By Madison Fisler Lewis
Nov. 18, 2014. When the fourth season of CMT’s Redneck Island premieres next month, one of the contestants will be a familiar face to some High Country locals. Katie Taft of Boone will be featured as one of the contestants, and while she wasn’t born in Boone, she considers herself a Boone local all the same.
CMT’s ultimate competition series, Redneck Island, returns for a fourth season rowdier than ever starting Dec. 4. Country singer/songwriter and TV personality Jessie James Decker joins wrestling icon Steve Austin as masters of ceremonies on the “island” this season, tucked away at a lake in North Georgia. CMT green-lit 10 one-hour episodes of the new season, marking the return of one of the most popular CMT series since it debuted in 2012.
High Country Press spoke with Taft about her experience, and what being a self-proclaimed Appalachia redneck was all about.
“I was not born in Boone, I was born in Greenville, but my family moved to Blowing Rock for my sophomore year of high school where I attended Watauga High School for one year,” Taft said.
“I finished my high school career in Farmville, living with my aunt and uncle. But, I missed my family back east, and decided to move back. I returned to Boone about eight years ago to be closer to my sister, mother and nieces.”
Her decision to appear on one of CMT’s most popular reality television series was one of pure coincidence.
“Well, I was on Facebook one day and saw they were accepting applications, so having a few minutes I decided to apply, not thinking of getting on,” Taft said. “And seeing previous episodes, I was good at roughing it and being very competitive. I thought I’d have a great chance of winning, so I applied.”
Even though she grew up in the south, Taft wasn’t sure she would make a good candidate at first.
“You know, they completely changed the show this season, so I wasn’t sure what made me a good candidate,” Taft said. “I am not very redneck, I am more of a hillbilly hippie! I love country music and old-time music, dancing and going to music festivals. Drinking craft and great local beer is my drink of choice. I love climbing, creeking, fishing and getting muddy. I’m not sure if they considered me as a redneck, but I guess they liked that about me.”
Now that filming is over, Taft has had time to reflect on her experience.
“Working on Redneck Island was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “I had a blast competing and hanging out with a great group of southern people. I have learned so much from this experience. One thing is I didn’t realize how much crappy beer I could drink. The biggest thing I took from this experience is that you have to take chances in life and never be afraid to do anything. Your life can be filled with exciting opportunities if you only just take a chance to do them. Mind over matter was huge for me as well. I had to mentally push myself to keep fighting in each competition. I’ve never pushed my body so hard, but I believed I could, and I did! I’ve walked away from Redneck Island with 23 great new friends, a beer gut and possibly new opportunities to come.”
After her experience with Redneck Island, Taft is excited to see the show when it premieres, and is also excited to see how her friends and family react.
“I believe my friends and family are super excited about seeing me on TV,” Taft said. “I just hope I didn’t do anything to embarrass them! I expected to walk on the beaches of Mexico and live in a hut with no food, beer, AC and be surrounded by 11 true rednecks that could kick my [butt]. Instead, I was surrounded by 23 young southern people, living in a huge house on Lake Hartwell in Georgia and was fed very well and given all the beer and wine we could ever want.”
“This season of Redneck Island will be bigger and better than before, and a local is on it, so show some support!” she said.
For more information about the show, including show times and contestant biographies, click here.