood out to you?

Gillian: The thing that stands out to me all the time and blows my mind is just hoiw many people have taken my vision and have made it their event and their vision too. It never ceases to amaze me in fact I am completely in awe of this. The sponsors, the people who compete in the teams and the reality stars, the community and all who back us, it just never ceases to amaze me and blows my mind.

To think all of these people are making my "jungle vision" theirs as well and I remain in eternal gratitude to every one who has ever been involved at any point. it never ceases to blow my mind how much they have embraced it and made it their own. When I look back at the highlight videos that are available at the Reality Rally Home Page. I sit in awe thinking "wow!! we did that!"

Brenda: Any advice for anyone who would like to organize a yearly event?

Gillian: It takes a tremendous amount of commitment and passion and a lot of work. If you have a charity that you really want to support then you have the commitment and the passion, anyone can do it! Be prepared for a lot of work! It's the commitment, the passion and the help. Those are the 3 things that you will need to make it successful.

Brenda: Gillian u have been so wonderful! Thank u for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me. In closing, do u have any shout outs?

Basically, I would like to say a special thank you to all the people who have made this possible and the public and all who have supported Reality Rally throughput the past 2 years. We have a Fan Page please go LIKE the Fan Page and keep an eye out on what we are doing!

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