A former contestant on the Discovery show Naked and Afraid is now in Syria fighting ISIS. Joshua Bell appeared in a September 2014 episode of the show titled “Nightmare in Nicaragua.” On November 10, a little over two months after his TV debut, he relocated to Syria to fight evil.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Lasted Just 5 of 21 Days on Naked and Afraid
In his episode, which aired on September 7, Bell only lasted five days before succumbing to fever and sickness. His co-star on the episode, Amanda Leigh, managed to survive the rest of the challenge and lived in the Nicaraguan jungle for 16 days alone, the longest any contestant has had to spend alone on the show. One of his contributions while on the show was to make a duct-taped bikini for Leigh.
In the show, two contestants, a male and a female, have to spend 21 days in extreme conditions together. They are both naked and are given only one item to help them during their challenge. The two have to source food and build a shelter to survive.
2. He Owns a Gunsmithing Business
According to his Discovery Channel profile, Bell is 28 years old. He owns a small gunsmithing business in Roxboro, North Carolina. He’s been a survivalist since his family moved to South Carolina from Florida when he was a tyke. Bell says in his profile that he likes to hunt and cook his game in his spare time.
3. He Admitted on Facebook That He’s ‘Scared Sh*tless’ of Fighting ISIS
According to a Facebook page dedicated to helping Bell raise the $3,500 needed to send him to Syria, he spend four years in the United States Marine Corps. While there he achieved the rank of corporal. He has been deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Since landing in Syria on November 10, he has joined the Lions Of Rojava, the foreign legion of fighters battling ISIS in Kurdistan. In a breathtakingly honest Facebook post, Bell wrote about going to Syria:
I ain’t doing it for glory, or praise, or fame, or money. It needs to be done. I am scared s***less. But if you ain’t scared you are a liability.
There is a part of my life I do not share very often. I am absolute hell in a gunfight. I learned early on in the Marine Corps that I had extreme combat proficiency. Skills that I quickly honed, and still continue to sharpen regularly.
4. His Friends Sold T-Shirts to Fund His Travel
The Go Fund Me page to send Bell to Syria came up with only $1,700 of the $3,500 needed to send Bell to Syria. The Daily Mail reports that one of Bell’s friends, Jonathan Whitfield, came up with the idea of selling t-shirts bearing the slogan, “Project: Give Josh a lift.” The shirts also feature the logo of the Kurdish freedom fighters, the YPG. Eventually Bell had to resort to selling his Tabuk sniper rifle to secure the last funds needed for travel.
5. Bell Hasn’t Said If He’s Quit Smoking Again
It isn’t known if Bell has taken up smoking again. In the days leading up to his appearance on Naked and Afraid he took the decision to quit smoking. It was something that hurt his survival score and affected his mental state.