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How Bear Grylls Teaches Survival Skills to Celebrities, From Big Celebs to Break-out Stars

During his eight seasons of the reality TV show Running Wild, survival expert Bear Grylls has taken many stars and celebrities on outdoor survival adventures to teach them skills in the wild. 

The celebrities who have appeared on the show ranged from sports, music, and movie stars to presidents and prime ministers – with big names like Channing Tatum, Jennifer Lawrence, Zac Efron, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, and Roger Federer, plus President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi of India.

Bear says that each member of the crew can be particularly excited by different guests, sometimes depending on the star’s age. Bear himself may have approached each episode with the same mission in mind, but, he admits, some stars’ celebrity factor affected the experience in various ways.

Stars with Big Followings

“Sometimes I have taken younger stars away without being aware of quite how huge a following they might have,” Bear said in his book Never Give Up, giving the examples of boy-band superstar Nick Jonas and Oscar-winning actor Brie Larson who he was not familiar with in advance (Brie shot the jungle episode with Bear before the Captain Marvel movies aired).

Bear says that while he may not always appreciate the popularity of the star he is with, he thinks that can sometimes be a good thing as he doesn’t approach them with too much “fan baggage.” 

“Everyone is just a regular person on Running Wild. I like that,” he says.

See which star on the latest season of Running Wild Bear said this about (“She just has this massive global following and at the end of the journey, I could see why.”) here.

The Currency of Humankind

Bear also says that in a way, it does not really matter if he has heard of someone before he meets them, as what he is interested in is true character.

“The true test of a human being is how they hold themselves and treat others, particularly if they possess fame and success,” says Bear in Never Give Up. “The great currency of humankind is: are you humble, are you kind, and have you come through a battle to be here? Those are the things I am impressed by in people.”

Bear says that in some cases, such as with Julia Roberts, for example, not only does he know who the star is but it might be a star who he has grown up watching their work.

Julia joined Bear and the crew in season 3 for an adventure in Kenya. “It was fun to see the crew, all much the same age, get so excited beforehand. Myself included,” he says. “It was funny how much more nervous I always was in those instances. It’s hard not to get dazzled by our heroes sometimes.”

Find out which guest on the latest season Bear called “a cooler version” of himself here

Going Wild with Roger Federer

Bear said that another star he had wanted to get from the very start of Running Wild was the legendary tennis player Roger Federer, who had turned the show down but eventually agreed to do an adventure close to his home in the Swiss mountains.

Bear says that with stars like Julia Roberts and Roger Federer, it was strange to meet them at first, since they are such global icons, but he says that now he knows them and can consider them friends, they are even more impressive to him. 

“That’s surely the real mark of a true superstar,” he says. “To be able to say that once you get past the dazzle, and get to know the real person, behind it all, behind the fame and

achievements and stardom, they are just like you and me.”

Find out who, on the latest season, became lasting friends with Bear after the show here.

The Wild Is the Unsung Star

Bear also reminds us that the true, unsung star in all of this is the wild. 

“The wild tests us, and asks what we are made of. It demands courage and commitment if we are to survive, and rewards kindness and resilience in the big moments,” he says in Never Give Up

Bear says it is during the times when things go wrong that you find out what people are really made of – how people react in the pressure moments. “As they say: no pressure, no diamonds,” he says.

Find out which celeb on the latest season of Running Wild won the hearts of the host and crew by being a diamond under pressure here.

Backup Plans

When Bear and the team take “rookies” on adventures, they need plenty of backup plans, including preparation for if the weather goes wrong. But Bear says that the challenge and bad weather can strip away the pretenses, leaving just a raw, genuine person.

“The wild always bonds people so powerfully,” says Bear in Never Give Up. “It is hard to be anything but yourself when you are up against horrendous conditions on a mountain – and the true side of a person is always so much more attractive than the more polished versions we all at times like to portray.”

“And if the wild does anything for us, it unites us. Regardless of nationality, color or religion, all of us stand in awe at the power and magnitude of Mother Nature. And that always brings

people together. The great leveler,” he says.
Who, in the latest season, taught Bear that the wild is the greatest equalizer of all? Find out how Bear got on with celebs of all abilities here.

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