Dr. Edna Ma fixed a fellow contestant’s split pants on Survivor and now, she has a new product out called BareEase. She explained her transition from living on national television to starting her own exciting business in beauty products.
You are the farthest thing I would expect on any “Survivor” with your job. Why did you, an anesthesiologist, enter the competition?
It was by accident! I was trying to meet Mark Burnet, who also produces the Shark Tank. I met him and got cast for survivor. Opportunities come in many forms, so I thought why not? I have nothing to loose, and potentially a chance to win $1million!
There is a huge market for reality show contestants. When you were getting interviewed all the time and appearing on air, in print, on the web, everywhere it seemed, did you ever think about what you had to do next so you wouldn’t disappear off the radar?
I wasn’t worried too about disappearing off the radar, as my goal wasn’t to become a “celebrity” or pursue a career in acting. I did survivor to try to raise money and PR to my start-up company, called BareEase. I call it my “creative financing” experience.
When you were in the competition doing crazy things, did you ever feel like picking up and leaving? Are people really treated to things like starvation or insanity the whole time? How does the filming schedule work?
Yes. I wanted to quit on day 2, day 3, and day 4. But I stuck it out because I VOLUNTEERED for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be miserable and I didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to be portrayed as a quitter either and knew that once I put my mind to it, I could endure! Yes, the starvation and exposure to the elements are all real. In fact, it’s worse in real life than seen on TV. The series is filmed for 39 days and the weekly episodes are broadcasted to reflect about 2-3 days on the island. Survivor has two seasons a calendar year. They are on Survior season 27 now!
I remember this show way back when in 2000. Everyone laughed it off like a short run trend. It’s clearly not. What is so intriguing about it?
The Survivor production team is great at changing the format from season to season. The changes are slight, enough to keep it fresh but familiar, as not to abandon their followers. Their viewing audience is about 10 million US viewers a week.
As we have seen from Elizabeth Hasselbeck, the show can jump start your career. And you decided to do BareEase after that, or were you originally planning on a different path?
It would be fun to have another media opportunity, like Elisabeth Hasslebeck. However, her situation is more the exception than the norm. Do you have an opportunity that you’re aware of? I would be happy to go for an interview!
Your product apparently is worthwhile of all that time and money invested. BareEase gets promoted everywhere: “Today,” “People Style Watch,” etc. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs? Specifically a regular guy who may not want to be on television reality shows but shares your dreams?
My advice to entrepreneurs would be: if you have an idea, go for it! Because likely you’re not the only one to have a solution to the problem, but you might be THAT someone who actually does something and take action!
I still believe that america is still the land of opportunity. You just have to find out what yours is.
Are you going to do any TV that is related to your field like say, “The Doctors?”
That would be great, if the opportunity presents itself. I have been on The Doctors before, I was on it before I was on Survivor. The journalism format of media might suit me better than the deserted island starvation type of production.
Are you developing any more products?
I have many ideas for new products! However, they are all in development right now. I will keep you posted.