The Truth Behind The Necklace Everyone Wears On Naked And Afraid

"Naked and Afraid" is a popular reality TV show from Discovery Channel that follows the journey of two individuals, one male and one female, as they attempt to survive in the wilderness without food, water, or clothes. Each contestant is able to bring one survival item, however, such as a knife or canteen. The show puts its survivalists to the test both mentally and physically as they navigate their way through an extraction site over a three-week period, according to Outside.

Steven Lee Hall Jr., a former contestant on"Naked and Afraid XL," opened up about the experience in an interview with People. "Your clothes are your first shelter," Hall said. "So when you're naked, you're really vulnerable. You're chopping stuff with a knife, but you're naked. There's a lot of concern about safety."

The contestants have to remain naked throughout their whole time on the show, despite any insecurities. A former contestant, Blair Braverman, revealed to Outside that one of the show's producers warned her not to sneak in a hair tie because she would notice. But despite the lack of clothes, each contestant is seen wearing a necklace throughout the experience. So, what is the real purpose of that item and why are contestants allowed to wear it?

Why contestants wear that famous Naked and Afraid necklace

"Naked and Afraid" contestants have to completely strip down before embarking on their journey in the wilderness, but every individual gets to wear one accessory: a necklace. The string-like necklace has a large bead that remains in the front and does have a purpose. According to The Cinemaholic, the necklace serves as a microphone since a typical wired microphone can't hook on to their clothes due to the contestants being naked. The microphone is also waterproof in case survivalists need to swim or go into a body of water.

The cast of "Naked and Afraid" doesn't speak about the necklaces on camera, and they do not draw any unnecessary attention toward them. And despite the use of one simple accessory, the contestants are facing all of their challenges fully naked, which is arguably more dangerous than being fully clothed. Also, there are some mental roadblocks that come with being naked in front of a complete stranger and full crew. Stacey Lee Osorio, a former participant, told People that she has a "ton of self-esteem issues."

Alyssa Ballestero also got candid with the outlet about how she really felt being naked in front of the show's crew. "I know this sounds ridiculous, but I'm a pretty shy person," Ballestero said. "I don't just take off my clothes for any reason. It was awkward, and the crew was like, "Oh, don't worry. We've seen it all before.' and I'm thinking, 'Yeah, but you haven't seen me before!'"

Is the show Naked and Afraid real?

Similar to any reality TV show, viewers wonder if all of the events and scenarios presented on "Naked and Afraid" are completely authentic. An exclusive Daily Mail report revealed that when contestant Kim Shelton had food poisoning after consuming a turtle's liver, she was helped off-camera by the show's crew. The source said that she was given bread, rice, and baby food and was even hooked up to an IV to help nurse her back to health.

The crew is, of course, meant to help in serious medical situations, but these events were never shown to viewers. It appeared to those watching that Shelton, who seemed incredibly weak, powered through on her own and kept going without any outside help or resources. Shelton's partner on the show, Shane Lewis, told Daily Mail that "Naked and Afraid" is not always as it appears to viewers, "When I agreed to do the show I said to the producers that if you're going to do a real, raw show I will do it. They said they wanted to show the reality and how difficult it was, but they went for the ratings," Lewis said.

A former contestant, Honora Bowen, claimed on her blog, "Discovery is evil. What they do to people is evil. They are purposefully manipulating not just footage—but people as well." Bowen went on to write, They push people past their breaking points and then gaslight everyone and manipulate footage to suit their narratives." So in terms of the experience and the show's authenticity, it depends who you ask.