Stars in Danger: The High Dive, a two-hour special on FOX that challenges celebrities to face their fears and take the plunge into the world of diving. (See what I did there?)
Aside from the chance to see some of your favorite celebrities in swimwear (including Stephen "Twitch" Boss, David Chokachi, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Terrell Owens) - you can see some of the effort and struggles faced while tackling an incredibly difficult sport.
I'm happy to welcome back Karl Walden to Hunk du Jour, who was nice enough to answer a few questions about the show and how the rigerous training went for the stars!
Watch Stars in Danger: The High Dive tonight at 8:00PM on FOX!
How did you get involved with Stars In Danger: The High Dive?
I heard about the show through my friend who saw a breakdown online for divers and or diving coaches. I submitted my headshot, my team picture from the university of tennessee, and some videos of me diving for the show - hoping to get an interview. I quickly got a call to schedule an on-camera interview. I kept getting calls from the production company saying I made it through to another round, and then the final call telling me that I'd booked it! I was REALLY excited!
Were there any tense moments during training?
Some of the tense moments in training that come to mind are when Alexandra Paul was having a panic attack on the edge of the 5 meter platform. She was crying uncontrollably, shaking, and almost collapsed. I was up there with her and walked her away from the edge, talked her down from her panic, let her know it was going to be okay and that I knew she could do it. I promised her I'd never ask her to do anything I didn't think she could do. That was the make or break moment where she knew she could trust me and overcome her fear. She walked the the edge, counted to three and JUMPED!
My only tense moments with David Chokachi were at the very beginning when he was first attempting his armstand somersault dive. He learned the dive quite easily to my surprise and I was really psyched. He told me he loved it, understood what was going on but then he got up to do it again and crashed pancake flat on the water! I asked him what happened and what he was thinking... He replied that He was thinking about some bills that he got in the mail at the lunch break that he had to pay. I was screaming at him across the pool "REALLY!? you have to concentrate for 1.2 seconds to do a dive from 5 meters and he wasn't able to do that!? I promised him that he would always smack flat on the water if he attempted a dive and wasn't concentrating. He looked at me with his already black eye, and broken blood vessels on his cheek and said "You think so?" and I assured him that I was absolutely right. Needless to say he was razor focused from that point on.
What were some of the funnier moments during training?
We had a lot of fun during training. The first week was unseasonably cold and rainy here in LA, so it was quite dreadful. (You'll see in most of the training videos that I'm wearing a thermal shirt and a puffy coat while the divers are in wet bathing suits with steam coming off of them!) Luckily both Alexandra and David laughed whenever they smacked on a dive which was great because I would laugh right along with them.
Antonio Sabato Jr. and I had a good laugh when we showed up to training one day in the exact same outfit head to toe. I would also give the guys a hard time when they'd all suddenly stop diving and get in the hot tub for a long dip when all the pretty water polo girls would get in after practice. I'd go over to the guys and say nice things about their progress then surprise them with the follow-up "if only flirting with pretty girls made you as good of a diver as actually practicing!". I felt like a chaperone at the high school homecoming dance breaking up the "inappropriate" dancing in the middle of the floor.
Is this the first time you're in the role of being a diving coach?
I have been coaching diving since I was 14 years old! I didn't tell my divers [back then] how old I was because some of them were older than me! I love coaching and attribute that to having awesome, positive reinforcement based coaching (yet strict at the same time) all my life.
Among the stars you coached was Jenni "JWoww" Farley - how was it working with her?
I was more of a psychological coach to her, talking her through her fears of heights and all of the normal fears that go along with the sport of diving. We quickly struck up a friendship and would have fun laughing and joking &emdash; especially after found out she was calling me "shredded wheat" behind my back. She said I was lean aka shredded (laughs). I joked back that it was ironic she called me that, because I don't eat wheat &emdash; I'm a firm believer in the Paleo diet lifestyle. We still keep in touch and have plans to hang out next time I'm in NYC and when she comes to LA we will kick it for sure.
Have you kept in touch with your fellow cast members since filming?
I'm in touch with everyone still since we've wrapped in some way, shape, or form. Alexandra, David and I email regularly and David lives close to me and has a dog like mine so we're gonna get them together. Kyle and I are trying to figure out a time when we can go have some fun at the Abbey. I mostly tweet Bethany as she's in Hawai'i most of the time surfing her heart out. And I have plans with many of the rest of the cast and I hope to have a reunion soon :)
Which star was the biggest surprise talent in the competition?
Honestly, they ALL surprised me!
Kyle's form was the best of anyone in the competition. Her toes were ALWAYS pointed and she has great legs that were always straight which is hard to teach usually. Kim had no fear and I was so impressed with what she accomplished. Alexandra overcame fears of heights and back flips, David attacked everything with such confidence that is hard to do when you're not used to being 5 meters high. Terrell controlled his long muscly body surprisingly well and did some hard dives. Antonio never let anything beat him down and kept coming in every day with renewed spirit and determination of being better.
Twitch was awesome in the air but would enter the water like a hip hop dancer in a handstand hesitation hold. Seeing him overcome that bad habit was so cool. Bethany really impressed me and renewed my belief and amazement of the human body how it can adapt and function flipping through the air without a limb without a problem! Every time I watched her I was astounded. Jenni overcame a lot of fears and would keep come back to practice even though she was really sore from the day before.
What's next for you?
There are some irons in the fire for sure. I'm excited to see what comes up next. I'd love to do more Television and Film work (If anyone working on the TV show Nashville is reading this call me!). I'm going to be directing and choreographing a big musical very soon. But first I'm taking a vacation to London to see some shows on the West End and see a few friends who are living and working over there. Then I'll be in Cincinnati for a week choreographing a musical in my hometown and visiting my family who all still lives there.
Thanks for talking with us, Karl!
Follow Karl's adventures and exploits on Twitter @KarlWarden - and while you're at it, follow us @HunkDuJour!