Actress, pin-up girl, and “Survivor” contestant Jessica ‘Sugar’ Kiper might not be Brooklyn born, but she certainly is borough tested.
Last winter, the 29-year-old bombshell moved to East Williamsburg, an attempt to get back together with her ex-husband.
It didn’t work out between the two, but her Brooklyn days may still serve her well on “Survivor: Gabon—Earth’s Last Eden.”
“East Williamsburg is not Williamsburg proper. It is a little rougher there. It’s an up and coming neighborhood,” she said.
Her street start sensibility belies her more suburban roots. “Everyone always thought I was from New York,” she said.
While the “Survivor” website says Kiper’s hometown is Brooklyn, she said she was born in Florida, and moved to California as a teenager.
She actually only lived in Brooklyn a few months, she admitted. “My car and half my stuff is still up there,” the actress said.
CBS recently announced the 18-member cast of the 17th “Survivor,” a group that includes former Olympian Crystal Cox, part 4×400 meter relay team that won gold in 2004, as well as a retired nurse, a professional gamer and a hairdresser. The program was shot over two months in Central Africa.
Kiper said that before being cast on the show, she wasn’t a diehard fan.
“I wasn’t that familiar with the show,” she revealed.
But after being scouted for “Greatest American Dog,” another CBS reality show, she quickly brushed up on the show credited with sparking the reality television craze.
She took a crash course in “Survivor” 101.
“I started watching it on DVD about a month before I left,” she said.
While contestants are forbidden to discuss any of the details of the show, or the outcome, Kiper said that the rigors of island life are not for the meek.
“You would never know how hard it is until you lived through it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything you can do to prepare for ‘Survivor.’”
“It’s not like camping,” she added.
She said her talents lie not in her physicality, but her acting ability.
“I am totally not physically fit. I’m not at all in shape,” she said.
“I’m an actor…I could lie,” Kiper continued, referring to the gamesmanship aspect of the show.
Kiper’s been in “Gilmore Girls,” “Angel,” “Sex and Death 101,” “Judging Amy,” and others. She’s currently filming a movie with her director/husband John Lands—whom she married two weeks ago in Las Vegas.
“Survivor: Gabon—Earth’s Last Eden,” hosted by Jeff Probst, will have its premier on CBS on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. This year’s show will be in high definition—better to see bugs and other creatures devoured.