SF State microbiology major Amanda Gomez went big on “Fear Factor” last month, winning the revitalized show’s $50,000 grand prize.
Gomez, 21, grew up watching the show but thought she was way too much of a girly-girl to ever win:
“I didn’t do it for the money … I did it to prove stereotypes are wrong.”
Back from a five-year hiatus, Fear Factor pits four teams of two against each other in a series of challenges that test the contestants’ strength, endurance, and mental resolve.
Gomez’ challenges included being chained to the front of a cement truck while it was ramming into obstacles, and eating live scorpions (tails, pinchers and all). Gomez told Golden Gate Xpress:
“I seriously wanted to quit when I had to eat the scorpions. It was nasty having to feel the scorpions moving in my throat.
But what people didn’t see on air was that the mom in the other team was talking and saying that I was weak and going to lose and other mean stuff. That was when I was driven to keep chewing and to not let some mom win and prove her point.”
Amanda’s brother, Alex, 24, competed alongside her and initially didn’t take her seriously. He laughed in her face when she asked him if he thought she could do the show.
“One time a moth landed in her hair and she started crying,” Alex said. “My sister actually surprised me during the show because I know my sister is tough, but she pushed her limits and exceeded her capacity and I was impressed by that.”
Having shown the world that she can handle explosions and insects, Amanda’s only worry is how she’ll do in some of her classes at SF State.
“Before ‘Fear Factor’ … the craziest thing I had done was ride a roller coaster, but those science classes at State, man, they are tough,” Gomez said. “I’m always afraid to fail them because you fail in your career if you fail this, but I keep trying and I’m still going strong.”